Small business owners are often scared to take time off, as there’s no one else to fill in for them when they’re gone. Photo: Pixabay

JOHANNESBURG – As opposed to an employee in a large corporate, your individual contribution as a small business owner has much more of a relative impact when it comes to your business’s overall performance. But as we approach the end of 2019, it can be hard to keep motivated and energised for these last few months of the year. With this in mind, here are five ways that you as a small business owner can revive your focus and keep the momentum going until December. 

Have a strategy breakaway

Most business owners tend to think about their business goals at the beginning of the year, when they have a refreshed outlook for the year ahead. But when you start working again in January, wouldn’t it be great to have your strategy for the year ready to go, so you can hit the ground running in the right direction? Organising a breakaway strategy session for a few days in the last months of the previous year can help you do that – plus, you get the added bonus of a break from daily work and a change in scenery. Both of these can give you a much-needed energy boost and help you to stay focused. 

Try the Pomodoro Technique

If your to-do list feels overwhelming, the idea of spending short, focused increments of time on a task, interspersed with short breaks, may help you get more done. The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by consultant Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, which uses a timer to break down work into intervals of 25 minutes that are then rewarded with short breaks in between. Each work interval is known as a pomodoro, named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo used as a university student. The technique has become hugely popular, and these days there’s an entire ecosystem of Pomodoro apps you can use to help you prioritise and time your tasks.  

Have a mini-break

Small business owners are often scared to take time off, as there’s no one else to fill in for them when they’re gone. But while taking a day or two away from the office may seem indulgent, a short break can actually work wonders in refilling your energy reserves and increasing your productivity levels when you return. South Africa has plenty of inexpensive holiday spots not far from the major cities, so it doesn’t take long to travel there and back for a long weekend. If you do go away, try and unplug as much as possible by resisting the urge to work or check emails until you’re back. 

Outsource more

If you find that you’re struggling to fit everything in until the end of the year, consider pulling in some extra resources for a few months. Hire a freelancer to help you manage your social media, or outsource your tax admin to an independent tax professional. While this will involve extra costs, the benefits will far outweigh them with the extra time and head space that outsourcing frees up.  

Keep yourself healthy

Feeling rundown and lacking in energy is the precursor to getting sick, so make sure you stay on top of your health as much as possible. Stick to a healthy routine: get plenty of sleep, eat wholesome food, and make sure you do regular exercise. If you don’t already belong to a gym, medical aid schemes like Fedhealth via Sanlam Reality offer hugely discounted monthly fees for major gym chains. You could also think about stocking up on immune supplements and a multivitamin to help keep the bugs at bay. 

With only a few months left to go before the end of the year, your mindset is everything in keeping you focused on pushing through your workload. Rather than seeing it as a mountain to climb, reframe it as the last downhill stretch before a well-deserved end of year break. With these few techniques – and a positive outlook – you’ll find you easily have the reserves you need to get yourself (and your business) through to December. 

Catherine Black is a search engine optimisation (SEO) specialist, social media strategist and web copywriter with a Business Science degree from UCT at Black Mountain.

BUSINESS REPORT