For business owners, taking a break may seem like an impossible luxury. But your business can’t grow sustainably if you’re not recharging your batteries. Here are 9 top tips to help you relax and enjoy some well-earned time away from your business.
1. Time off boosts your business
Do you think of holiday as ‘wasted time’? Try reframing it as productive work. When you’re rested and relaxed after a true break, you’ll bring a new creative energy to your business.
“Christmas is a good opportunity for me to relax, enjoy quality time with my family and reflect on what has transpired over the past year” says Kean Graham, CEO of MonetizeMore. “At Christmas, I question our strategy, reflect on the direction of the industry and make predictions for the next year. When you get outside of your typical week-to-week, some big realisations become much clearer which could be worth their weight in gold.”
2. No need to say sorry
“Never apologise for taking time off to relax, reconnect and celebrate” says Lisa Johnson, Business and passive income coach. “The most effective you is a fully functioning you, and by embracing the downtime you will be fighting fit and ready to smash the next twelve months when January comes around in a flash.”
3. Keep clients in the loop
“No one can work 24/7, 365 days a year, so taking some time off will be fully understood by any reasonable client or customer” says Lisa Johnson. “Give your clients and any other business contacts a clear and timely heads up that you'll be ‘off limits.’ People can happily deal with what they know and expect. Just give your clients and colleagues plenty of notice.”
Your update could even remind your customers of the value you’re adding! “Telling clients a few weeks in advance that you will be out of office can actually be a sales opportunity, providing anything they might need before you go.” says Rebecca Newenham, Founder and Director of Get Ahead VA.
4. Cut off completely, if you can
Unless your business is especially lively between Christmas and new year, the festive period is likely the only time that both you and your customers will be taking a break. Seize the opportunity to truly step away from your desk. That doesn’t mean abandoning your priorities, just make the most of automation.
5. Schedule, schedule, schedule
Creating social media posts and sending marketing emails can be a huge time suck, at any time of the year.
“I prepare all my content a few weeks in advance and I schedule it into various social media platforms so that I know that I can relax whilst I'm still staying visible” says Amy Merrywest, Founder of Amy Merrywest Consulting.
6. Check access in advance
“If you’ll be having anyone on your team manage anything for you while you’re on break, double-check that they have all the necessary access they need” says Tyler Read, CEO of PT Pioneer. “Do they need access to your email, Google Drive, email marketing service, or website? Double check that they either have their own account, they have your passwords, or your sharing settings include them.”
Avoid unnecessary headaches by checking this well in advance. Try setting up a test run a week before you go on holiday, for added peace of mind.
“Keep in mind that most online services use two-factor authentication these days and someone else’s IP address and device will trigger a security verification process” says Tyler. “If they need to sign into any accounts on your behalf, make sure you reset the two-factor authentication to a method they’ll be able to use otherwise you’re going to be getting calls and texts asking you for security codes when you’re supposed to be enjoying the holidays.”
7. Limit your work time
Not every business owner has the luxury of stepping away from their desk completely.
“Over Christmas, I generally get up early just to check on things” says Alec Dobbie, CEO and Co-Founder at FanFinders. “Even if you’re having a two week break, we have parts of our business operating 24/7 and if something goes wrong, you need to be there to fix it. There’s a peace of mind in knowing that you’re covering off all eventualities.”
And if you know you’ll need a few hours to check in on work, schedule that time in so you’re not stepping away from the table just before the turkey is carved.
"Across any holiday period, I tend to block out time just to catch up on stuff” says Alec Dobbie. “I find it’s easier to have those set times, rather than trying to take a phone call in the middle of doing an activity with your family. This means you get to really enjoy those moments.”
8. Get into the holiday spirit
If you step away from your laptop at 7pm on Christmas eve after a hectic week of deadlines, you may not feel fantastically festive. To immerse yourself in the magic, watch Christmas films, bake your favourite Christmas treats, and read up on recipes, decorating tips or gift ideas. Claus Research even suggests that people who put their Christmas decorations up earlier are happier. So throw on your Christmas jumper, and get decorating!
“Another way to switch off from business stuff is throwing yourself into traditions, especially with your kids” says Alex Dobbie. “Before I had kids, I didn’t pay as much attention to Christmas, but now it’s about getting the tree and all those other family activities to make it fun for them – and that’s a nice distraction at times.”
9. Give back
Donating your time, resources or money to charity isn’t just the right thing to do, it can also be incredibly rewarding.
“Normally I would wind down early and get involved with charity work but the pandemic makes that difficult” says Amy Merryweather.
If you can’t volunteer in person, consider donating some cash to a charitable cause. If that’s not possible, see if you can help out vulnerable neighbours with their Christmas shopping, running errands, or just checking in on them. With your business in safe hands, you can step back, give back, and enjoy your best Christmas ever.
Learn more on how to set your business up for the Christmas sales period.