How to use the holidays to recharge and reflect on your business
By Pamela Phillips
The Christmas holidays are an ideal time to relax, recharge and reflect on the year gone by and plan for the year ahead. It’s a great time to look back and remind yourself of all your achievements and acknowledge just how far you’ve come. Did you think you’d be where you are now back at the end of last year?
As a business owner, it can be difficult to take time off and take a step back. The flexibility of being able to choose when and where you work is one of those myths that might have drawn you to running your own business in the first place but, as you know, the reality is not quite like that.
I urge you to take time for yourself and your nearest and dearest this year. However hard it may be, you deserve a break!
Here are 5 ways you can use this time to recharge and reflect and be ready to start the new year with the energy you need to hit your goals.
1. Try to forget about work
If you run your own business this may be easier said than done. But, at the same time, it’s so important for your own mental health to take some proper time off away from the day-to-day stresses and strains of business life.
Many of your colleagues and clients will be taking time off so your inbox is likely to be less busy than normal. And, so long as you give your clients plenty of advance notice that your office will be closed, then they can manage their plans and be sure to get in touch with you before or after.
As a leader, it’s also an important message to your colleagues to take a break. You need to lead by example! If you don’t take a break, you may run the risk of making others feel guilty that they are. It’s essential that everyone takes time away from work and enjoys time for themselves and their loved ones.
2. Plan for next year
Time away from the office is a great time to mull over what big goals you want to hit in the next 12 months. When you step away from the day-to-day it’s easier to gain clarity on what you really want from and for your business.
Goal setting is important to make sure you are working on the things that will actually move your business forward, rather than treading water and responding to demands as they land in your inbox.
3. Flex your hours
If you can’t take the Christmas break off entirely, try mixing up your hours. Can you work shorter days, move to a 4-day week or even work from somewhere different for a change of scene? As they say, a change is as good as a rest.
This worked for me last summer when I took a 4 week’s break to travel around Europe. I worked for 2 of those weeks, one in Italy and the other in the UK (I live in Germany). By working compressed hours in the morning, I was able to enjoy time off with my family to explore and have fun during the day.
Changing your routine can really help you focus and feel more rested, ready to step into the new year with new energy to meet your goals.
Be protective of your time during the Christmas break. Only accept social invitations that you really want or need to go to, only work on those projects that are important to you, and postpone or delegate the rest.
It’s all too easy to cram activities and catch-ups into your holiday schedule. However, I encourage you to make sure you have some time to yourself and to enjoy the quiet time too. It’s great to be busy, but it’s also important to slow down and restore your body and mind.
Have a think about what truly brings you joy and helps you escape. This could be a crisp winter walk, a hot chocolate in front of an old movie or simply a predictable game of Trivial Pursuit with the kids. Whatever makes you enjoy the moment and feel at ease, do this!
5. Go Offline
Disconnect digitally from work by removing your work email, slack and whatever other work tech you use from your personal phone.
This way, when you do choose to work, you are doing it on your own terms and not because an alert has popped up on your phone.
Wishing you happy holidays!
Now, as a business owner myself, I’m going to try my best to take my own advice. Our office is closed between Christmas and New Year and, other than some goal-setting for the new year, I fully intend to be present with my friends and family for the Christmas break. I really hope you do the same too!
Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all my colleagues and clients for an absolutely amazing 2022. It’s been challenging, rewarding and very fulfilling. I wish you all a restful and calm break and I hope you find some time to reflect on the past year in a positive way. I look forward to catching up with you in 2023. Happy holidays!