Note from Cathy: Many of us have free time right after the holiday, and without business demands on us it is easy to fritter it away. Like Robert, I find that there is much that can be accomplished without the demands of my normal work schedule, the telephone ringing, etc. Use this time wisely to get a jump on your next book, marketing plans for the new year, or projects you have been putting off because you couldn’t find the time. The time is here. Now. Use it! And have a very happy new year!
The week between Christmas and New Year’s can be a virtual dead zone.
I can’t tell you how many of these weeks I’ve puttered around my office, “trying” to do something but never getting far. I’m not meeting with clients and no big deadlines are looming, so it’s easy to end up browsing the web for hours, or playing the latest computer game.
After New Year’s Day you don’t feel either relaxed or fulfilled because you’ve accomplished nothing worthwhile.
So what are the alternatives?
1. Really relax and take a vacation. Sleep in late, eat at your favorite restaurants, get together with family and friends. And don’t think about work for one minute. Don’t even check your emails, and remember to ditch your smart phone.
This is what a vacation is for – to vacate! And you’ll return to work more energized and excited about the New Year than ever before.
2. Do just the opposite. Work on a huge project just by yourself and accomplish more in a week than you’d accomplish in a month. You might be working at your computer, but check your email and voice mail minimally and focus on four to six hours of solid work every single day. (Yes, you can do a little Holiday stuff in the evenings.)
What could you accomplish in this time? Here are a few:
a) Completely rewrite your website from beginning to end. You know it needs it anyway, and you keep telling yourself that you’ll do it when you have the time. Well, here’s the time.
b) Reorganize your office from top to bottom. Throw out a ton of stuff, paint, organize and trim down your paper and computer files. There’s nothing like getting the year started with a totally functional office where you can find anything you need in less than 10 seconds.
c) Do a planning retreat, perhaps with a close business associate. Brainstorm, develop big goals, write plans. And then challenge each other to think outside your respective boxes. Every evening make sure to go out or have a nice dinner and keep the conversation going more informally.
d) Write a book. As I told you last week, that’s what I’m doing this year. Yeah, it’s taking a little longer than a week, but it’s only taking about three weeks total. I got started before Christmas, even when I was meeting with clients, and then cleared my schedule for ten days to write a chapter a day.
You know what? I’ve done all of these. And I’ve also spent Christmas with my family and done no work at all. It’s your choice.
But please don’t putter your Holidays away. You’ll never get that time back.
By Robert Middleton of Action Plan Marketing. Please visit Robert’s web site at www.actionplan.com for additional marketing articles and resources on marketing for professional service businesses.