There are many people interested in (1) staying in their homes as they age and (2) doing something to their homes to help ensure that their homes can support their activities. This means that all of us – contractors, architects, designers, occupational and physical therapists, consultants, case managers, trade contractors, equipment specialists, assistive technology professionals, lighting consultants, acoustic engineers, handymen, and others who are actively involved in creating improvements and renovations for people – are going to be even busier as we finish out the year and get ready for 2019.
As we begin planning for how we want to approach the new year – by doing more of the same we have done this year if that has worked reasonably well for us, by expanding our business, by narrowing the focus and scope of our business to serve more people in a very specific way, or by regenerating or rebranding ourselves with new products or services – this time of year gives us a needed boost.
The days – as of today – are shorter in terms of daylight hours and the amount of work that can be done outside. However, we are coming into the sweet spot of the holiday season. We have Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day, plus any related days that people take off or schedule less than a full day of activity. Our clients may celebrate other special days between now and the end of the year as well.
Beginning today, most of us got a needed break for relaxation, recharging of batteries, planning time, or personal activities. In fact, we may have received two of them. Today is Sunday, and many people traditionally don’t work on Sundays. Our clients like that time to themselves also unless it is a rush project or an emergency. Today also was when we rolled our clocks back an hour (except for those in Arizona or Hawaii), so we had an extra hour to rest, watch TV, door household chores, or add it to our planning time. While an hour is not a huge amount of time, it came at an opportune moment for us as we get ready for the balance of the year and the launch of the new year.
We need to find some time to reflect on where we have been this year and make plans for next year. Our businesses don’t just happen or run themselves It takes careful planning to decide on what services or products to offer, how and where we want to offer our business, how we are going to present our message to the marketplace and who needs to hear it, and how we are going to differentiate ourselves from similar businesses. Are we going to keep things pretty much as they were this year because it seemed to work well and our clients were pleased with what we provided, or are we going to switch things up a little or maybe even a lot?
The idea of taking a step back to reflect, relax, or regenerate our perspective, our energy, and our approach needs to be given the appropriate consideration. We need that time away from our normal routine. We may have used that extra hour today to get started in this direction.
There comes a time when we must unplug from our normal focus and activities and plug into intentional fun, personal, or non-work related activities to recharge our batteries. We have to regenerate our energy periodically or we’ll find that we are getting stale or running near empty. The idea of stopping the clock on our strenuous work life – of pausing to “take five” – is a very important concept that is vital to our emotional and physical health. Consequently, it impacts our business health as well.
Unplugging is a conscious, intentional act that we do — not when we want to avoid doing something that we are committed to doing or a way or procrastinating. This is a break that we intentionally take when we walk away from what we are doing — knowing that what we need to do will be waiting for us when we return.
When we schedule a break, we do it with the understanding that this is as much of a planned and scheduled activity as any other important business meeting or appointment. Therefore, we can get full enjoyment from our downtime without being distracted from worrying about being at the office or regretting that we stole away to do something else. It is time we specifically set aside for this purpose.
This doesn’t mean that we can’t have any business thoughts during our break time. In fact, when our mind is clear, we may get some great ideas. The main point is that we have to schedule time and then honor it. Skipping a scheduled recreational period is the same as ignoring or blowing off an appointment – something we generally wouldn’t do.