Christmas, a time for joy, laughter, giving, receiving, family, food and fun! Or for business owners, a completely manic period of trying to maximise our time in order to get everything ready for the festive season ...
How great will it feel when your to-do list is empty and you can relax this Christmas?
Preparation really is key in these crucial weeks leading up to Christmas, both in your business and in your personal life (unless you're a last minute Christmas Eve shopper like Jacqui's husband Ian!) Just look at those businesses that start their Christmas preparations in the summer.
"I kid you not that I saw a Christmas tree up in a pub back in September!"
So how do businesses prepare for Christmas? What are the best ways to ensure you can have a relaxing, stress free Christmas without having the constant worry that your business is going to suffer?
Luckily for you, we're giving you an early Christmas present - our 5 Top Tips for creating more time over Christmas. Even if you feel like it is years away, I promise you that the sooner you start preparing, the more you'll be able to switch off and enjoy the festive fun.
So get ready to unwrap the goods:
Delegating tasks to other team members can work wonders for freeing up your time, giving you the chance to get other things done. Those smaller tasks that you like to do yourself, but that can be delegated to your employees, could make a massive difference in getting to the end of your 2015 to do list.
If you're a sole trader, you're going to struggle to delegate tasks to others, but perhaps consider using a Virtual Assistant to take some of the workload off your shoulders?
Prioritise Your Tasks
I understand that to a business owner, every single intricate movement within the business is of the utmost importance. Categorising them into high, medium and low priority isn't easy, but it's a much more structured way of ensuring that the most important tasks get finished first.
I do hope you make it into 2016 with a clear to-do list, a set of goals and a fresh mind, but a few smaller tasks that need to be left over and completed after the Christmas fun isn't going to bankrupt you, but leaving a bigger job until next year just might.
Manage Your Time
Easier said than done I know, trust me – I'm one of the world's worst procrastinators. I can spend hours and hours flicking through Facebook and Twitter, telling myself that I'm doing business research when really I'm just time wasting – we've all done it.
But staying focused and avoiding distractions can make you so much more productive, so turn off your technology. What I tend to do is use the Genies as our clients do, by letting them take messages for me and allowing myself an allotted time to return the calls.
Find Your Ideal Working Environment
People work in different ways – some like to be sat in a coffee shop with a steaming hot Vanilla Latte and a croissant, others like to be locked away in their office as far from other people as possible. Everyone's different, I find that laying on the floor surrounded by books, papers and my iPod works for me, but I wouldn't recommend it to everyone.
If you work in a busy office or can't get peace and quiet at home because of the kids, you could consider hiring out a low-cost meeting venue for a couple of days a month just to do those tasks that need your undivided attention. Our meeting room at Genie Towers offers a quiet workspace that can be used for all kinds of different reasons.
All work and no fun is exactly that – no fun - and not enjoying yourself every once in a while isn't healthy for anyone. Your work will suffer and thus your business will suffer. I understand that we all panic in the lead up to Christmas that there is just never enough time, but it's more about how we use that time.
If you constantly feel snowed-under and panicked, nothing will get done to the best of your ability, so it's important to have that down-time when you can relax, unwind and focus on yourself rather than your business. Besides, I bet you already have a stack of invites to all sorts of different Christmas events!
I do hope that my top tips inspire you to get started with preparing your business for Christmas soon. Make the most of your time off with your loved ones this Christmas, it's not something you get to do every day, but by putting the work in now, you really can have yourself a merry little Christmas.
I recently graduated from Leeds Beckett University with a degree in Sports Marketing. Throughout my studies, I worked as a part-time waitress at Pizza Hut before graduating and starting my role as Marketing Genie here at The Office Genie.
Entering and adapting to the full-time working world has allowed me to learn so much, overcome all sorts of new challenges and do things I never thought I could do. Working in marketing ensures there is never a dull day as one minute I might be organising an event and the next I could be out networking with potential clients.
Outside of work my main passion is football. I have played since the age of 11 and am currently a goalkeeper for a local team. I also love spending time with my friends and family, going on holiday and seeing theatre shows and concerts.
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