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Ask the Entrepreneurs: 8 Things Founders Should Take Care of Before Shutting Down for the Holidays

Ask the Entrepreneurs: 8 Things Founders Should Take Care of Before Shutting Down for the Holidays

Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

What is one thing entrepreneurs forget to automate, systemize, or build processes around before they shut down for holidays?

1. Finances

Kelly Azevedo

    Before you take off, ensure that the finances of your business are handled, including paying employees, accepting automated payments from clients, handing pay failures and paying your own invoices. By automating, you won’t return to an empty bank account and overdue bills.
    Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems

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    2. Time Management

    Grant Gordon

      Entrepreneurs and business owners don’t plan on not being busy. Holidays are meant for friends and family, and although we need to see business boom, you can still plan to focus on your social time without the distractions of a phone, tablet or laptop. Plan your days to be carefree, and “budget” time to check in with work — not the other way around.
      Grant Gordon, Solomon Consulting Group

      3. Social Media Posts

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      Ronnie Castro

        Using a message scheduling tool such as HootSuite is great for planning tweets and other social media posts to hit over the holidays, so you don’t have to. You can rest easy knowing that your followers will automatically continue to get consistent updates and messages from your company during your down time.
        Ronnie Castro, Porch

        4. Holiday Shipping and Returns

        Brett Farmiloe

          Clearly communicating holiday shipping and return information before shutting down is crucial to customer conversions and satisfaction. You can do this in several ways. Your can use language such as, “final day to order to receive by Christmas” on product descriptions and shipping pages. You can also set up an email autoresponder for the emails typically associated with customer questions.
          Brett Farmiloe, Internet Marketing Company

          5. Customer Support

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          Thursday-Bram 2

            You can’t assume that your customers aren’t working just because you’ve taken off for the holidays. You can’t even assume that your customers celebrate the same holidays that you do. So make sure your customers can at least get a basic level of assistance while you’re away. Even writing up fixes for the most common problems they might encounter is a step in the right direction.
            Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

            6. Proper Notifications

            Andy Karuza

              Make sure you clearly communicate to people that you’ll be out of office, whether it’s through an email autoresponder or a message you post on your Facebook page. As long as you take the due diligence to announce your impending shut down, your customers and partners will be mostly satisfied with their inability to reach you.
              Andy Karuza, Brandbuddee

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              7. Signed Contracts

              russ oja

                Many companies have a new budget starting in January of each year, which means you should be rather proactive with closing deals in November and December before everybody leaves the office and comes back at the start of the year. Proactive sales in the last few months of the year will help you launch big at the start of the new year.
                Russ Oja, Seattle Windows and Construction, LLC

                8. Team Vacation Tracking

                Nanxi Liu

                  Because our teammates have different dates they are taking off during the holidays, we wanted to be respectful of everyone’s days off. So, we had everyone update the company calendar with the dates they will be available and unavailable during the holidays.
                  Nanxi Liu, Enplug

                  More by this author

                  9 No-Brainer Ways to Track Employee Time Ask the Entrepreneurs: 12 Things Entrepreneurs Should Stop Doing Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Best Note Taking Tools Ask the Entrepreneurs: 12 Tips for Mastering Public Speaking Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Tasks You Should be Outsourcing

                  Trending in Productivity

                  1 How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive 2 How to Be A Genuine Expert in Your Field 3 How to Get Unstuck and Get Back On Track to Achieving Your Goals 4 What to Do When Bored at Work (And the Reason Why You Feel Bored) 5 10 Things High Achievers Do Differently to Attain Greatness

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                  Last Updated on September 17, 2018

                  How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

                  How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

                  Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

                  Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

                  All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

                  Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

                  How bad really is multitasking?

                  It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

                  Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

                  This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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                  We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

                  So what to do about it?

                  Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

                  Now, forget about how to multitask!

                  Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

                  1. Get enough rest

                  When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

                  This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

                  When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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                  2. Plan your day

                  When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

                  When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

                  Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

                  3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

                  I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

                  I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

                  Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

                  4. When at your desk, do work

                  We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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                  Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

                  5. Learn to say no

                  Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

                  Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

                  By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

                  6. Turn off notifications on your computer

                  For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

                  Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

                  7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

                  Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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                  You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

                  The bottom line

                  Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

                  Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

                  Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

                  Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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