Ahh, Christmas. That time of year when even the busiest business owners shut their doors, roll down the shutters and get to enjoy some well-earned rest at home. Right?
Well, sort of. The truth is the Christmas is often a stressful time for small business owners, particularly if they aren’t used to stepping away from the business for a longer period of time. Even if all of your suppliers and customers are also sat at home in a paper hat and stuffed with turkey, you will always be worrying that something has been left undone, or there will be some problem to solve when you get home. So this year, we have a few tips to help you enjoy a stress-free Christmas at home, and get your mind out of the workspace for a while.
Plan, Plan, Plan
The key to a super-stress-free Christmas is to plan and prepare. That means writing yourself a big to-do list of everything that needs to happen before Christmas, and working out the best way to achieve it all. This is a great time of year for outsourcing those things that take up a lot of time, or you just don’t want to do. For example – sending out corporate gifts? Great! Hire a VA to package them all up, write the addresses and get them all to the post office, so you can focus on delivering that client project before you shut up shop. December should be your most organised month of the year, and you should also take advantage of anyone you know who can help you prepare.
Accept that not Everything will get Done
It’s not ideal, but you’re also not superman, so it’s not sensible to assume you will be able to get everything done. There will always be something that slips through the cracks, or an email that crops up just after you’ve left the office on your last day of the year. And that’s OK. As long as you’ve been organised, all of the very important things will have been done, leaving just a few of the less urgent things for you to pick up in January. After all – your customers will be off over Christmas as well, so at a certain point it doesn’t matter what you have or haven’t done – it can wait until the New Year.
If you struggle with this, a great way 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.
This is often the hardest part for business owners, but it is the most important! Once you have everything done and Christmas is close, it’s time to take a step back from the business, and keep stepping back until you fall onto the sofa at home. We mean it. 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 go into the New Year refreshed and ready to go. We look forward to seeing you in 2020!