The Christmas and the festive period are just days away, many people have already switched off. But I’m sure like me, as an entrepreneur you are already thinking about 2015. We are all working like crazy to get things ready for when the fun kicks off again in January. Yet there is nothing worse than getting to the start of a new year completely burnt out. So at some point over the holiday period I like many entrepreneurs and business owners like you will need to stop. I need to charge my batteries and get ready for 2015. So here are my top five pieces of advice (plus one step to having an easies 2015 holiday period) to help you enjoy the festive period and launch into 2015 in the best form ever.
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Block Out Downtime In Your Calendar
It is something that we get told in so many personal development books, but is rarely something entrepreneurs do. By blocking some time out in my calendar, titled ‘Henry Off’ seems to make me more relaxed and more able to enjoy time away from my business. Another nice thing I have always found is by writing it down on our calendar is no one seems quite as desperate to get hold of me. It tells the world ‘no I’m not working’ and means I have a relaxing time away from the business.
I will be off for seven days this year. But I do enjoy what we do and expect we will receive a few emails that may be of interest. So along with blocking out the 7 days i will be scheduling in 2 x 45 minute blocks to open up my laptop and see where things are at.
Hit The Do Not Disturb Button
It’s amazing, the iPhone has had this ability for 3 or 4 years now. But it’s only recently that I started to hit the do not disturb button. I thought it was cool that i was always connected. I always had emails flashing up on my phone, daily sales figures, and not to mention hundreds of social media updates. I have to say it made me feel important. Like our business was moving forward at 1,000,000 miles an hour but it did nothing for my social life, and relationships.
Then just recently I took that massive step and scheduled the do not disturb function on my iPhone for evening and weekends. It put me in control of when I want to see new emails, social updates and our sales figures. It’s so much more relaxing knowing that after a certain point each day i won’t get any more updates. There will be nothing else to respond to and my time is my time. So for the first time this Christmas the do not disturb function of my iPhone is going to be on. It is going to be on the same amount of time as I have blocked out in my calendar to relax. I am 100% sure so called top priority emails will come in, and our key metrics will be interesting. But in do not disturb mode I will get to choose the times I see the updates and respond to them.
Use Audio Emails
One of the biggest time savers, and productivity hacks I have learned over the years is to respond to emails with audio messages. I have no doubt that the few times i look through my email inbox over the holiday period it will be full with new emails. There is no way I’m going to be able to answer all these emails in the few 45 minute blocks of time i have decided to work during the holidays. But I will get through a lot of them using audio email replies. What are audio email replies? I hope the below video will help to explain how and why i do them. You can also get a full explanation on my website here http://henryreith.co/why-audio-reply/.
Play a Board Game
Even if you manage to stop working over the holiday period the temptation to get wrapped up in technology is still there. This general leads to you looking at your emails then getting lost in work. I love technology, but it all gets too much sometimes.
So to get away from it there is nothing like going back to the good old days, and getting a board game out. For me this is going to be chess. There’s nothing better than losing an afternoon or evening indulging in a hard fought chess match or two. Time seems to fly when you are playing a board game. It helps get some well-earned relaxing time in with something that reminds me of the holidays when i was a child.
If You Don’t Want To Get Involved In The Holiday Spirit Then Don’t
My last piece of advice Is completely counterintuitive. To maintain a good work life balance through the holidays get involved if you want to but don’t if you don’t want to. Last year I skipped the two weeks of running around, seeing lots of friends and family and all the rest. It’s easy to do, as you have all the abilities in the world to decide what you want to do. As far as I’m concerned if people are true friends they will support you. You can see anyone at any time of year so why cram it into a week or two around Christmas.
After two weeks relaxing last holiday season I started 2014 feeling fantastic. I had a clear vision in my head where I wanted to take our business. The business went from strength to strength from day one in January. We were able to build on the momentum we gained in early 2014 to explode the businesses growth through the second half of the year.
Yet I do not propose taking the Grinch approach for everyone. Having a real break over the holidays that’s about you and not the rest of the world is what it’s all about. This should help you start off 2015 how you mean to continue.
Make It Easy In 2015 – Automate it
There are many tasks that we do in our day-to-day businesses that we don’t need to do. I believe ‘marketing is a commodity, and process is priceless’. Although i mainly apply the saying to marketing related activities it applies to all areas of business.
So with Christmas and the holiday’s just day’s away take a look at what you do every day and think if you can automate the task. I find something new to automate in our business on a weekly basis. It also seems that around holiday times i get even more creative when dreaming up what i can automate and how i can automate it. I now personally save over 60 hours a week vs this time last year having automated tasks. So to get more time off over the holiday period look at what you can automate in your business. Even if you can’t automate it this year, maybe you can automate it ready for a more relaxed Holiday season in 2015.
FREEBIE: Would you like to automate tasks in your business but don’t know how? For the first 2 people to email me at email@example.com I’ll jump on Skype with you. We can go through how to automate at least one major process in your business.
In conclusion the holiday period is a great opportunity to enjoy yourself. But you should decide how and when you want to get involved in the holiday period. Be realistic, if it’s something you want to do, do it and if it’s something you don’t want to do don’t, that applies to both work and play.