If you’re an SME owner, it can be hard to take time off from your business. We get it, there’s a lot to be done and just not enough hours in the day to do everything. Being able to choose when and where you work might seem like a luxury to many. But the reality is that many small business owners will go above and beyond standard working hours and often sacrifice evenings, weekends and even their Christmas holiday to get everything done.
But while you might think that working all hours God sends is the best thing for your SME, it’s actually not. If you’re constantly running on empty, you’re never going to be able to produce your best work and give your clients and customers the best service possible. So, it’s definitely time to take a break and what better time to do just that than over Christmas.
Before you laugh at us for even suggesting that you can take some time off over Christmas, we’ve here to convince you that you can and definitely should put your feet up this festive season with these simple hacks.
Switch off your gadgets
It’s hard to give yourself a proper rest if you’re constantly checking your phone and laptop for emails and updates. But on the other hand, it can also be nerve-wracking to go cold turkey and have zero contact with your clients, suppliers, employees and customers, even if it’s only for a few days. Even with the best intentions, the temptation to sneak away from the festivities to find out what’s going on will be too strong.
To help you still feel in control, whilst also being present when you’re celebrating with your nearest and dearest, create a schedule that includes set time each day specifically for work matters. Ideally, this should be no more than two hours in the morning or evening. Then for the rest of the day, switch off all of your gadgets and put them where you can’t see them to avoid taking a sneaky peek after your Christmas dinner. Enlist the help of your friends and family or use an alarm clock to make sure you stick to your times so you don’t break your mini digital detox.
Accept that some things won’t get finalised
Even if you were to work straight through the holidays, it’s likely that some of your tasks won’t get completed – well not until January anyway. Christmas is a popular period for people to have time off work, so you might have trouble getting responses from your clients or suppliers until the new year. So take advantage of this radio silence and only focus on the tasks that absolutely need doing before going off on your break.
To make this easier, create a list of all of your SME’s impending to-do’s and break them into three categories: must do, should do and can wait. The must-do’s should obviously include priority tasks like sending invoices and running payroll, whereas tasks that aren’t time sensitive can go in the “can wait” category, ready to be picked up again in January. It can be a bitter pill to swallow but accepting that some things just aren’t going to be completed will make it easier for you to relax. Just make sure you give your clients a heads up first.
Just say no
Whether you decide to take the whole week off or just a couple of days, it can be tempting to fill up your time with endless social gatherings, from parties with friends to Christmas dinner with your family. Christmas is a time to be spent with your loved ones, but cramming too much in can be anything but relaxing.
If you start to feel overwhelmed by everything and don’t feel like you’re actually getting any downtime, chances are that you’ve overcommitted yourself. It can be difficult to do, but if you need to say no and cancel one or two engagements, then don’t be afraid to do it. It’s far better to enjoy a couple of social events and then give yourself some days of doing nothing, than feeling stressed and frazzled before going back to work.
By using these festive SME hacks, you can make having a well-deserved break from your small business a reality without feeling too guilty. Give yourself time to recharge your batteries, eat your body weight in festive treats and spend time with your loved ones. Trust us- while it might not seem like it to everyone, taking a break is the best thing you can do for your physical and mental wellbeing and your small business.