If you are a PC person you know the command well… CTRL+ALT+DEL. Apple person; then you’re familiar with right click+FORCE QUIT. Those two commands seem to cure a lot of problems. Computer sluggish? Reboot! Computer stopped working? Reboot! Blue Screen of Death (BSOD)? Reboot! Spinning wheel? Reboot! They’ve said that the human brain is the one of the most complex computers in the world, so doesn’t it make sense that we have a reboot?
And that is exactly what will be happening to this column for the next two weeks. As has become tradition at TRO, we all take time to reboot around the New Year and I will return on January 7th refreshed, relaxed, and raring to take on 2019. And I encourage all of you to do the same in some way.
As business owners, most of us do not get to take the time off like a traditional career. Sure we do get to travel, but rarely is that a vacation—despite what our clients all think. When was the last time you took a week or two off and left email and voicemail behind? For me, I don’t remember. And likely I will not be doing that anytime soon. So I do embrace the natural slower times to scale back and try to cut those cords to the office. If you have not done it, you will be amazed at the fresh perspective you will have when you return. So, how do you do it?
Everyone can do it in different ways; but this is what works for me. Thanksgiving through New Years is a slow time for me. People are not thinking of traveling anywhere other than to a relative’s for a holiday. They are stressed about gifts and celebrations and not thinking about me. So I scale back my available hours. At Thanksgiving, I let all my clients know that I will not be available after Noon until January 2nd. I begin my day with a walk (6 miles 5 days a week) to start each day fresh, and then I work from 9am to 12pm*. Notice the asterisk? In reality, I work until 3pm as I am cramming in 8+ hours into 3, but I stop dealing with emails and phone calls and texts at noon. (Pro tip: assign friends and family a unique ring/text tone so you know who is beeping at you) This gives me time to work on projects uninterrupted. I may refine my marketing plan. I might revise a spreadsheet I use all the time to have more information. Clean up my client database. Schedule some broadcast emails for the holidays in 2019–remember to touch your clients throughout the year. Throw out all the 2017 and older brochures and collateral—trust me you don’t need them. Take the dog for a longer walk. Shop for holiday gifts. Read a book. Binge the last season of House of Cards on Netflix. Take a long lunch with my girlfriend. You get the idea.
And by the second or third week of December, I am sitting pretty for 2019 and the new stuff coming across my desk is very limited. Fewer emails. Fewer pieces of mail. Fewer phone calls. And with business relatively caught up, I can take that time for myself. A weekend trip is not a problem—leave at noon on Friday! A daytrip to a favorite town for lunch—not a problem. Spending the day in DC with my kids—piece of cake.
And in the end—well, in January, I will return to my office full-time and pretty much refreshed and recharged. My mind will be clear. I will have some fresh new ideas that I picked up somewhere along the way—I just need to remember to check my Evernote app to make sure I wrote them down. And I ready to take on that bull of 2019 by the horns.
My system will not work for everyone. But I do encourage you to find time to take a break. It will work wonders for you!
And to those who celebrated Hanukkah…. Chag Urim Sameach! To those celebrating Christmas… Merry Christmas. To those celebrating Kwanzaa… Happy Kwanzaa. And to all… A Very Happy New Year!
I’ll see you next year….that dad joke NEVER gets old!