Some businesses, mine included, slow down over December and January as our clients get caught up with Christmas and holidays and forget to spend their money with us. That leaves us with plenty of time on our hands.
My strong recommendation is that you take as much of this time for yourself as possible and whatever happens, don’t feel guilty about it. After all, taking control and having flexibility with how we spend our time is one of the biggest benefits of being a solopreneur.
If, however, you’ve done that and still have time up your sleeves, here’s my list of the top useful 10 ways to spend it.
1. Clean up your email and electronic filing system
Subfolders within subfolders within subfolders. Sound familiar? Now’s the time to design an ideal filing system and create some simplicity in your life. Try and limit your filing system to 3 levels deep and delete all that stuff you don’t need any more.
2. Read what’s in your “Reading” file
I have a reading file with all those really useful documents I downloaded and meant to read. Now’s the time. And once you’ve read them, you can file them in your newly simplified filing system!
3. Review your books
Go and have a look in your bookcase. Seriously, how long since you read some of those books? Keep the classics and the ones you refer to regularly. Then send an email to your friends/clients/relatives and offer the others for free or the cost of postage. Or take them to the local second hand book store.
4. Clear up your accounts
Scrutinise your accounts for anomalies. Debtors, creditors and those small amounts you never bothered chasing, outdated client details and contacts. Sort them out and start the year fresh.
5. Create new templates
Take the opportunity to review the things you do repeatedly and consider making a template for them. Examples include standard emails, email signatures, proposals, invoices, thank you letters and marketing letters.
6. Review and renew marketing material
Spend some time looking at your brochures, web copy, postcards and other marketing material. Does it still reflect your business accurately and send the message you want?
7. Clean up your hard copy filing system
As for your electronic filing system, hard copy systems can easily get out of hand. Throw away what’s no longer current or necessary and de-clutter the paperwork.
8. Review 2007
The end of the year is a great time to take stock of your successful and slightly less than successful endeavours. Review how you went against your plan and start to think about how to stay successful in 2008.
9. Renew lost connections
Make contact with people you haven’t spoken to in over 12 months. I find a phone call is best and even if you only get to leave a message it renews the connection and sets you up for a more serious catch up in the new year.
10. Stop working!
That’s enough now. Turn off your PC and phone and go enjoy the sunshine.
“ Take the opportunity to review the things you do repeatedly and consider making a template for them. ”