The weather is getting warmer, business is slowing for the festive season, and whilst travel may still not be easy, it’s exciting to share plans with your social and work circles for the Christmas break, right?
But wait a minute, you’re a business owner! You can’t take time off, your business needs you!
Just kidding. Long gone are the days of being intrinsically linked to our businesses, unable to step away and overworking ourselves to the point where our health, both physical and mental suffers.
At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, and potentially stating the obvious, taking time off is imperative for our health and general well being. As much as you might love working and your business might be like a second home, we all need to take time off to rest and recharge to avoid burnout.
Did you know that studies actually show a decrease in productivity the longer we continue to work ourselves over our threshold, and studies also show that being overworked can lead to a range of health problems, including impaired sleep, depression, heavy drinking, diabetes, impaired memory and heart disease? It’s so important that in this modern work era, we are ensuring that we are being kind to our bodies and are acting in the best interest of our health.
And we get it, even if you know the risks, it can be hard to step away from your work. You may fear that if you aren’t there, things won’t get done and you’ll just have more work to do when you return. Or maybe you think you are the only one capable of doing your job and you don’t quite trust anyone else to complete projects to your standard. But there are ways to ensure that you get your work done, and also get that time off that you really need.
The biggest tips we have are to both;
If you are planning a Christmas break, waiting until December 15th to make a plan is not going to cut it, and will ultimately just mean a very stressful ‘last week’. Instead, we suggest making a plan in late October/early November, as to what tasks you can bring forward/push back to clear some downtime over the festive season. These could be things such as marketing content, report preparation, budgeting, anything you do routinely, can be shifted.
If you have a team but don’t really have a second in command, allocate different roles to them for the duration of your holiday. By splitting the load, you are ensuring that not only will all your work get done, but it will also be a great opportunity for your team to bond over projects and work on tasks they haven’t had the opportunity to experience before. Just make sure to split work across the board so everyone has time to take time off and recharge.
If your team is also taking time off, you need to prioritize both your workload, and the to do lists of your team. Decide what is imperative to be done over the break (i.e. banking) and what can wait until you resume your work after your holidays. By prioritizing your workload, you will know exactly what you have to do, and be able to turn down work that pops up along the way. And when we mean crucial work, we mean crucial. The key here is asking yourself, “can this be done in a week when I return?” If the answer is yes, use that all important willpower and make sure you don’t act on it until you return to work.
And if you don’t think that you can reasonably separate your work from your free time (don’t worry, it can be really hard to do), or if you’re a one-man band without the support of a team, don’t fret! There are also options for you! Have you ever thought about hiring a virtual assistant or online business manager? These resources are a great way to hand over some business responsibility while you or your team are taking leave. They are skilled and trained to complete any business requests that you might have to do during your break, and depending on your business and industry can also be trained to complete other tasks to make sure you don’t come back to a mound of work. Is your business in digital marketing? Hire a virtual assistant who is trained in social media to manage your clients’ accounts while you’re away. Is your business a legal business? Hire a virtual assistant who understands the law and can effectively file and sort documents for you. The best bit about a virtual assistant is that they are, well, virtual! They can work from anywhere in the world, and therefore make the hiring process much smoother than hiring a physical employee.
At the end of the day, holidays and time off are a huge part of Australian culture. Business owners are no exception, and to make sure that your business thrives in through the holidays and into the new year, take that time off. Invest in a good virtual assistant, or delegate work to your team. Whatever you need to do to take that time off, make sure you do it – for not only your business but also you!