Will you be attached to your phone on Christmas Day?

Business owners, will you be keeping one eye on your e-mails on Christmas Day? According to recent research 1 in 5 of us will be. I can picture it now, a sneaky look at your phone secreted under your Christmas napkin and then all hell breaking loose when you’re spotted!

These stats make for interesting reading:

  • 75% of UK small business owners will work to some degree during the entire festive season
  • A mere 12% of small business owners expect to switch off for the whole of the Christmas period
  • Around 60%  working on Christmas Day will work more than six hours, with 18% working more than ten
  • Over 60% who do take Christmas Day off will be straight back on Boxing Day

You could expect these figures for Christmas Day if they were coming from the hospitality industry, and of course retail returns with a bang again with Boxing Day sales, but these are across a wide range of SMEs. So what about other owners? Some will take the ‘down’ time to catch up on paperwork, some to think about the coming year and some may just want the excuse to escape from relatives.

For many though it’s the pressure of having to keep up with work. The ‘one man band’ may not have a choice. Larger businesses work over the festive period perhaps because the owners don’t trust their team and manager(s) to run things without them. It’s said to be the reason why so many businesses in the UK remain in ‘startup’ mode instead of scale-up.

So if you have a team but you still need to supervise and double check their every move, take a moment to think about ‘why?’ And then, what better time with the New Year approaching to think about what you’ll do to change things.

Michael Gerber says in the E-Myth,

If your business depends on you, then you don’t own a business, you have a job, and it’s the worst job in the world, because you’re working for a lunatic!’’

He’s right, because quite often, as business owners, we are lunatics. We’re control freaks. We’re demanding. Demanding of ourselves. We insist on long hours and hard work, and really, that’s the technician, in us, the person who feels that they have to do everything.

Serious business owners and entrepreneurs can take time off whenever they want and their income still comes in. They have two fundamental things:

  • They have systems
  • They have good people to run those systems.

I’ll be taking a full two weeks off this festive season. I’m not saying this smugly, I’m saying it because it actually took me a while to get to this point.

To get to the point where I don’t feel guilty to get to the point where I can trust my team to do what needs to be done, where I have that level of trust. And to plan work so that I can also give my team a good break.

The trust that allowed me a totally switched off three weeks last Summer has come from having the strong systems in place that I need, having the team in place to get on and follow the systems, and achieve our goals.  We business owners talk endlessly about how to engage and reward people and what better way than enabling them to get on unhindered by our daily meddling. Ask yourself how you would like to work for someone constantly looking over your shoulder and that’s how your team will feel. Simple, logical, repeatable systems, and a good team to run them, are the root to stress-free holidays, to long weekends off, to any weekend off, and to financial and time freedom.

Holidays, for me, are absolutely vital for continuing to do good work for my clients, continuing to come up with new ideas, or better ways of doing things. That all just comes out of resting my brain, stopping the relentless running and rushing around to see clients, or to develop and deliver programmes. It’s really, really important that you take that time to rest and relax, and you can only do that, as a business owner, if you have the systems in place, if you have the team in place.

I’d love you to think about that, if you recognise yourself here.

Simple, logical, repeatable systems, and a good team to run them.

Do one thing: Let this be your goal for 2019.

•        you will not be working bank holidays

•        you will not be working weekends

•        you won’t be working 60 or 70+ hour weeks

Instead, you’ll be spending quality time with the people that you love, with your animals or whatever you love doing beyond your work.

Merry Christmas from all of the MPL team x


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Marianne Page

Marianne is the author of three books, and is currently working on her fourth, whilst regularly writing her blog, we hope you enjoy it :-)


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