After working hard all year, a build-up of stress might be starting to take a toll on your work. This is the time of year that most business owners begin to feel burnt out and in need of fresh perspective and motivation. The good news is that summer is the perfect time to take back your schedule and refocus on your business goals. The trick to making your summer holidays work for you is to step away for a break, but come back prepared, and with a strong direction and renewed vision for your business.
When I was starting out in my business, summer was a time when my clients were away on their holidays, and I looked forward to taking a much-needed break while they were absent. The problem was, I pulled back too hard during my holidays and lost my momentum. Instead of using that time to recharge before the cooler months, I came back after summer still feeling overwhelmed, instead of re-energized and refocused.
Since then, I’ve learned how to make the most of the summer holidays by preparing to come back with the right mindset. So, before you head off on that refreshing break this summer, take some time to think about what you want to accomplish when you return, and how you’ll spend your time building on your business goals.
Fall into these five simple habits to refocus your business goals after holidays, and you’ll see a big difference in your fall business growth.
1. Review your business plan
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There’s no better time than when you’re feeling refreshed from a vacation to look over your business plan and make sure you’re still on track. Are you following your business plan? Or does it need some adjustments to be more effective? Review your goals and strategies, and see where you’re coming up short. Then find ways to fill those gaps.
Next, pinpoint your medium-term goals, and set new ones. Do this by writing down the top 5 goals you want to accomplish before the end of your third quarter. Make sure the goals are realistic, and most importantly, lay out a detailed plan for how you are going to achieve them.
2. Return earlier than planned
Returning to work after a vacation or trip can be stressful, particularly if you have to jump straight back into work. Easing back into life and work is made much simpler when you have time to set yourself up for success.
If you’re returning from vacation on a Sunday, plan to come back on Saturday instead. This will give you enough time to unpack, get groceries, and catch up on emails and calls before you get back to the office. This way, when you return to work on Monday, you’ll feel less stressed. Another great way to take off some pressure is to prepare a “return” checklist before you leave on vacation. Knowing what you can expect upon your return in advance will direct your efforts, and let you schedule your time appropriately.
3. Don’t overload yourself right away
There will undoubtedly be a long to-do list on your return. Playing catch-up is to be expected after taking a holiday, but frantically working through your list of tasks isn’t going to help you readjust, and it could potentially undo the “reset” you’ve just gotten on vacation.
Give yourself a day to refocus, create a plan of attack, and set out your priorities for the week ahead. Block this time off on your calendar so you stick to it, and let your clients know that you’ll be getting back to them about their most pressing matters shortly. A smooth transition means that once you get to those tasks, you’ll have better results and an easier time achieving them. Plus, you’ll feel more organized and confident with a plan of attack under your belt.
4. Focus completely on one task at a time
A strong strategy requires focus. When you come back to a long to-do list, you might find yourself trying to get everything done at once. Multitasking means dividing your attention, and divided attention means you’re sacrificing quality of work. Once you’ve set up your plan of attack, work through each item individually, giving yourself time to commit to it fully. Step away from all other distractions, physically and mentally. Turn off your notifications, and set a timer so you can spend the right amount of time on one thing at a time. If your business uses social media, you might want to strategize on how to regain traction. Instead of trying to jam that in between calls and emails, set aside a full hour or two to get it done, and check it off completely.
5. Minority vs. priority
It’s tempting to deal with time-sensitive tasks first when you arrive back to work, but you also need to make sure you’re handling your forward-thinking tasks. Categorize each task on your list as “urgent” (i.e. immediate), or “important” (i.e. forward-thinking). Tasks, like responding to emails, or dealing with a team or client crisis, are examples of “urgent” tasks that can be left aside for one more day.
This is a time to step back and spend more time on important tasks like long-term planning: For example, preparing next year’s budget. It can be difficult to step away from urgent tasks because they impart a sense of immediacy, but if you don’t spend this time taking care of those long-avoided important tasks, they won’t be completed, or they’ll end up being completed in a rush.
Above all, remember to take the time to think your tasks through with a clear and level head, and without rushing. There’s almost nothing that can’t wait one extra business day to be completed. Instead, refocus, strategize, and use this time to set your business up for success.
What are some of the strategies you use to refocus after the summer holidays? Which goals are you hoping to tackle this quarter, and how will you tackle them?
If you need help establishing a sense of direction and regaining traction in your business after summer holidays, take advantage of a free assessment call with me! We can talk about your goals, readjust your business plan, and discuss where your focus will be best served.