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Turning work Off

January is the perfect to start putting vacations on the calendar for the year. It’s hard to break away from work over holidays and vacations, hard to automatically switch gears on your days off. (Even avoiding the red flashing light (indicating new emails) on your BlackBerry can be tough.

Hard, but necessary.

Entrepreneurs are probably especially prone to this problem. Not only are you leaving behind a job, but you’re leaving behind the business you created. Your profitability may also be directly related to how much you work.

I went hunting for some cures. This SmSmallBiz.com story offers some good advice on disconnecting from work during a vacation . Here are some tips from that and other vacation-planning experts:

– Remind Others of Your Time Off. Many people will try to respect their colleagues’ or managers’ vacation time. But that’s only possible if they know about it. Remind them several days in advance and shortly before you leave. And don’t forget to set the “Out of Office” reply on your email and change your voicemail.

– Delegate Duties. It’s hard for some entrepreneurs to grasp, but you really don’t have to be everything to everyone all the time. (I can just hear the chorus now: “You don’t understand my business.”) When possible, hand off your usual duties to other trusted employees who will be around, and make sure they know they’re the “point person.” And make sure they’re adequately trained to perform these duties before you go.

– Set Aside Work Time. If totally removing yourself from work is simply impossible, schedule it. Designate a time – say, between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. – when you’ll handle all work matters such as checking email and voicemail. That way you won’t feel completely out of the loop.

– Leave Unnecessary Technology At Home. Maybe you can’t live without your laptop, but do you really need your BlackBerry? Leave behind technologies that aren’t essential. If you bring them, they will only tempt you to work more.

– Make Sure You’re Technologically Prepared. Nothing wastes precious vacation time like trying to figure out why your laptop won’t connect to the Internet or shopping for the battery charger you accidentally left at home. Make sure all your technological needs for working are set to go and functioning well before your vacation.

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