Our business is rife with myths. What clients will and won’t do. Which channels are dead long before they are dead. But the one that I think is most dangerous to your business is that it can’t survive without you. I know too many agency owners and leaders who are afraid to leave the office for more than a day because they are convinced disaster will ensue. I am constantly encouraging agency owners to book the trip to Paris, to go on the African safari, or to take a few days off around their son’s graduation.
Don’t worry, I follow my own advice. This past Spring Break, despite a huge level of demand, I took the week off. In fairness, I worked a couple hours a day while the kids slept (young adults can be counted on for uninterrupted mornings!) but for the most part — I was “out of the office.”
I slept more that week (11.5 hours one day alone!), put more steps on my Fitbit (we averaged 20K a day) and rejuvenated my energy. When I did sit down for those few hours to get something done — I was better, faster, and more efficient.
Best of all, my team handled all of the fire drills, drama, and client issues that I thought I had to be around for. If you honestly believe your team can’t handle your absence — then it’s time to start training them to do just that. Here’s a smart way to ease them in.
One day a week: Work from home, a coffee shop, or anywhere that you can be productive. Turn off your email notifications and your phone. Turn both on at lunch and at the end of the day but other than that — just get stuff done. (I love this practice for all agency owners — you’ll be amazed at how much you get done in that one day). Don’t schedule any client meetings or calls. You are officially “out of the office.” We don’t save lives. If someone can’t reach you for four hours — it’s going to be okay. If that’s not the case in your world, we need to talk.
Make it the norm: Once you see that you, the team, and your clients have survived the one day — make it your weekly norm. Block a specific day off on your calendar and make it your official out of office day. Your nights, weekends and family will thank you for it.
Now really take time off: If you haven’t been out of the office for a whole week in a long time — book it now before the end of 2020. Right now we need to stay in the country but be far enough away that you can’t swoop in and save the team. They will behave very differently if they know you can’t come back in and save the day. Everyone will survive and I predict — will surprise you and thrive.
From there, a week away doesn’t seem like a stretch. And pretty soon, you’ll be on that European river cruise without wifi, confident that your agency will be intact when you return!