Are you experiencing overwhelm for the month ahead, knowing something good is coming but because of your business how are you going to enjoy it?

This feeling was something I lived with all too often, owning two bakeries meant that every Christmas or Easter we had to produce, package, and sell more than every other day of the year. We needed extra staff to get through this period and lived with the fear of getting anything wrong and upsetting our customers.

The extra sales are great, but they do not come without a price to our health and balance of life.
Ten years ago, my husband decided to take me away before the busy period, to see if it would help my stress levels leading into this time. We took away work just in case we felt we had time to do any to relieve the pressure upon returning and what we discovered was remarkable, this has now changed how I approach and feel about the lead up to this time of year.

It was simple, we did our whole plan for Christmas whilst we were away, every single bit, right down to purchasing our children’s Christmas presents online.

So here are my steps:

Step 1. Book a week away with your partner or even a couple of days prior to the busy period.
Step 2. If you have children, ask a close friend or family member to look after them whilst you are away.
Step 3. Advise staff in advance to give you their availability for the period and to put in any requests they may have for time off.
Step 4. Gather all your information, last years figures, orders, rosters anything at all that relates to that period, this will make your planning easier.
Step 5. Tell your staff you are incognito for that period, have someone at work take care of any day-to-day issues as they arise.
Step 6. Take all your necessary electronics, laptop, chargers, headphones, mini printer, pens, paper, anything at all that you may need to complete your work.
Step 7. Plan out your all your jobs you must complete, and do not leave anything out. For example: Rosters, orders, staff duties for the busy days, extra change in your float if required, extra packaging, products, plan how you will set up your store for the lead up and any special plans for the actual BIG day.
Step 8. Write your Christmas gift list, as well as adding gift ideas for each person. Purchase items online you can, plan your actual Christmas day, sending texts if you are inviting people to your house, do your meal plan, we even do food shopping online for the day, so we do not have to worry about it again.
During this time, we are able to have time together, which often seemed hard to get having a young family and running your business.

We would start our days with a long breakfast, work during the day in our holiday apartment and every night we would eat dinner at a different place. This has eliminated all the previous stress those days had stowed upon me.

Good luck with your Christmas planning.