Starting a business can be one of the most exciting things you do – but everybody needs a break sometimes.

Many small business owners can feel burnt out by needing to be available all the time. If this is you, you’re not alone. Running your own business takes an enormous amount of time and energy – even more reason to take a break.

Although it can seem like a juggling act, here are some ideas which might help.

Plan ahead

If you’ve been in business for a while, you probably have a good sense of your busiest and quietest times of the year. See if you can block some time for even a short break. For example, as well as avoiding your busiest times, the period following this could also be important - when people might need refunds or follow-up service.

If your business employs staff, take the time to upskill key personnel on tasks you would normally complete, so you can confidently delegate this work during your break. This could include hands on training and the development of key process manuals and documents for your staff to follow while you’re away.


If you are developing process manuals and documents, use these documents as an opportunity to outline any situations that should still be escalated to you while you are away.

Let your customers know in advance

If you’re running a service-based business, give your customers plenty of notice that you’re planning a break. For example, if you're a hairdresser, encourage clients to book their next appointment either right before you take a break, or when you get back.

Running a business selling and shipping products? Manage customer expectations by displaying a message on your online store that shipping won't be available between certain dates, but you'd love to fill their order before or after that date.

Look into task automation

Automating tasks can create some great efficiencies in your business, which can maximise your day-to-day operations and help manage certain tasks while you are away. This can include scheduling your social media posts in advance and programming automated payment reminders. Read our article on 6 simple automations to save time in your business for more ideas.

Artificial intelligence (AI) can also be used to help streamline and automate certain business processes. Read our articles on AI made simple and 5 ways to use AI in your business to find out more.

Get help if you need it

If you have been working in your industry for some time, you might have friends or colleagues with the same kind of expertise who would be willing to help out. Family or friends could be trained to help fill orders for your product-based business while you’re away.

Do what works for you

If the thought of switching your emails off and not checking in for a few days is stressful, then don’t do it; find what works for you. You could:

  • Allow yourself an email checking day.
  • Have a set amount of time each day to help you keep track of your business.
  • Ask your staff/business caretaker to provide a weekly report on business activities.

The key is to find the balance between giving yourself a break and not worrying about your business. You also need to be watchful for the signs of burnout if you can never switch off.

Looking for more tips on running your business?

If you would like advice about a specific business situation, contact our free business advisory service, explore the business information section on our website or sign up for our fortnightly small business news email.

You can also read about resources for managing your wellbeing as a business owner.

26 October 2023