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Working over Christmas? Here’s how to reduce the stress

Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

Too many business owners are sacrificing their family time and mental wellbeing for the Christmas rush.

Of the 500 Aussie small business owners surveyed by Westpac and Deloitte, 58 per cent expect to miss out on sleep, 63 per cent feel they won’t be able to unwind, 58 per cent predict they won’t be able to spend time with their families – all because of work commitments.

Not only that, but they’re spending upwards of eight hours a week on average doing paperwork or regulatory compliance.

And if you’re a woman running your own business, the painful truth is you’re worse off, and more likely to make personal sacrifices – such as dipping into your own salary to pay staff (34 per cent for women versus 27 per cent for men) or foregoing their lifestyle for work (36 per cent versus 30 per cent).

But it doesn’t have to be this way, says Westpac SME Banking general manager Ganesh Chandrasekkar.

Give yourself some TLC

Maintaining your mental, physical and emotional health will be key for a thriving business and keep you in a good frame of mind for decision-making.

“While it can be difficult to find the time to look after yourself, wellbeing and sleep should be made a priority because in the long run it’s essential for a successful business,” he advised.

“Consider turning off your phone and computer by 10pm before you go to sleep. And on your days off, if you need to work or check emails give yourself a set time to do this and then spend the rest of the time doing something for your wellbeing such as exercising.”

Block time out for the people who matter

Staying on top of paperwork and invoice-chasing can effectively take two days out of a business owner’s work week, eating up significant chunks of time that could otherwise be spent with family or friends.

To side-step this, Chandrasekkar points to three things you can do to spend less time in the office and more time with loved ones: plan ahead, use technology to your advantage, and prioritise.

“Plan your days and your time with a calendar scheduling your business task and include your family commitments so you have a complete view of what’s coming up.”

“Automate by using technology to reduce the nonvalue added activities like administrative tasks so you can free up more time to spend with family. And prioritise your work and family goals by ranking them in order of importance.”

Get on top of your cash flow

It’s a piece of advice we see time and time again – don’t let a bottleneck in cash flow get the better of you and drag into the new year. 39 per cent of small business owners expect to receive payments later than usual, Chandrasekkar pointed out.

“Receiving late payments can result in business owners needing to pay staff and suppliers out of their own pocket.”

To combat this, find a technological or digital solution that works for you. “Sending invoices electronically … makes it faster to check if a payment has been received and easier to send electronic reminders if a payment is overdue,” he said.

“An unsecured overdraft is another option for small businesses to access extra funds when cash flow is tight, without the need to use assets as a security.”

It’s nearing Christmas – everyone should give themselves a break, and small business owners should be no exception.

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