The year is almost over and Christmas is waiting just around the corner. You’re probably looking forward to a couple of nice, calm days with your family. But how do you make sure your business doesn’t get in the way of these plans? How do you avoid spending your holidays checking emails, writing quotes and working in general? If you find you have a hard time relaxing over Christmas, this article is just right for you. With these six tips, you’ll be able to enjoy calm, relaxed and most of all, work-free holidays this year.
The most important prerequisite for a relaxed holiday is a clear mind. The best way to achieve this is to not having half-finished tasks waiting for you when you get back to the office. As such, it’s a great idea to finish as much as possible before starting your Christmas vacation: bring projects to an end if possible, write invoices for all your worked hours and finish the tasks that have been piling up on your to-do-list for weeks. Of course, there’s only 24 hours in the day, so it’s important to prioritise. Start by tackling the least pleasant things, then do the large tasks that you’re realistically able to bring to an end, and finally finish up all the small things. Write a list for yourself and check off what you’ve done to help keep you motivated.
Shout it from the rooftop!
Sure, your customers need you and want to get in touch with you quickly and whenever they like. Over the holidays, however, they’ll be able to cope without you if you do some small preparations. Communicate that you won’t be available on your days off before starting your holiday. Add your holiday dates to your email signature, put up a sign in your shop and remember to mention your holiday dates face-to-face whenever possible in the weeks before Christmas. For everyone else, an automatic out-of-office email and a message for your mailbox will do the trick.
But what if…?
If you’re prone to worrying about all possible catastrophes occuring while you’re away, and end up disrupting your holiday because you can’t relax, it’s a great idea to make an emergency plan for all eventualities before the holidays. Take an hour to sit down and think of all the things that could potentially go wrong in your absence. It doesn’t hurt to be creative here and add quite unlikely scenarios. Once you’re done with brainstorming, make a list with all possible emergencies and the quick solution for each one. Your homepage is suddenly down? A customer has an urgent case? A pipe bursts in the workshop? No problem at all! Taking the time here to think about solutions will help you to relax and change back to more pleasant thoughts, for example which cookie you should eat first.
Switch it off!
Although it sounds pretty easy, it can be quite a challenge: switch your work phone off during the holidays, just as your computer and all other devices you work with. If you can’t turn it off completely, you should at least mute it and disable all notifications. Ideally, you should also keep it in a place where you can’t see it (or even leave it in the office) so it’s not that easy to “just take a quick look”.
Sometimes, it’s just not possible
Sometimes, it’s just not possible to completely avoid doing any work over the holidays. If that’s the case for you, you should at least avoid merging your work and free time. It’s important to draw a clear line – you could allocate 15 minutes every afternoon during which you check your emails, and office updates, while the rest of the time these things are taboo. A couple of days off are not only important for you and your health. Your family will really appreciate you spending some quality time as well, without constantly having your mind elsewhere.
It’s all about planning
December is particularly stressful for a lot of entrepreneurs. It’s the end of the year and there are just so many things left to do. It’s also often a very busy time in terms of business! Christmas holidays, on the other hand, are a complete contrast to this, and it’s never easy suddenly stop working after weeks packed with work. To make sure that you’re not just sitting around, bored on the sofa (and might even get the idea of doing a little tiny bit of work), it’s important to also plan your holidays. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should make a tight hourly plan, but it’s probably a good idea to have a rough schedule with activities, such as visiting friends, walking the dog, cooking or watching Christmas movies.
With these tips, you should be ready for wonderfully relaxed and calm holidays. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!