While most people look forward to a Christmas break, many business owners find it difficult to resist working through the festive season – but a business expert warns this can be a huge disadvantage for you and your company.

Performance coach Mike Irving said it can be easy for owners of small to medium sized enterprises (SME’s) to make the choice to work through most of the holidays and not take a break.

“Whether it’s because they don’t want to miss out on sales and profits, or because they were building up a momentum and don’t want to lose it, all too often business owners don’t take time away from their business,” said Mr Irving.

“There are well documented benefits to taking time off – including improved relationships with family and those closest to you, as well as decreased stress levels,” he said.

“What I want to talk about is a completely separate, and incredibly important benefit to taking time off as a business owner.”

“In my observation, a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners get so busy with work that they find themselves reacting to the events of their day.”

“Emails are flooding in, they’re getting phone calls, putting out fires left and right, and at the end of the day they’ve not taken care of half the things they set out to.”

“If they’re reacting to what happens in their day, that means there’s very little intention in what they’re doing; the seemingly random events of the day dictate their schedule instead of the other way around.”

“Stepping away from that can support you to take a position of observation of your business; if it becomes clear to you that you’re not in control and rather you’re reacting to things as they happen, you can choose change that.”

Mr Irving had the following tips to disconnect from your business for a little while over the holidays:

  • Limit phone/email use: Especially around the holidays it’s important to give your attention to loved ones. Make sure they know that they’re important to you; more important than your business.
  • Make time for hobbies: It’s not necessary to take an entire week off but just dedicating a few days to a hobby can be helpful in re-energising you. This could be hiking, dirt bike riding, sailing, whatever it is you love to do, make time to do it. It will remind you that your business is there to support your life, not the other way around.
  • Have alone time: While it’s important to spend time with those we love, it’s also important to make sure you have adequate time to yourself. Rest, relax, and recharge your batteries. Your family and your business will likely thank you for it.
  • Take a vacation: Stepping away from your business even for just a few days can be very beneficial.  But taking a full blown vacation – hopping on a plane and heading somewhere completely different, is a great way to hit the reset button. Enjoy yourself, and when you come back set a clear intention for where you want your business to go.

“Taking a break will allow you to come back and look at things with fresh eyes. You can reaffirm what your intentions are, and get to work on them.”

“You’ll likely feel energized and more able to respond, instead of react, to what’s going on in your business and life.”

Mr. Irving says that he does practice this himself; he regularly takes time away to spend with his wife, or out on dirt bikes with mates, or traveling the world.

“It’s not necessary to take a month off at time. If you can – great! What I’m saying is that it’s important to dedicate some of your time for enjoyment.”

“The number of business owners who are rundown and drained because they never take a break is astounding.”

“Business ownership is hard work, and it takes dedication and putting in long hours. You can still do that, while intentionally setting aside time to spend on with family, friends, or on a vacation.”

To learn more about ways you can improve the success and productivity of your business, you can check out Mike’s website at www.advancedbusinessabilities.com. There are plenty of free resources available that are designed to support business owners.