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Episode 43

Work-Free Holidays: Your Guide to Blissful Getaways

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About this episode

Welcome back to another brilliant episode of the “Treat Your Business” podcast with Katie Bell. In today’s episode, Katie is discussing the art of taking a holiday without constantly working. Discover the science-backed benefits of unplugging and learn practical strategies to make your holidays truly rejuvenating. From setting boundaries and planning ahead to embracing technology and delegating effectively, Katie equips you with the tools and insights you need to enjoy your time off while ensuring your business continues to thrive.

Hit download and listen in, to uncover the secrets of achieving a work-life balance that leaves you recharged, inspired, and ready to tackle new challenges. Whether you’re a business owner or simply seeking to make the most of your precious time away, this episode is your essential guide to stress-free holidays and holistic success.

Key Takeaways:

Science-Backed Benefits: Discover how holidays improve health, reduce stress, and boost happiness.

  • Effective Unplugging: Disconnecting during holidays enhances work performance and reduces stress.
  • Heart Health Link: Frequent holidays are tied to improved cardiovascular health.
  • Personal Impact: Hear real experiences of how failing to unplug can hinder decision-making and creativity.
  • Common Mistakes: Address fears and prepare for contingencies to confidently unplug.
  • Set Boundaries: Establish clear communication boundaries and optimise out-of-office messages.
  • Plan Ahead: Thoroughly plan your holidays in advance for a seamless transition.
  • Delegate Wisely: Trust your team and delegate tasks for uninterrupted holidays.
  • Leverage Technology: Use tech to automate responses and stay connected without constant work.
  • Ego Management: Overcome resistance to taking time off for your well-being.
  • Smooth Reintegration: Plan a relaxed return to work without overwhelming yourself.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Develop processes and documents to handle business emergencies.

Unlock the secrets of work-life balance and enjoy stress-free, rejuvenating holidays with Katie Bell’s expert guidance!

Please remember to give us a thumbs up, subscribe, and spread the word among your friends and colleagues!


This podcast is sponsored by the team at HMDG


  • 0:00-Introduction
  • 1:57-Why going on holiday is so important?
  • 4:31-Why you need to take a holiday?
  • 8:34-Common obstacles to taking time off.
  • 13:01-Lack of delegation and delegation.
  • 17:29-How to delegate your time
  • 23:13-Plan ahead for your holiday


Katie Bell: 1:12

Hello, listeners. Thanks for joining me again this week well, we are going to be diving into the topic of going on holiday without working. And this always creates quite a lot of anxiety. When we think about the holiday coming up, we’ve got some time away, and we want to be unplugged. We want to be present with our family, with our friends, whoever we’re with, but we’ve got that feeling of, I just can’t unplug. There is there is too much going on. And maybe I’m the only one in my business. Nobody else is there to do anything. And lots of anxieties and fears come up when we think about going on holiday and lots of us go on holiday and still feel like we need to plug back in on a daily basis. Because just because something might go wrong. Now you are all science based people, okay, as clinicians and therapists, I get it, you want the science. So I thought, okay, if I’m going to talk about this, I’m gonna have to tell them some hard facts around why holidaying is so important. Now, I’m not teaching you to suck eggs. But here are some studies that really explained why going on holiday and not plugging back in is so important. So there was a study by blue in a towel in 2013. And they examined the effects of going on holiday, and the health and well being among all of their employees. And it found that going on holiday led to significant improvements in perceived health, positive emotions, and life satisfactions. They reported reduced stress levels and increased overall wellbeing. Okay, no surprise that there was another study done in 2007 by two people can’t even say the name. But it was basically work recovery and unplugging the role of vacation. And their study explored the role of holidays in facility facilitating Psychological detachment for work, and its impact on recovery. It demonstrated that vacations play a vital role in helping individuals detach from work related stressors. Pay participants who are effectively unplugged during their vacations, so did not check their emails, experience higher levels of recovery and better work perfect performance upon return. And I think this is really interesting because more and more companies now are putting systems in place that stop their employees from being able to access their emails when on holiday. It’s just becoming physically impossible. Another one, go at what a name gum a towel 2013. Vacation frequency is inversely associated with metabolic syndrome and coronary artery calcification, the Framingham Heart Study, because it sounds like a good one. So they looked at the relationship between a holiday frequency and cardiovascular health. And they showed that individuals who took more frequent vacations had a lower risk of metabolic syndrome and coronary artery artery calcification. So it was vacations were associated with reduced stress and improved cardiovascular health markers. I could go on and on team basically just need to take holiday because it’s really good for you. Now, the non science reasons slash what happens to me are these things so when I am do a holiday or when I have maybe worked too long and hadn’t haven’t had a holiday pre planned in and it becomes more and more difficult to take time out of your business because it isn’t pre planned. I start to be a become unable to see the bigger picture. So when I don’t unplug, I’m starting to really hone in on like the small things. And I lose sight of that long term bigger vision. I become unable to think strategically. So I just make the craziest decisions. And I’ll go back and think I had a chance to decide that I have lower tolerance for staff issues I am dealing with I start dealing with all the minutiae I like you know, ordering mint Imperials for the clinic and peppermint tea bags, and I become less creative. And I also know when I do go on holiday or when I’m when I’m in the clinic room, the best ideas never come from the clinic room. They never come from the treatment but they usually come from my life. Okay. And is this not the reason guys we run a business? Do we not run a business for the reason that we can have more freedom more flexibility have the ability to travel and the ability to go on adventures now and we all run run businesses for a different reason. But I would really question if anybody listening to this doesn’t love A holiday. So this is this is the reason, one of the reasons we run a business and we should be able to go on holiday, and we should be able to unplug. Now some of the biggest mistakes I see now we coach, a lot of clinic owners and a lot of business owners. And these are some of the mistakes that I hear. And I say they are new into their business. And I’m going to say no to two years. And they fit, they can go away for two weeks, and completely unplugged themselves and feel great about it. So they go in with an expectation that that’s what they should be able to do. And who am I to say that you shouldn’t be able to do it, you absolutely should, and you can. But when you are new to your business, you are going to naturally be in a state of of fear rather than abundance. And you’re going to be constantly worrying about what you will lose rather than what you’ll gain. Okay. So if you are new in your business, we need to come up with strategies that are going to help you prepare for holiday and get you starting to trade, your ability to unplug from your business. If you have been plugging in daily, suddenly, being able to retract for two whole weeks is is going to just feel too overwhelming. Okay. So that’s a big mistake that we see people. If you are somebody that checks your emails every single day, or check your emails at nighttime to actually have a weekend, it’s constantly plugged into your social media, by then getting on a Ryanair flight to Crete. And thinking that you’re going to have two weeks off unplugged, it’s never going to happen is never going to happen without you feeling completely anxious and worried. Not doing any preparatory work before going away is another big mistake. So that is when we were so busy trying to just get through the day to day that we go away. And we haven’t got all of the things that we need and should have in place to make it that when we come back, it’s not going to be an absolute shitstorm. And another big mistake that I make is that you get away on holiday. And you work twice as hard as the week before and you work twice as hard the week after, and you come straight back into a 60 patient week, and you’ve got no time to get ahead of yourself and you’re straight back in. And somebody says to you, how’s your holiday and your responses? What holiday feel like I’ve never been away? Okay. I mean, how rubbish is that? How rubbish is that? So what happens when I say to you, right, okay, you’ve got to take two weeks unplugged, four weeks unplugged, eight weeks unplugged, go to whatever parameter makes you feel a bit. For me, if you said to me, I’d rather take eight weeks unplugged from my physio and wellness clinic, I would go, okay, yeah, doesn’t really stress me out, I would, there would be some stuff that I would need to work ahead to get in place, my revenue doesn’t make any impact on the clinic anyway, because I’ve got myself to a place where we don’t need that revenue, doesn’t really stress me out full transparency and thrive, we are still building that infrastructure. So if I was to take four weeks unplugged from thrive, I will be going. Okay, it’s definitely going to be quite a lot of work I need to do before and there’ll be a lot of work I need to do after but I probably could make it happen. I’ve got great vas, they will just manage a lot of stuff. But there’s still me doing a lot of the day to day in terms of the coaching the delivery, we could do pre record, we could find lots of ways around it. But probably any more than a month would be a stretch for you guys, you might be saying Okay, today, I literally think about taking a long weekend off. So when I talk about taking time off, go go to whatever feels sort of where you are at right now, what comes up for you. Here’s a some of the common things that come up fear of loss of control, many business owners really struggle with the fear that their business will suffer in their absence. And if you are the lead fi generator, the lead fear that it absolutely will, because you’re not there, you’re not going to make any fees. So we have to think about how we financially plan for the fact you absolutely need to be able to take holiday within a within a year. If you are a CEO and MD the leader, less of a fear. Now, you might worry about losing control over critical decisions, about operations about customer relationships, which can then lead to hesitation about taking time off. Another thing that comes up is perceived responsibility. Business owners, we can feel a strong sense of responsibility towards our employees, our customers, the business itself. And this can create a mindset where we believe we must always be available and always be working. And it makes it very difficult to prioritise personal time. I had a client and you know who you are, if you listen to this, and I gave him the authority to just go and play a bit more golf. And he was like, Oh, this kind of feels quite cool. After ball and I said, but but just lean into that. This is why you run a business, we run a business to do these nice things. But it can, we can often feel lazy because we are in a workaholic mindset, we are in a workaholic culture, some industries are worse than ours, some some communities have this hustle culture, and it glorifies his constant work. And this minimal time off, we see this quite often in the legal world, don’t we, and it can make business owners feel pressure to work excessively, and resist taking breaks. So you have to look at what you how you are leading your team. I have a very, very, very strong work ethic. And I find it difficult to not achieve at a really high level like it’s just my hardwiring. But I also recognise that sometimes can make people around me within my team feel like they can’t keep up with me. Okay, that is just my superpower. And we have to just own who we are, and not have to compare ourselves to other people. Guilt and self worth, we often feel guilty about taking time off, as I’ve said, we perceive ourselves as the driving force behind the business’s success. You might be the ideas person, the generator, the creator, the Creator. And often we might link our self worth to our work. And Bill. And we often believe that taking a break be seen as weakness or laziness. FOMO Fear Of Missing Out, business owners may fear missing out on opportunities, important meetings, potential deals, potential clients if they step away from work. And that can lead to that constant need to stay connected and engaged. Because what if somebody just emails and I don’t even know the backend to go and work with somebody else. Lack of delegation, we can often to real often struggle to properly delegate and empower and actually trust our team members to figure it out. One of the best ways to learn how to trust people is to just trust them, is to just get yourself out of your business and leave them to it, they will figure it out. And if you don’t figure it out, nothing really will go wrong. financial concerns, we’ll worry about taking time off. Because of that financial setback, we feel we’ve got to work continuously to maintain that revenue, that profit profitability. And for some of you in the early stages of business, you will be the lead fee earners. And we have to calculate your fee generation over 4645 weeks of the year, not 52 weeks of the year. For those of you who are running teams, it’s about you being less and less involved in the fee generation. So it doesn’t mean that you can’t take time off and the business then plummets. If I take time out of the business, nothing happens to our revenue. Many of us struggle with that long term vision versus short term gain. So we we’ve got to always balance the immediate demands of the business have a way and that long term vision. But often we can prioritise that short term or just need to stay at work and see those extra patients do those, do these extra things. And we lose that long term vision. Because we believe sacrificing personal time now might not get us to that long term vision, wrong way of looking at it. That’s a fixed mindset. We need to be in that growth mindset. We need to recognise that we are the most important people in your business, the business must suit your must meet your needs. Because if it isn’t for you, there is no business, some of us find that we integrate their own identity with the business. So it’s really difficult for us to separate our personal life from work. So we really struggle between the two things. And you can also fear irrelevance feel like that if you’ve stepped away from from your business, you’ll you’ll feel irrelevant, you’ll feel like you’re falling behind the competition, you’re not keeping up. Now you might find that all of those things come up for you or just some of them, okay, and it’s and if they are, it’s really really normal. You are not alone. But how can you go on holiday unplugged from your laptop and feel great about it. So here are some kind of key key things that I want you to think about. You’ve got to know your numbers. Here she goes again on her number soapbox. If you if if you are deciding to make 50 grand in the year, 100,200 50,000 pound whatever it is, but you’re working that out on a 52 week year. There’s your failure. If you run a team and you have 10 members of staff. And if you think about their role employed, they get 5.6 weeks basic annual leave a year, on average, the employee will take a week sick in a year. So already we’re at seven weeks of the year that they’re not going to work. If you’ve got clinical therapists and Fiona’s, when they are off work, when they take holiday, your fee income will go down period. So your financial forecast has to take into account that if you’ve got a team of 10, and all 10 people, and you compare it to this, you can get more complicated, but let’s just say they’re all full time, that is 10 times seven weeks, where you’re not going to have somebody in. So you can’t always look at complete total capacity and what you can what your clinic can make. With you all being in the clinic every week of the year, you’ve got to factor in the fact that you will have time off, if you are a solopreneur, if you are the lead fear need the only fear that you’ve got to look at your revenue generation over 4544 46 weeks of the year, not 52 weeks of the year. And then just take that number, and work it out over the 12 months what you need to be doing monthly. So then when you do have two weeks off, you can be like it’s okay, because I’ve I’ve accounted for it. We’ve got to learn to delegate, I do a task, usually about once a quarter or in full transparency. When I’m feeling overwhelmed and frazzled, I take a spreadsheet and I or a table and I write down for two days, 48 hours, every single thing that I do every single thing, whether it’s business or personal, and I allocate how much time I have taken to do that task. Okay. And at the end of the two days, I analyse the whole thing. And it’s eye opening, because I look at grouping it into categories, our business development, time marketing, could be admin stuff, basic admin stuff, it could be sales based stuff, whatever, you can categorise it into any categories. And what you will realise is that you are highly distracted individuals, and that you spend a lot of your time on the stuff that doesn’t move your business forward, and a very small amount of time on the stuff that doesn’t move your business forward. So then what I do is I look at okay, how have I spent my time now, I am quite diligent in how I spend my time if I organise with how I spend my time, and I will go right, should I be doing this? If the answer is no, my next question is Who can I get to do this for me? Do I have somebody in the team that I need to delegate this to? If the answer is no, and I still don’t shouldn’t be doing it in the business? Is this somebody on people per hour on Fiverr? I could find to do it for me, we are about to invest in a brand new piece of software for thrive. It’s amazing. It looks so great. I signed up to four months ago, three months ago, Have I done anything with it? Have it off? Am I the person to set this software up? No. I am absolutely not the person. So what happens is nothing gets done. So what what I’ve had to do is go to these people who invented the software and said, Do you have anybody that I can just pay for you to do the integration for me because I literally cannot I can’t even bear thinking about this, this is so not in my superpower. And it’s going to cost quite a lot of money. But when I look at how much time, it would take me times by my average hourly income that I can make thrive off my physio clinic, whichever way you want to look at it. It is a no brainer. So I start doing calculations like that. And I might say, look, okay, maybe I wash my car. Well, how much would I have to pay for somebody to wash my car versus how much I could make in my business in that hour. So I really get clear on what tasks I need to be delegating, because you can often just get drawn back into the minutiae. And when I do that, I think right, that task needs to go, I record myself doing it on them screencast or screen power, and I just delegate it to whatever team member it’s going to, we put the process behind it, I check in and it’s been done. Okay. And it’s one less thing for you to do. Boundaries, boundaries is my third tip. So for lots of us, it’s really difficult to put boundaries in place when we’ve never had boundaries before. Our clients come to expect certain things from us. Here is the rule. communicate with people when you want to be communicated with if you don’t want to be communicated to on a Friday night and on a weekend. stop communicating to other people at that time. Again, another total honest piece of information. Sometimes I have to do share a weekend because I am running to big businesses and there is lots going on in by It’s about businesses at the moment. And I’m an achiever. So I’m always somebody that likes to work, and I have great joy in it. But I shedule sand, everything goes nine o’clock on a Monday morning. Now, it’s not because I haven’t done the work at the weekend it is. But quite often, if I don’t want to be communicated to or I don’t want my staff to feel like they have to communicate back to me. And that’s an expectation that you need to think about those boundaries. Make a decision of what social media what how you want to be communicated to, like, if I find all of the different platforms so overwhelming that I try and keep business linked to our Slack communication channel, and emails. Other than that, I don’t really want to have WhatsApp, I don’t really want to have things that I have to attend to, because it will just go out of my mind. And I will forget to do it. So everything for me has to be communicated in one way. Think about your boundaries in terms of your communication channels with your staff and your clients. If you’re going away, please do not put an out of office on that says, I am currently away from this inbox. And I’m checking it sporadically. What the, it’s just I can’t bear it when I get that reply, okay, to have enough responsibility to say I am out, I’m out in business, I am not checking this inbox, your clients will then just go up, okay, I need to not expect a response before the 12th of July. If you’ll say you’re checking it sporadically, it means I’m not really good at time managing, I’m just checking in, you’re not really that important. And I don’t really know when I’m gonna get back to you. But I’m just gonna leave it open like that, because I’m really cool. Now, just say, I am not checking this inbox, okay, it doesn’t need to go into. I’m away right now from the business spending time with my three and five year olds who are really challenging at the moment. And I want to be really present as a just, it’s all bullshit. Just say, you’re out in the business for two weeks, I will be back here. And this is when I will be back in touch, saying for your voicemail be very, very clear, in a friendly, professional way, when they can expect a response back from you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. This is a saying from a film, which my husband likes to remind me of daily of the saying, I’ve got no idea what film it’s from, he loves it. but fail to prepare, prepare to fail. If you do not set yourself up and think far enough ahead about your holiday coming up, you will fail. There will be something that you need to check back in on. There’ll be something that comes that kind of gets gets in your way, just that day before your holiday. So start thinking about preparing for the holiday way before it’s happening. My next break is in five weeks time. It’s already been in planning already been in planning to make sure in fact, it was in planning probably four months ago, because I need to make sure I can I take no calls on that week. The diary is blocked right up until Christmas. And everything is scheduled in and then around October I will be starting to think about 2024. So start thinking way further ahead of where you are now. We had a masterclass yesterday and one of the physios on it said this has really helped him because he recognised that he needed to get staff to cover him while he was going away. But they needed loads of time to plan their diaries. So actually, by him planning ahead, he’s now got cover, which meant their income didn’t drop for the first time ever in their clinic whilst they were on holiday. My other tip, bit of advice, whatever you want to call it is that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. So if you are surrounding yourself with people who holiday and work, or who are constantly checking their emails at night and at weekends, and can’t unplug, you will just become them. You need to grow and get a support network of people who are striving to create a better balance in their life or in doing it better than you. It’s really, really important because you will just be consumed and that will become your new normal. measure success holistically. So stop thinking about just all the numbers all the time, measure your success in a way that is in 2022. I took x amount of days out of the business and plugged in 2023. I took x amount in 2024. I’m going for that amount. If you like graphs, plot it, plot it on a scale of being able to show if you’re anything like me competent, competitive and an achiever, you want to see that graph going up because you want to see that you are increasing your time out of you Your business in your revenue is staying the same. embrace technology, get things in place that send automated responders, you can have pre records, you can do things in advance that mean your customer care does not drop. But constant and consistent are two very different things in your business. Kill the ego out is my next bit of advice. Whenever you decide to take time unplugged out of your business, your ego is going to work really, really hard the part of your brain that likes to keep you safe. Remember, the ego is there to allow you to survive, not thrive, no pun intended, it is there to keep you safe. So safety is what it knows if it knows that you are always working, you’re always checking you’re always in control. It will not like the fact that you’re telling it you’re going to go away on holiday. It will give you all the reasons it will throw things in your way to show you why you need to stay plugged in. Most people, the ego wins. Successful entrepreneurs, successful business owners are the ones that can ignore what the ego is telling them and keep moving forwards and return and reintegrate. Think about not just your holiday, but what’s happening the week after your holiday. Don’t set yourself up for failure. If you get on a flight at 11pm from Greece and you’re arriving at 3am, do not have a 12 patient day lined up the next day. Think about that planning that further. Think planning further ahead. And finally, if you’re listening to this and going well that’s alright for UK tape, but I don’t have a BA I don’t have a T. It’s just creating too much anxiety for me, then follow these simple steps plan way further ahead than you are. If you are not thinking about Christmas, this podcast will probably be going out in around September time, you need to be thinking about Christmas already and beyond. Set your boundaries now. With your clients with your team stop replying at times, you don’t want to be contacted, get off your phone at night, take your emails off your phone, turn screen time off whatever it is to stop that temptation of checking in all the time. If you do need to check in and get it, sometimes we have to on holiday, I totally totally get it. But make sure it’s on your terms. Decide, for example, when you’re going to check in eight or nine every day. That is when I’m going to do whatever it is that you need to do. Look at what needs to be done now to allow for your stress free holiday deadlines always help. I don’t know about you. But if we all functioned like we did the day before a holiday, we would get so much done in our lives. Okay, I literally achieve the world the day before I go on holiday, even emptying the fridge, cleaning the house making it perfect for all burglars. That is the level that we work at the day before we go on holiday. If you can just take some of those time management skills and use them in the rest of your life, you will become much more efficient and productive. And ask yourself this, what is the worst that could happen? Nothing. In an emergency, we have to claim emergencies within the clinic that they have to contact me other than those. They don’t need to speak to me when I’m on holiday. Because I have the infrastructure in place. We have processes we have what if document what if documents, we have all of those things in place. That means I’m a last resort. But nothing bad is really going to happen. What you’re going to gain is create creativity, proper rest, recharging that battery, thinking about that the future strategically being able to think bigger, and get out of the day to day. So for any of the any of you who are planning a holiday, who will just come back from a holiday and didn’t manage to unplug. I hope that you’ve enjoyed this podcast and I hope that you take some of those tips and those advice and move forward with them today. Thanks for joining me. I would really love it if you would take a second to write a review and share it to anybody that you know that would really appreciate listening in to some of the great tips and great advice that we are giving weekend week out

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