12 steps to a stress-free Christmas for every small business owner
There are plans and processes we can put in place for a guilt and stress-free Christmas break. Being a business owner doesn’t have to make that tricky.
Christmas parties, family fun and a merry Christmas are back on the agenda for 2021! (just not in Downing Street).
I recently posted a poll on LinkedIn (yes another poll) and asked if small business owners were planning on taking a break. I was pleased to see the results but if you are like one of the 7% or 6% then these 12 steps might help you – if not this year, then next year plan to take that well-deserved break. (Click here to see the results and comments).
Remember, time out to reflect, re-focus and re-charge are just as important as the work you put into your business.
Read on to reveal my 12 Steps for a Stress-free Christmas:
1. Plan ahead
Schedule time in your calendar to tie up those loose ends you’ve been promising yourself. You don’t want them niggling you during the Christmas break.
Consider your Systems and Processes. Can any of your business tasks be automated over the Christmas Period?
Write a to-do list of tasks and split them into Monthly, Weekly and Daily tasks. Seeing your workload/tasks written down helps you to unscramble it from your head and see them more clearly. Are there any future tasks that you can plan ahead for your return to work after your break?
2. Decide on your break and stick to it
Do you know how long you would like to take a break from your business? Consider factors such as School Holidays, your partners holidays or work schedule and any plans to see family and friends.
Remember, you have worked hard throughout the year and deserve the downtime with your loved ones.
Once you have decided on the dates and duration put them in your diary and calendars and stick to them!
3. Communicate with your clients/customers in advance
You now know when your Christmas break is going to start and end, so now you can let your clients and customers know in advance. This prepares them and you for workflow between now and the beginning of your break. Be clear that this is a break for you to spend outside of your business and that any communication made during your break will be responded to upon your return.
You may wish to make arrangements for anything ‘urgent’
If you decide that you’ll be checking emails periodically or that you will be online between the hours of x and y – let them know.
4. Out of office
Make sure you prepare your Out of Office message with your return date. Perhaps you can make it into a cheery Christmas message for all! Ensure you set it before you shut the lid on your laptop, oh and set the end date too so you don’t have to remember to switch it off when you’re back and raring to go!
Is there anywhere else you can let people know about your holiday plans? – Newsletters, – Email signature, – Social Media
5. Answerphone messaging
As mentioned above, if a client or potential customer is trying to contact you during your break ensure that your message is professional yet transparent for your clients and customers and also for any potential new business.
Include key points in your messages such as your returning date, so they have a rough idea of response times etc.
6. Turn off notifications
Switch off email alerts, social media notifications and anything else related. This is a key step if you wish to have a calm and relaxed period of time off!
7. Prioritise – This is a game-changer for reducing stress, anxiety and increasing productivity and opportunities!
Working on the tasks with deadlines will take priority! If it’s a deadline for 3 months time, it’s safe to say that can go a little further down the list and wait until after your Christmas break.
Staying focused on tasks that take priority will leave you feeling calmer, working smarter and will clear your mind for more productivity for the next task.
Procrastinating on those smaller or insignificant tasks will only leave you falling behind.
Make a list. What takes priority? Are you and your clients clear on time frames?
Do you have a team? Do they know what their priorities are? They will need a break too.
8. Schedule your Social Media
Scheduling your social media for over the Christmas period could reduce a lot of stress for you.
Work out how many times you want to post throughout the period. What do you want to post about? Many businesses will be winding down just like you, so think about reducing your posts (if you want to) prep them, design your images, if you’re using any and schedule them using a platform such as MeetEdgar, Later or Hootsuite. That’s a huge worry taken care of!
9. Take care of your inbox
Imagine returning after the Christmas break to a pristine inbox? Organised, junk-free and a clear space for new opportunities and existing client communications. Utilise the filters, blocks and unsubscribe buttons pre-Christmas for a reduced inbox in the new year and months to come!
An organised inbox is a joy to have for many!
10. Delegate tasks to your team
If you are fortunate enough to have a team or a VA), delegate some of your tasks to them. Make sure that they have enough time to prioritise as well. A job shared is a job halved! If you don’t have anyone to outsource to this year, think about how you might do it next time when you want to take a break, could you outsource some tasks to a Virtual Assistant?
11. Keep a clean and clutter-free desk space.
There is a lot to be said for a clean and clear desk space! An increase in productivity is one of them. Distracting objects, faffy bits of paper and out of date post-its that are ready to walk themselves! Give your desk a de-clutter and see how it also de-clutters your mind ready for pro-active and non-procrastinated working!
12. Enjoy your break- stress-free!
Follow the 11 steps above to really enjoy step 12!
The ultimate aim is to be organised and free of stress so that you can have a joyful Christmas with your loved ones without the worry of your business. Take some time now early December to forward plan using all of your productive resources!
Have a very Merry Christmas.
Ps – If you think you’ll come back from your business break with an unmanageable to-do list then BOOK an early January DISCOVERY CALL, where I can share more ideas and tips to help you work smarter and not harder in 2022!