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Happy Holidays

By the time you read this, I am likely to be sipping a cocktail in a resort in a tropical location. I have managed to escape the winter cold and am having a few well-earned weeks off.

I mention this partly to make you jealous! But mostly because, as all business women are fully aware, taking time off is not generally something that can be done easily. You are the backbone of your business, and there is always something to be done and deadlines to meet. Sadly, too many business women will report that it has been years since they have taken a substantial break.

Ultimately it comes down to whether you are committed to taking a break. Believe it or not, the world will keep turning if you are not there! But you do need to factor holidays into your business plans and plan ahead.

One of the ways I created an opportunity to take leave, was to inform my clients well in advance. I gave them options and deadlines – and importantly, I stuck to those boundaries! This enabled my clients to also plan their requirements, and they were all willing and able to do so.

Your business may not be as flexible with deadlines as mine, and may involve employing or outsourcing someone to continue your work while you are away. Do not use this as an excuse not to take a break! There are always ways to ‘replace’ you. And ultimately, your aim should be to make yourself expendable. After all, the goal of most business owners is to work a little less, rather than be chained to their business.

 


Michelle Grice writes a weekly column for business women in The Western Weekender

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Pep Talk

We all experience slumps in our enthusiasm for running our business. It is a rare person (if she exists at all!) who can maintain a high level of energy all the time. So how do you pep yourself up? Here are some tips:

  • Use a business coach. A good business coach can give you the positive push you need, provide accountability and increase your enthusiasm immensely.
  • Network with other business owners. Talking through struggles and triumphs with other business owners can be a great release and a great way to increase your energy levels. Mutual support and a shared understanding will improve your outlook.
  • Find a mentor. While it is valuable and important to meet with other business owners, meeting regularly with a mentor who has more experience is a great way to be encouraged. Mentors can often be a source of advice and a sounding board for new ideas.
  • Commit yourself to lifelong learning. There is no one who can profess that they have learnt ‘everything’: there is always something new to learn. And learning has the added bonus of increasing your enthusiasm.
  • Take a break! Too often we fall into the trap of thinking we need to keep working and get the job done. But our energy levels will continue to drop, and productivity will suffer, if we don’t take regular breaks.

 


Michelle Grice writes a weekly column for business women in The Western Weekender

 

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Evaluation

Many business owners use the New Year season to take stock of their business and life in general. It is a great opportunity to set goals and plan for the coming year, and make changes where necessary.

Hopefully when you started your business, you went into it with your eyes wide open. If you didn’t, it would not have taken you long to learn that running a business means you will need to sacrifice some blood, sweat, tears, money, time and so on in order to achieve success. The tricky part is maintaining some semblance of balance. You need to ensure that your sacrifices are not outweighing your success.

The very first ‘sacrifice’ you should evaluate is family time. There is nothing wrong with short periods of time where work has to come first. But if you spend little time with family and friends and spend most of your nights and weekends working, you need to make some changes. Reflect on what is most important in life and work towards creating more, not less, time on that.

Find a leisure activity that is completely different to your ‘work’ and make it a regular (i.e. at least weekly) pastime. This gives your brain time to recharge and will ultimately provide you with more focus and energy. Ensure that you take regular holidays, where you completely ‘switch off’. This is critical now more than ever in the age of 24/7 access to technology.

Evaluate whether your ‘normal’ state is one of stress and anxiety. If it is, you need to decide if a shorter life span (which is ultimately what extreme, constant stress results in), is worth it.

 


Michelle Grice writes a weekly column for business women in The Western Weekender

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Crash and Burn

When was the last time you took a break from your business - a break longer than two days? For many business owners, the answer is often at least one year ago, and for too many, the last ‘real’ holiday they had was before they started their business. In an online forum recently, one business owner said ‘but if you are passionate about what you do then it’s not really work anyway’ as a way of explaining why she doesn’t take holidays. I think this business owner is deluding herself. It doesn’t matter how passionate you are, everyone needs a break from the ‘everyday tasks’.

For those of you who do take regular breaks, I’m sure you have noticed that a number of things happen:

  • Problems that seemed insurmountable often seem possible to solve
  • Long term goals and priorities (both business and personal) become clearer
  • Productivity is increased when you return to work
  • Your general outlook and attitude towards your business improves

Women in business are particularly prone to burnout, because we are generally balancing many different roles and multi-tasking. But our brains and bodies need a break. We are not designed to work relentlessly every day of the year.

If your business is set up so that it can’t run without you, then you need to seriously look at ways that it can. A successful long term business is one that CAN continue to run without you, either via outsourcing parts of the business or employing managers. Aside from the need for a break, if your business can’t run without you, then it’s not going to survive in the event of an accident or another emergency that results in you not being able to work.

Start small. Schedule a 2 day break and put things in place so that you are not “checking up” on it. Gradually increase the number of days each time until you are taking at least 2 weeks off at a time. You owe it to yourself, your family and your business.

 


Michelle Grice writes a weekly column for business women in The Western Weekender

 

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Contact Us

Shel Design
PO Box 8142, Glenmore Park NSW 2745
0412 701 147
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Mon-Thurs 9am-4pm
ABN: 88 695 161 542

Contact Us

Shel Design
PO Box 8142
Glenmore Park NSW 2745
0412 701 147
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
ABN: 88 695 161 542

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