Both mine and my husbands work patterns were still running in 5th gear right up to the festive period. While husband was due to slow right down in advance of 23rd December, it didn't really work out that way. I was disappointed for him, because his job is physically demanding. It didn't stop there as during the few days he did have off, client visits were scheduled in and then Monday 2nd January 2017 back into 4th gear.
For me, I knew my immune system would take a dive the minute I took my foot off the work accelerator.... I secretly enjoy the non stopness of life. So when things did slow down, illness was lurking, waiting to attack at the first opportunity. So I was kind of forced to step right away from the pc and swap a keyboard for the remote control and a baking tin. Grief also found its way to the surface too. Having lost a beloved grandparent in the summer, life had a way of layering over. When the stop button was pressed, that grief had to be dealt with. I am grateful to have shared 25th December and New Year Eve with my parents, to be able to raise a toast, say goodbye to the sad things of 2016 and welcome in 2017 with a smile.
We didn't make resolutions even if we had time for them. I do think they are over rated. We know that what we need to do more of in 2017, one being not to work in 5th gear 365 days of the year. In the words of a 14 year old French boy who told us over the festive period, that we English always seem to be hurrying here and there and that we need to relax more. Wise words we thinks.
One thing I do like to do before the end of each year is for us to review our businesses. Are the finances supporting what we are doing? We own a house now and are now care takers of the bricks and mortar that we live in. What does local and European politics mean for us in 2017? How can we prepare for that? Are our customers still liking us? Our individual reviews came to similar conclusions, we worked too hard, didn't work enough on our house and didn't take enough time out to recharge batteries regularly enough. 2017 will be about working a lot smarter not harder.
I feel sure that many other self employeds will agree, there is more to being self employed than just doing the day job. For trades like my husband, who during the summer came home physically beat, energy evaporating instantaneously, go to see clients, then spend time preparing the devis, research for the right products and prices. Equally there were times when the pressure was less but when you look back over the previous 365 days, it wasn't too dissimilar from the previous year. Only we can change the pattern if 2017 is to be different.
We need to be mindful of our own flow, loosen up a bit, share our energies equally across work, our home and ourselves. We've identified these as being important to where we want to be. We never imagined home restoration would be so demanding, often wondering how others do it. We are mindful that our home needs our attention, it needs our focus and commitment and that is what we have signed up to do. We don't want to be looking at our home in a few years time thinking we bit off more than we could chew. Equally we are responsible and committed to customers, they too have their own unique demands that need to be managed professionally. Preferring to put the needs of the customer first, it doesn't feel right taking time out to work on your own home, when a client is waiting excitedly to move on in theirs. Don't get me wrong, we achieved a lot with our house in 2016, but then activity petered out as the client calendar overtook. Working smarter not harder will help fend off feelings of guilt in 2017.
With a whole year ahead of us, we have a clear idea of what we want our business landscapes to look like and we will be adopting the new mantra thanks to a 14 year old French boy... relax!