How To Relax As A Business Owner Over Christmas
It’s December, and for business owners that can only mean one thing. It’s time for the annual ‘taking time off’ period, where you spend a lot of time worrying about whether your business is going to survive you taking time off. Between that and wrapping up the end of year finances and projects, creating projections for the year ahead and making sure you’re showing gratitude to customers and employees, the anxiety can pile up quickly. Honestly, Christmas break can be the most stressful time of year for business owners!
But it doesn’t have to be. Yes, even the busiest business owner can take a break and actually relax over the Christmas holidays. You just need to know how to prepare
Plan For The Pause
The first and maybe most important thing you can do is actually plan to take a break. This might sound simple, but it’s something business owners often forget to do, and it’s why you end up working in the evenings and worrying about whether orders went through or projects were delivered. So right now, get your diary out and decide how many days you’re going to take off, and when. Mark them in thick black ink in the calendar so you can’t possibly put anything else in there. Then adjust your deadlines accordingly.
And stick to them! If you want to make your holiday break a reality, then you need to set expectation and make logistical plans with anyone who will be affected by your time off. That means letting your customers and employees know you will be out of the office, for how long, and who to contact in your absence, as well as how to contact you in an emergency. And then make sure you stick to those expectations, and don’t do any work during that time. This is generally good practice for any holiday, but it is easier to do over Christmas, since most of your customers will be celebrating with their families too, so they likely won’t mind at all.
Accept Some Things Won’t Get Done
This is the hardest thing of all, but you need to make peace with the fact that some things will be left undone when you leave. No matter how hard you try to plan ahead, taking time to relax over the holidays means letting a few things go – or at least letting them wait until January. If you struggle, just remember that everyone else is taking a break too, so the likelihood is you would still be waiting to close that next deal until after Christmas anyway, even if you worked straight through. This should form part of your planning, so you can prioritise finishing up the essential projects, meaning it’s only the less important strings that are left dangling until January.
A great way to do this is to start by making a list of all the impending to dos, then break them into three categories: must do, should do, can probably wait. Must dos include things like running payroll, sending invoices, and fulfilling client deliverables or customer orders. Alphabetizing your filing cabinet? That one can probably wait.
At some point you will need to be strong, turn everything off and walk away from the computer – into the real, non-small business owner world. Scary stuff! But it turns out, it’s pretty nice out there. There’s good food, pretty lights, festive music, and lots of people who want to spend time with you! If you know you’re prone to sneakily checking emails after dinner, remove your work email from your phone over the holidays, and lock the laptop up in the safe with a new password someone else has set for you. Be strong, and try to focus on enjoying a break with your family, instead of worrying about work.
And remember, it will all be there when you get back! Enjoy Christmas and plan to go into the New Year refreshed and ready to go.