When you’re a business owner (who’s not in retail or a restaurateur), it’s tempting to use the quiet weeks over Christmas and New Year to ‘catch up’ or ‘get ahead’ or ‘do ALL the things I wanted to do during the year but never got the chance’.
I know this because I’ve done it. Many times!
And the result has always been the same. A feeling of burn out and disenchantment in January.
Not a great way to start a new year, I can tell you.
After making this same mistake for many years in a row, I finally took some proper time off. And, of course, both my business and I benefited from me being able to enter the new working year with enthusiasm and energy.
So, how do you ensure you’re able to do the same in coming weeks? Just follow these five steps:
1. Set, then send out your Christmas shutdown schedule
I don’t know what it’s like in other parts of the world, but, unless you’re in retail, entertainment or food, most Australian businesses and suppliers shut down over Christmas. Which means it’s no big deal if you do too.
So, your first job is very simple: decide when you’re going to shut, (most people this year are shutting on Friday 22 December) and when you’re going to re-open in January, then email your clients with your Christmas shut down hours.
2. Set firm boundaries with clients
This is a time of year where people tend to want things done ‘before Christmas’. The reality, however, is that pretty much all those things can be done ‘in January’. Resist the temptation to make promises that mean you’ll have to work over the Christmas/New Year break.
Clients will always ask, but you can always say ‘No’. And when you do, you’ll be amazed by how quickly they’ll adjust their expectations.
3. Buy some good books
Have you got a list of books you’ve been meaning to get to for ages? Go out and buy them or head to the library and borrow them. These will eliminate any chance of you feeling bored over the break. Boredom is a big trigger for, ‘Oh, I’ll just jump on the laptop and do this one thing …’
If you’re looking for a book that will change how you approach business in 2018 for the better, I highly recommend this one.
4. Make a to-don’t list
Since you know yourself better than anyone else, you know what kind of work you’ll be tempted to do over your holiday break if given a chance. So, make a list of all those things, put a big ‘TO DON’T’ at the top … then put that list next to wherever your laptop lives at home.
5. Rest and recharge
Being a business owner is like being a university student – there’s always something you could or should be working on. This makes it hard to truly relax because there’s always a nagging thought in the back of your mind. An easy way to get around this is to remember that resting and recharging is doing ‘something’.
So put away the laptop, put down your phone and head to the beach happy with the knowledge that doing all these things will make you a better business owner in 2018.