I keep hearing that holidays get in the way or come at the wrong time.
Personally, I don’t understand that.
As a business owner we work long, and we work hard.
Our lives are full of stress and downtime is minimal.
That’s why I enjoy this time of year.
Christmas is a great time to switch the phone off and concentrate on what’s important in your life.
99% of the business population have downed tools and that can ensure a bit of peace and quiet.
Unless you’re in retail or leisure at this time of year you should switch off and recharge those batteries.
In my experience, even though we have weekends, we never really shut down.
I know you can be sitting on the settee on a Sunday watching Antiques Roadshow, but a portion of that big old brain is still tuned into work and not on Mrs Jones’s Ming Vase.
Outwardly you may look interested but in reality, you are already balancing workload with capacity and cash flow with creditors.
Where it really becomes problematic is where you realise your better half has been talking to you for the last 3 minutes, but you haven’t even noticed!!!
I always start digging and quickly find myself neck deep in a hole of my making.
“Dig deep – throw long”, my Grandfather was fond of saying when he occasionally put his foot in it.
Yes, so we never really, really switch off.
That’s why I’m urging you this holiday season to do just that. . . Switch off.
Let’s make a deal.
Last month I wrote an article on Can’t Means Won’t, so when you say I can’t switch off, you know what I am coming back with. . . Do you mean, Can’t or you simply Won’t?
There’s a load of research now how that ping of an email landing or a ‘like’ on a Social Media post is addictive. Something to do with Dopamine I believe. That’s what has us reaching for our phones and looking for that fix every morning and even when we are “supposed” to be engaging with our friends and family in non-work environments.
So, the deal I’m willing to strike is this. . . Why not turn Wi-Fi and data off your phone (better still turn the bloody thing off altogether) for 5 days.
Come on that’s easy over Christmas!
What are you going to miss?
Christmas Eve is a Monday. . . The big day is a Tuesday
No excuse so far – come on, it’s family time.
Boxing Day is a Wednesday, so unless you have a penchant for sofa sales and standing in queues outside department stores for shorts they couldn’t sell in the Summer, then you’re not missing much here. Most of the business world is still digesting sprouts anyway.
Now you’re into the twitchy zone.
Squeaky bum time, as Alex Ferguson, used to call it.
Can you last Thursday and Friday?
What could possibly go on that can’t wait until January 2nd?
Be serious with me.
Now I appreciate that this article will be read by a wide variety of businesses in different sectors etc. I don’t expect anyone who makes all their money by selling over Christmas to all of a sudden stop. Be sensible here. . . However, you know who you are.
The ones that’ll be twitching by the Thursday to answer emails and to check the CCTV and to make some lame excuse to get back at it.
Step away from the laptop, put down the mobile phone and put your hands on your head.
Leave it where it is, go out with the kids, get some fresh air with the spouse or partner.
God knows, we could all work off a few extra calories from all those mince pies and clotted cream!!!
So, the only real challenge here is, “The Lull” as I like to call it.
But. . . As you would expect, I have a challenge for you to complete if you simply can’t (or won’t!) cope.
It doesn’t involve answering emails or checking CCTV footage, neither does it involve reconciling your bank account and filling in your mileage for the year!
Take a blank piece of paper and write these words on it, in big letters. . . I AM A LOSER
Take a blank piece of paper and on the first page, list all the things you have accomplished that made you feel proud this year. . . List them all, personal and business.
Once you’ve done that and opened that bottle of port Auntie Mabel brought, turn over and on the back write down what made you really happy this year? That deal you won, the customer you sacked, the holidays, the days out, the books read, something one of your children did or said. Anything that made you laugh out loud or gave you big smile.
Good, you should be halfway through that port by now and feeling pretty good about yourself.
If you do all that and still need more to do, then revert to the first step and definitely write I AM A LOSER – it’s a holiday for heaven’s sake.
Guys, I love working and what I do, but I also love the energy I get when I am rested and ready to hit the ground running.
For me, it doesn’t matter what time of year I take a break, I can’t wait to get back but I always, always, always take time to relax and switch off.
I would urge you all to do the same.
If you are reading this in December – have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.
If you are reading it on demand – have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year, next time it comes around for you!!!!