You’ve been working your ass ragged since January. If you’ve been particularly busy you might have worked long into the evenings and into the weekends. Even if you’ve sailed smoothly through 2015 with very little stress and a decent work-life balance, you deserve a proper rest.
After all, if you can’t relax properly at this time of year, when can you? It’s the silly season. Everyone has their Xmas heads on, the majority of non-retail businesses put off innovations, changes, purchases and new projects until the new year.
It’s no good launching marketing campaigns at this time of year, unless you’re in the Xmas business. The chronic Christmas media noise gets in the way of anything non-seasonal you might want to say, and it costs such a lot more to get heard in such a crowded and manic market. Even if people are listening, which they probably won’t be.
You’re much better off joining the majority and giving it a rest, a proper rest, where you close the lid of your laptop, hurl a cover over your desktop and forget work completely for the entire week between Christmas itself and New year. Your business world won’t end if you do.
The perfect emotional full stop
The powerful emotional full stop that new year delivers makes the week before it an even more perfect time to have a break. The calendar is more or less hard-wired into our subconsciousness. This time of year is a time when we naturally step back, examine our lives – including our careers – and plot a more productive and enjoyable course for the fresh year ahead. That’s what new year resolutions are about.
When you feel crap, your work’s usually crap!
A tough year can take a toll on much more than your poor old brain, which probably feels a lot like blancmange at this time of year. Over-work affects your physical health too, making you feel all worn out and fragile and papery. In combination they’re deadly to doing good business. You just don’t have the physical and mental resources you need, and you’ll feel dreadful by new year if you keep working.
Research shows how working consistently long hours doesn’t mean you get any more done. Quite the opposite. The more tired you are, the longer you’ve worked, the less effective you are. In the morning you’re an incisive, efficient racing snake. By eight in the evening you’re working in slo-mo, and you often make a mess of it.
You need a break, for the sake of your business if nothing else. Rest up over Christmas and you’ll be in a much better position to take 2016 by storm.
Ideas will flow
If you keep working over Xmas and new year, you’ll start the new year just as clogged up as you were before Christmas. Give yourself a breather over the festive season and you’ll probably find a rush ideas coming through, cool things your brain hasn’t had the chance to tell you because it’s been so busy firefighting and dealing with everyday business matters.
These bright sparks will give you the ammunition you need to jot down three key things to change, to make your business life better. These might include:
- Improved admin, processes or procedures
- A selection of tasks to delegate, freeing up hours of precious time every day, week, month
- Something you realise you really don’t need to do any more, again freeing up time and resources
- An opportunity that’s been staring you in the face, but you were too busy to notice
- Skills gaps to fill
- New markets to explore, new products and services to design
- Savings on your fixed and variable costs
- A new way to organise your working space so it’s more comfortable and logical
- Ways to be more productive
Three is fine. You don’t want to overburden yourself in the new year. Once you’ve done that, stop. Step away from business again. Leave your three ideas to brew. You can develop them after you’ve enjoyed your holiday.
Prepare yourself the day before you return to your desk
If you haven’t done the decent thing and left everything in good order before your break, it’s a good move to prepare yourself the day before you get back to work.
- Deal with the week’s emails, filing those you need to tackle tomorrow and dumping the junk
- Get a task list ready for the morning so you know where you are from the start
- If you need to, briefly re-familiarise yourself with the work you have to do so you’re primed
Have a jolly winter break
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, we’d like to wish you a brilliant break. Take it easy on yourself!