Episode 280: Show Notes
Welcome back to another episode of the Strategy Hour Podcast. Today we are diving into why we take every December off. Now the truth is, we love you all, but we are tired! Our brains hurt, our throats hurt, and it’s time to take some time away. Life can get incredibly busy, especially around the holiday season, and sometimes that can be just too much to handle on top of running a business full-time. We all know that as Murphy’s Law would have it, everything happens all at once; business picks up, family events are scheduled, big life changes happen, you name it!
So inside this episode we are diving into exactly why we have adopted this strategy of taking the month of December off, and what it has done for our business and our personal lives. We also dig into exactly how we manage to prepare and plan ahead with our team to be able to pull it off. Finally, we share all the juicy details to help you do it too. That’s right, you can do it too! Just take what you learn here from us today, see how you can apply it directly to your business, and jump on the magical train to free Decembers!
A Little History on the Month of December
Our first two years in business, we certainly did not take Decembers off. For most business owners, January to May are generally pretty slow. Business usually starts to pick up around June/July and then quarter four can be like absolute gangbusters! Everything happens! People come out of the woodwork to be interested in your stuff, buy your stuff, sign up for your stuff, and do all of these things. Now, this is absolutely great for your business. However, this is also around the time when two major US holidays occur (three if you count Halloween!). It’s basically like taking the busiest time of the year and adding it all in! It’s just SO extra. It feels like every big life thing also happens to go down at the end of the quarter. Looking back, Abbie had her really big accident in quarter four two years ago, and Emylee and her husband got placed for adoption at the same time. So to prevent a repeat of all things crazy, we try to take advantage of October and November as much as we can so that we can take off the entire month of December to focus on family events and the likes!
The Cost of Multitasking; Choosing to Recharge Instead
The temptation to multitask is ever present, especially around the holiday season. You are constantly being distracted, context switching and jumping from answering emails, to calls with clients, and whatever else is on your plate for the holidays. Contrary to popular belief, by switching from task to task, we aren’t really getting more done. We are simply training our brains to constantly be switch gears, working harder but doing things at a much lower level of quality. You are losing so many productivity hours, and they are just flying out the window. For us, getting quality work done during December is simply not a realistic goal. On the other side, what we really want to do is just cuddle up, watch movies, wrap presents, and bake cookies. That recharges you to hit the ground running as soon as January comes. Taking December off brings such a new energy to our business that it’s a non-negotiable now.
Why Our Business Had to Shift
Two years ago we went through a really crazy season. We were getting ready for Penny to arrive, Abbie was in her accident, and we saw our business nearly fall on it’s tush. It was literally dangling on the edge like a feather. One small sniff and it would’ve been gone! Now we know you guys didn’t feel it the way that we felt it, but we had some risky business happening and so we had to make some changes. This year was hard to make the transition, but we had to make the shift in order to protect ourselves so that if we are down and out in the future, our business won’t just fall apart. So now we dedicate an entire week in November to doing a lot of inside business work that’s going to set up our business even better and stronger to withstand the storms that life throws at us. We have done a lot of work this year on the selling side to have the cash-flow, and now we are focused on the inside logistics with our team to get that up to snuff as well! We’ll definitely get into more of that in future episodes, to stay tuned.
Preparing Your Business for Time Off
You should be aware that taking off all of December cannot be supported by some businesses. In fact, the first time we did it, our business probably did not support it either, but we did it anyways — and it worked! Nothing really broke. We just knew that our sanity needed it, and guess what? We still had a business, come January. So we just encourage everyone that if this is something that is resonating with you, we will be the first in line to always tell you that you can have a super freakin’ profitable business and take many, many weeks off! If you just want to start with taking December off, try that on for size and see what happens. This will help you to discover how to better plan for the new year and what your business needs to have in place for you to successfully take the time off. And maybe you take a slight hit the first time. But your conscience, your soul, and your creative spirit won’t take a hit, and that is more important in the long run. For product based businesses the key is to communicate clearly with your customers so that they aren’t surprised by the time you take off. It is your duty to prepare them so that they have what they need so that you can take time off. And if you can only take two weeks, that is totally fine! So set your auto-responder, do what you need to do, and make that happen for your business.
A Little History on the Month of December. [0:03:21.1]
The Cost of Multitasking; Choosing to Recharge Instead. [0:06:56.1]
Why Our Business Had to Shift. [0:09:37.1]
Preparing Your Business for Time Off. [0:16:07.1]