I know from experience just how hard it is for a small shop owner to take time off. My husband and I have struggled with this issue for years. And even now we still have to schedule our vacations with my husband's business responsibilities and commitments front and center.

I know there are many owners who manage to get vacations into their schedules regardless of how busy their shop is they just prioritize it and make it work. Unfortunately, my husband is not one of those owners and for a long time neither was I.

Basically, at the shop, we were it, and if we weren't there the work didn't get done. No work, no money it was as simple as that. It's really not simple at all. Not taking a vacation can leave you exhausted and tense, even if you refuse to acknowledge it. And exhaustion can lead to mistakes and poor business decisions.

Renew yourself

Vacation is more than just having fun in a new environment. It's about getting away from the routine and out of the sphere of work.

As you can probably guess, my husband and I just returned from a vacation, our first alone together in 22 years. It was wonderful, refreshing and definitely gave me a new perspective on issues that were on my mind. And I have not seen my husband so relaxed in a long time.

As a result of this trip, I would advise everyone out there to take time off. You'll be surprised at the change in you. If you can, go somewhere that's not just in your immediate area. When you get out of your normal environment, you see the world differently. And we all need to look at the world beyond our local neighborhood. It helps us put everything in perspective.

I know that a lot of shop owners out there are thinking they just can't take time off. Too much work, not enough money. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and do it. I remember reading somewhere that Americans take the least amount of time off of any industrialized country. I believe that's why we're so tightly wound up and susceptible to things like road rage. We all need to lighten up and relax.

Leave the phone home

If you decide that you, too, can take a vacation, I have just one thing to say leave the phone home. Savor the peace and serenity and use vacations as a way to refresh your enthusiasm and your excitement in your business.

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