Being a business owner is rarely a relaxing adventure. But there’s been more than the average amount of challenges and changes in the past 4 or so years for businesses to contend with.
As the pandemic slowed and the world opened back up, large conflicts, inflation and interest rates have come into play. The knock on effects to the economy and NZ businesses has been significant. There are plenty of business owners who are sailing close to burnout due to the need to constantly adapt, pivot and recover.
All that said, we’re incredibly proud of the New Zealand business community for its ability to keep finding ways to provide services and products to the world despite the headwinds.
As we approach another summer break, the team has reflected on the need for everyone in the business community (and everyone else!) to really protect their leisure time over the break. Simply moving from one year into the next without stepping back will only exacerbate the feelings of low energy, fogginess and burnout.
So let’s explore what recharging might look like for business owners in this article. After all, one of our guiding principles at RightWay is ‘by building a better business, you’ll build a better life’.
Worn down and tired - the challenges of a long year
Around October and November, it’s not uncommon for business owners and anyone in the workforce to encounter some challenges with their work. This could be difficulties with suppliers, customers, team members or even the ability to think clearly in all facets of the business. It’s not exactly a revelation, but the effects of a long hard year on our ability to conduct business effectively is not a myth.
Feeling worn down and tired at the end of the year doesn’t come from one single thing at one point, but rather the culmination of all the year’s challenges throughout. Then consider that most people go through a version of this late into the year, and it starts to become a bit more understandable why there may be more instances of customer complaints, team member disagreements or miscommunications.
Ideally (but often not feasible in reality), you and your people are taking breaks throughout the year to recharge your batteries. We know that for some business owners this simply isn’t an option, so it makes it even more important to have a good long break over the summer holidays.
Rest helps your business (and not just yourself!)
Running on empty is that feeling of having to get the job done without much mental or physical ‘tank’ - and that can lead to mistakes. While nothing is more important than you and your team’s personal wellbeing and health, resting over the summer actually has many positive impacts on the business, too:
- Allows you to come back to the new year fresh and with good mental clarity
- For any physically demanding work, a rest gives your body time to recover
- Allows you and your leaders to lead a team more effectively
- Supports business continuity by helping to reduce the likelihood of burnout or stress related illness
So the next time you feel slightly guilty lying on the beach on a towel with a book, remember it’s for the good of your business!
Changing your environment or routine
Part of really disconnecting from the business as usual mode comes from interrupting the regular daily program. There’s a few ways of doing this.
Going on holiday with your family, friends or on your own is a surefire way to change things up. Exploring new surroundings, keeping different, leisurely hours and enjoying company of loved ones should all take priority over anything work related - outside of an emergency!
If you’re a business owner that works at least in part at home, then getting out of the house becomes even more important over summer. Without realising it, we can start to associate parts of our home with work and fall to the temptation of answering some emails or following up a supplier. While the odd bit of admin isn’t the end of the world (and sometimes just part of a business owner’s life), it's worth staying really conscious of how much time you’re spending on this.
Getting out of the home could mean a day out at the beach, a road trip or even an afternoon shopping with the family. Are you the type of person that finds relaxation in DIY and property chores? No better time than summer to paint that fence or plant those hedges.
Changing up the routine to enable a more restful day might mean getting up later, going for a long walk, or having set times without being connected to the world. Whatever form this takes, moving out of your ‘work week’ BAU schedule can help facilitate much needed recharging.
Quality family and friends time
What better way to recalibrate that focus on the things in life that are most important for many of us - spending time with family and our friends. It’s unlikely they’ll want to be talking about work with you much at all, so you won’t find much trouble being distracted by business talk.
It’s very easy for us to get absorbed by our businesses, especially in recent years with all the challenges the world has faced. Prioritising family and friends time is a brilliant circuit-breaker to this, and can have real benefits going forward for your and your business - perspective being a big one!
Reconnecting with hobbies and activities
Hobbies and pastimes shouldn’t have to wait for the summer holidays, but rather be part of your lifestyle. That’s wishful thinking for many, and we understand that it’s not really possible between work and family to have lots of free time.
Taking some time out not just for family and friends but for the things that recharge your batteries is such a good investment to make in you and your business. You may be a keen golfer, find peace on one end of a fishing line or have several bush walks you’ve been meaning to tackle. Whatever your passion, try to etch out some time in your break to satisfy these.
Step away from the computer
It’s never been easier to stay connected with our business and the world around us. But when we’re run down and need a break, the computer can sometimes mean emails, invoicing and marketing jobs to be done. Over your summer break, make sure to protect your free time by keeping the computer dedicated to a certain time of day for a minimal period of time.
Disconnecting is part of recharging. We’re not suggesting you go completely dark if that’s not what you want or can do, but simply staying mindful of how much time is spent on work when recharging is your main goal.
Reflect on the year that was
As you near the end of your summer break, the business owner itch might come in to start working on initiatives for the new year. But before you do that, do some reflection on the past year. You can do this with a notebook and pen or even on a note on your phone. Here you want to capture wins, losses, challenges, progress, and existing opportunities that the past year has brought. This will help both celebrate what’s been achieved and identify some seeds of what the new year’s plan might involve.
Consider what you’d like to get from next year
You may have found that the best business ideas come when you least expect them - in the shower, mowing the lawns or dropping the kids off to school. The summer holiday is like an extended opportunity for those ideas to pop into your head. As your head clears and you regain your energy and enthusiasm, it’s a great time to start jotting down business objectives for the new year.
Don’t worry about capturing these in any formal or pretty way - bullet points on a note is more than adequate for now. When you return to work properly, you might find you’ve not only identified what’s important to the business, but ideas on how you can work towards these new goals will likely have started materialising.
If you find that rest helps make you more effective and creative in your business, remember that with the right planning you can take breaks over the year that will help this happen more regularly. While summer holidays in New Zealand are unique in that most of us are in holiday mode, holidays or time off over the year are worth it for the good of your business and for you as an owner.
Can your business benefit from outsourcing certain functions?
If you’re feeling pulled in a hundred different directions as a business owner, you might want to consider moving certain functions like bookkeeping, payroll and accounting to a professional, experienced partner like RightWay. Our team plugs in to your business and helps to ensure that staff get paid on time, financial reporting is kept up to date and your tax obligations are met. If those things are tiring out you or your team, we’d love to hear from you.
Give us a call on 0800 555 024 or fill out our contact form so we can get back to you ASAP.