If you're working full time for an employer and thinking about, or have just started a business, or are already in business, you know that holidays do not signal a day off. Holidays signal the day when you can finally work on your business, get some things organized and try to gain some traction.
I have spent more holidays working over the past four years than I care to count. In some ways, holidays are the perfect work day: everyone else has off, so if you have kids, it's likely your spouse or other family members are home; no one is emailing you; your employer doesn't expect you to check in; you can't go anywhere anyway because everything is closed; and if you're a full-time salaried employee, you're likely getting paid! The downside: it's a holiday and you should probably spend some time with your family.
This year, I have finally learned to let go and delegate some tasks to others in my business. It's hard, but it has made me more organized and efficient. Aside from a day earlier this year when I was really sick, I am not sure that there's been a full day where I haven't done at least some work in over a year. I have small kids, a husband and two geriatric dogs and realized that's kind of sad. If you own a business, you know there's that constant feeling of "go go go, don't let 'em catch you" in the background. As if taking a single day off will undo the years of hard work you've spent building your business.
So, this Thanksgiving, while it might be the most perfect opportunity to get work done, I vow to not do any work. None. No checking work email, not researching my next great marketing project, nothing. I will try to not even read any business books or articles, but that's a little too outside my comfort zone. Baby steps. By spring, I'm hoping I can take a real vacation and not even check my phone while I'm away (!).
Sarah E. Holmes is a Philadelphia business attorney and strategist that helps start ups and established businesses looking to expand, protect their assets and increase their profits in an approachable, down-to-earth way.