If you’re like me, about this time of year you start totting up the days off you have (or haven’t) had in 2014, and realise that possibly you’ve been over doing it a little.
Then you vow that you’ll have Christmas off – knowing that an important client could phone up at any moment from boxing day onward and need your time.
It’s an age old problem for us small business owners…
Money or sanity?
We all know the reasons for taking time off; renewed brain power, fresh perspective, release of stress hormones, getting a little extra sleep. But we also love our businesses and find it hard to switch off.
If this sounds like you I have a couple of suggestions that might help this festive season…
For reducing how many clients call you:
1. Let all your clients know when your opening times are – and stick with it.
2. Set up autoresponders, outgoing voicemail messages on landlines, mobiles etc to let people know your opening times, that you’re closed but that there is an emergency email.
3. Set up an emergency email that will be the only email you check. (ok, so we all know you’re going to peek at your other emails too, but try and keep it to a minimum.)
4. If you have the sort of company where emergencies really can happen – try increasing your prices over the Christmas period. It may feel scary, but most people will understand. Plus remember that your time is valuable too.
Finally, to reduce the amount of time you think about work…
This one is a little trickier. You probably love your work. You probably think about it a lot. But trust me, if you’re anything like me, you need to go on a distraction offensive with yourself.
Here’s some tricks I have used in the past:
1. Try every relaxation technique going.
From stuff you’ve tried before, to stuff you think is hokum. Meditation, long walks, running, dancing, massage, hot stone treatments, yoga, pilates, reading, energy cleansing, screaming (possibly not where other people can hear you), long drives, shopping, eating out, getting your hair done (or if you’re a bloke try getting a traditional wet shave)… you name it, try all of them.
What’s the point you ask? The distraction offensive is about interrupting your brain and stopping that pattern of thinking about work.
Most importantly, plan for relaxation. Go with the family, friends or whatever, but commit to trying some.
2. The comedy distraction
Apparently, cortisol is one of the stress hormones that messes with your metabolism, your mental acuity, your ability to sleep and many many other things in your body (try reading this Wikipedia article: Cortisol – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
There are a couple of things that reportedly help reduce cortisol: drinking plenty of water; working off excess cortisol through exercise; and laughter.
So work in a little time to watch your favourite comedian, have a look at the humour section of Pinterest (which is one of my personal favourite ways to have a laugh on a regular basis), pick up a funny book, revisit that DVD of Monty Python you have collecting dust on a shelf… the list goes on!
3. Go easy on yourself
There is the temptation over Christmas to try and cram in seeing everyone you haven’t seen for a while, do things you’ve been putting off, do things that other people want you to do and generally get to 2nd January and suddenly realise you’re back at work and didn’t do half the things you wanted to.
Relaxing will hopefully be up there on the top of the list. Spending time with family will hopefully be combined with the relaxing. If there are chores that really, truly need doing over the next couple of weeks, may be leave them til the latter end of your time off, because after all your own sanity is paramount 🙂
May be make the effort to see as many people as possible after the Xmas period if they can’t be woven into your relaxation plans?
These are just some ideas. Would love to hear yours too.
Have a very merry Xmas everyone 🙂