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Ask The Entrepreneurs: How to Battle Your Inbox While on Vacation

Ask The Entrepreneurs: How to Battle Your Inbox While on Vacation
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    Ask The Entrepreneurs

    is a regular series where members of those involved in the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

    Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

    Work email on vacation: do you do it? When is it time to tune out?

    1. Guilty As Charged!

      I never turn off my email. I may not be answering all of the emails that come in, but I am constantly scanning to make sure that the business isn’t on fire. I think it’s difficult to turn it off completely, especially if you are a solopreneur, even though there is great value in doing so. It is appropriate to tune it out if you are with family or friends though — give them attention too!
      Erin Blaskie, BSETC

      2. Admittedly Always On

        For entrepreneurs, “work-life balance” is more like “work-life blend.” When you need to recharge, you can take a break whenever it fits into your schedule; vacation doesn’t have to happen around prescribed times. Because of the reality of intermittent breaks, it’s never convenient to entirely tune out and switch off. You might set an away message, but it’s better to stay on top than fall behind.
        Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

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        3. Vacation Responder Is Key

          I go email-less at least one day per week, usually on the weekend. So when it’s time for a real email-free vacation, it’s important to have an away message and to give people who might have an emergency a way to contact you, but chances are their emergencies aren’t actual emergencies and can wait till you get back to your inbox.
          Nathalie Lussier, Nathalie Lussier Media


          4. Regular Checks Necessary

            I try to only check emails at certain times of the day when I’m on vacation. It’s not very realistic for entrepreneurs to completely log off for long periods of time, but you can limit it to first thing in the morning and once in the afternoon. If it bothers you to not check it, just check it quickly and get on with your vacation!
            Caitlin McCabe, Real Bullets Branding


            5. Sorry, Entrepreneurs

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              Whether you like it or not, if you are a founder, you should also serve as a customer service representative for your company. Customer service is a 24/7 job, and keeping your clients happy is a must. Email doesn’t have to take much time out of your vacation (an hour or two per day maximum). You should never ignore it completely.
              Eric Bahn, Beat The GMAT


              6. Hire Someone for That!

                Email and vacation don’t belong in the same sentence. Working during your vacation is distracting and will prevent from getting that R&R your body needs. The best way to get the best of both worlds is to let someone who is very trustworthy read your emails once per day. Ask them to call you if something is extremely urgent. That will give you peace of mind since you’ll know everything is in order.
                Christian Springub, Jimdo

                7. Live Your Vacation

                  I decided to live my vacation, but building my business so I am actually on vacation all the time. Part of that is checking emails and allotting time to make phone calls and things, but I built my business so I can travel the world and explore fun new places while hanging out with cool people, rather than taking a vacation and trying to get your balance in for a week. Balance your life daily.
                  Louis Lautman, Young Entrepreneur Society

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                  8. Yes, With a Caveat

                    When I’m truly on vacation, I’ll check email, but only for absolutely essential emails. I only answer emails if someone bought a product and it wasn’t delivered, or if my site is down for some reason. Just essential customer service and catastrophic tech issues. That’s it. Everything else can wait.
                    Sean Ogle, Location 180, LLC


                    9. Leaving Is Not an Option

                      It’s truly not an option to avoid checking your email if you are a startup company founder. It’s your job to serve your customers and fellow team members whenever needed, even if you’re lounging with a cocktail on the beach. The key is utilize parameters and have enough discipline to not be constantly checking your email throughout the day as you would at the office. Once or twice a day is okay.
                      Warren Jolly, Affiliate Marketing

                      10. Compartmentalize Your Life

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                        Of course I check work email on vacation — damn near impossible to fully disconnect! But I’m working on getting better at compartmentalizing work time while on vacation by dedicating up to an hour in the mornings to read and respond to the critical things. Then I shut off for the rest of the day and get something out of the vacation.
                        Brooks Kincaid, Imprint Energy


                        11. It’s Part of the Job

                          Answering email on vacation is one of the sacrifices entrepreneurs have to make. After all, no one is responsible for making sure the company doesn’t implode but you. Hopefully, after a few years of blood, sweat and tears, you can take a breather. But as a founder you will most likely always be heavily involved in your business operations.
                          Alexandra Levit, Inspiration at Work


                          12. Entrepreneurial Escape

                            When I’m lucky enough to escape for a few days, I usually set aside an hour in the morning that I designate to answering emails, connecting with clients and employees, and taking care of anything else that arises. Once that hour is over, the phone is off, the laptop is closed and the only thing on my iPad is Pandora for the rest of the day!
                            Kevin Tighe II, INFLITE

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                            (Photo credit: Man in Red Shirt on Lakeshore via Shutterstock)

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                            9 No-Brainer Ways to Track Employee Time Ask the Entrepreneurs: 12 Things Entrepreneurs Should Stop Doing Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Best Note Taking Tools Ask the Entrepreneurs: 12 Tips for Mastering Public Speaking Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Tasks You Should be Outsourcing

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                            Last Updated on July 20, 2021

                            How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

                            How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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                            You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

                            Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

                            Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

                            Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

                            1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

                            According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

                            “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

                            Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

                            Warming up

                            If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

                            If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

                            Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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                            1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
                            2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
                            3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

                            Stay hydrated

                            Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

                            To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

                            Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

                            Meditate

                            Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

                            Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

                            Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

                            Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

                            2. Focus on your goal

                            One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

                            Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

                            Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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                            Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

                            If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

                            3. Convert negativity to positivity

                            There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

                            ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

                            It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

                            Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

                            Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

                            Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

                            4. Understand your content

                            Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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                            However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

                            “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

                            Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

                            Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

                            One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

                            5. Practice makes perfect

                            Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

                            In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

                            Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

                            6. Be authentic

                            There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

                            Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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                            Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

                            To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

                            With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

                            Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

                            7. Post speech evaluation

                            Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

                            Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

                            We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

                            You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

                            Improve your next speech

                            As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

                            Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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                            • How did I do?
                            • Are there any areas for improvement?
                            • Did I sound or look stressed?
                            • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
                            • Was I saying “um” too often?
                            • How was the flow of the speech?

                            Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

                            If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

                            Reference

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