Whatever you call it, it brings with it the promise of a new year, a new start and lots and lots of stress!
Christmas is an extremely lucrative time for those in the business of selling. It’s estimated that on average, Brits spend approximately £19 million every year on presents alone. Which is a staggering number, but when you think about it, it’s not that hard to believe. We all tend to go a little bit mad, particularly so in the last few years when it’s been all about splashing out after difficult times. For business owners, this is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it means lots of money coming in (and we all love that), and a curse because it means more work, whatever that is. Even if it’s just packaging and sending products they’ve already made, it’s still a lot of work.
For those with medical conditions or disabilities, that extra work can mean that their health takes a backseat to getting everything done, and in the end, that helps no one. What use is all that extra money if you’ve made yourself ill to get it? With this in mind, we’ve put together a few tips to help you survive the madness. We also asked some of our clients what they do to help them prepare for the season…
Prioritise. Work out what is most important and do things in that order. Is there something you’ve been doing that can wait until January? Leave it! Your time is valuable, so use it wisely.
Be realistic. Know your limits and schedule your time accordingly. If you over-schedule, you run the risk of burning out and potentially, disappointing your customers. Decide on a cut-off date for last orders or last post and don’t deviate from that.
Decide your opening hours in advance. This is so important, but what is also important, is communicating this to your customers and STICKING TO IT. If you’re planning on taking time off between Christmas and New Year, make sure your customers know that and don’t be drawn in to doing more work.
Digital Detox. If you are taking time off (not everyone does and that’s fine too), try and stay away from technology if you can. If you start checking your socials everyday then are you really taking time off? If a week is too long, why not pick one day in the middle where you allow yourself to dip back in, but just that one day. Everything can wait.
Take time for yourself. No matter how busy you are, it’s important to take time for you. Check in with yourself every day to make sure you’re not overdoing it. Note any symptoms or issues that could be popping up and take action to remedy them. Your health is just as important.
Ask for help. It seems simple, but it isn’t always. The perils of working on your own means there’s only you to get things done, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask. Do you have family members or friends who can jump in and give you a hand? Even if it’s just talking you through all the things on your to-do list and helping you prioritise them, it can really make a difference. If you’re someone who has staff but has a bad habit of trying to do everything alone, STOP. You employ staff for a reason, use them.
Charlotte Turner – Mini Mixers
“Being incredibly organised! Plan, plan, plan and start prepping well in advance so that you are able to take your time and not burn out. It’s why I advertise Christmas in September. Everyone laughs but it’s physically the only way I can do it when I’m already so busy – and it’s by far the busiest month of the year, especially when I’m working right up until Christmas.”
“Definitely planning, and I would add that it’s really important to plan the time you want to have for fun too – make sure you’ve got Christmassy things in your diary (whatever that means to you – going out with friend/family or having time to hunker down at home with a good book or film), with recovery time around those things and work things. Also, get thinking about Christmas presents now and start shopping so you haven’t got a panic on about that. You really don’t want to end up resenting your own business for causing stress around the lovely things about the festive season, or vice versa!”
John McDonald – Eagle Wings Consultancy
“As a disability specialist, I often post on self-care and as a business owner over the festive period, this is even more important. The extended build up to Christmas and the pressure on family and business life having a Christmas free zone, a place where I can relax and recentre myself is how I manage my self-care.
I am also mindful that this period is not a happy one for everyone, there are homeless people and people who have lost loved ones, and this is a very stressful time for them, so being able to be responsive to others means having flexibility in my approach to the festive season that is responsive to people’s needs.”
Sandra Hope – Essential Thyme
“I close the business between Christmas and New year as this is my time to recharge my batteries and spend quality time with my family. I spend the days relaxing with a good book, going for a walk or cuddling up with dog Bailey.”
The most important tip we can give you is to know that whatever you do, is right for you. It doesn’t matter what other people are doing so don’t feel guilty because you feel like you should be working. If time off is what you want or need, then take it! There’ll be plenty of time for working in the new year so grab the chocolates and the wine and enjoy yourself!