Clear your head

When was the last time you took a break?

Not a five-minute break, and no, not the last time you went and got a pedicure. We mean a serious BREAK -- one of those "I don't know what time it is and I don't want to" breaks, when you really let your brain zone out.

It can be really difficult to do if you're a business owner (trust!) or even just a hard worker, and especially if you're doing marketing or social media work. Things are constantly happening, media cycles don't stop, and there are always notifications popping up wherever you look. How can you take time off without losing all this marketing momentum you've been building? 

We swear, it's possible, and it's super important. If you don't give yourself time to recharge and relax, you risk burning out, and that will send your marketing crashing and burning faster than anything else could.

Here's why vacay matters:

  • It's not just about your business; your health depends on it! Stress and lack of sleep can impact your memory, alertness, reaction times, immune system... the list goes on.
  • Sure, you're an awesome juggler. But how long can you work this hard? Getting away from your desk (even just for short breaks) can lead to big bursts in productivity when you get back on it, and give you better focus, too.
  • You don't even have to go anywhere to take a mental break. Plan a staycation and enjoy your home, work on some hobbies, and Netflix sans guilt at 1 p.m. if you feel like it. It can be just as beneficial, and save you the stress of planning a trip and putting together a budget, too.

Okay, you probably know all this. Like many of our clients, you might be on vacation right now. (We see you!  )

So how do you make sure your marketing systems stay on track while you're gone?

Here's how to take a break without breaking anything.

  1. Don't wait; anticipate. Look at your work plan, go through your email, talk to your staff, and figure out if there are any crises you can imagine coming your way, both while you're gone AND immediately when you return. Anything you're going to be up at night about? Figure it out now, and decide what you can do ahead of time. This also applies to potential social media moments, like holidays or events; if you know you should be posting something on a certain day, write your posts and figure out your graphics ahead of time, so all you have to do is schedule it. 
  2. Declare your vacay status. Tell EVERYONE when you'll be gone. It shouldn't be a secret, since chances are that the folks you work with are also thinking about their own breaks, and most of your customers will say, "Great! Have fun!" But give everyone a solid heads up so there won't be surprises.
  3. Delegate like a boss. You know how this works. If you have a team, trust your team to do the work! if you don't have a staff, it's time to reach out to some colleagues or that virtual assistant you've been meaning to hire and bring in some help. Do this a few weeks ahead of time so you can get everyone set up with content and familiar with your strategy. And make sure your team knows what constitutes a real crisis, and how to get a hold of you if it's an absolute emergency.
  4. Embrace automation and scheduling. Write a few blog posts in advance and schedule them to be published while you're gone. Do the same thing with your email newsletter. For social media posts, use scheduling tools like SproutSocialHootsuite or Buffer. (For Instagram, many of these third-party tools will remind you that it's time to post, but it's still up to you to actually publish the post!) The important thing is not to just suddenly stop posting while you're gone; you have an audience, even if it's small, who will feel more than a little bummed out if you ghost them.
  5. Check on things a little bit, and then put them away. We get it; sometimes it's impossible to COMPLETELY tune out, and we're absolutely guilty of scheduling conference calls while on vacation. But try to set some boundaries; maybe set aside a few half-hour blocks to check your email and Instagram, and then put your devices away. If you're thinking about tasks or to-dos, write them down somewhere so that your list is ready the day you return. And if you have to do a call, set yourself up with a beautiful view so you can see exactly what you're missing while you're on the phone.

Speaking of beautiful views, this summer TGL is taking our own advice:

ATV face!

ATV face!

Co-founder Katie went to Mykonos, Paros and Athens recently. (Sure, she worked remotely and was on a few conference calls, but jumping on an ATV can do wonders for your productivity!) 

Team member Erin took her adorable daughter to Folly Beach in South Carolina.

Team member Michelle has been in California, traipsing around the redwoods.

And co-founder Megan has been on the most epic road trip we have ever seen, visiting 12 National Parks and camping with some spectacular views (and meals). Follow her trip via #rileyroadtrip

Enjoy that break!