Have a break!

Some young people I know starting out at work are expected to work long hours with only brief breaks. It is true that in our youth we can concentrate for longer. That is important with a skilled job whether in a factory or the dealing room. However most of us can use a break, and that is important because we work better when we go back to our tasks.

I have been lucky in that respect. I have never worked in an environment where I could not take a break. In my first job, we were allowed out for fifteen minutes to get a coffee at a café opposite our work. The break was written into our contracts. We had a proper lunch break and an afternoon tea break. We did work long hours, but nobody was looking over our shoulders and begrudging us our breaks.

These days I am my own boss, and I work from home. I could work all the hours in the day, but I would not get more done, nor would I be more efficient. I take quite a few breaks, and find myself refreshed when I get back in the office. I am more energetic, and get a lot done in shorter bursts.

I am flexible in my working hours and no evenings. If I feel the need to unwind I go out for a walk. I enjoy the exercise and relaxing my mind when I am out makes me more creative when I get back. I do my best thinking when I am not really trying.

Are you able to get out during the day? Here are some photos from my favourite thinking walks.

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Why we should avoid giving our clients and prospects the holiday blues

Holiday beach

We all need to have a holiday. Well, nearly all of us need one. If we have a small business it takes a certain amount of planning, just as it does to make sure we take leisure time during our working week.

Our clients do not take holidays at the same time as we do. That means that if they leave a message with our office or send us an email they expect some response within a reasonable time. I think a reasonable time is no more than a day for the client to know that you have got or will get the message.

If the client has sent an email, make sure that someone sends a real reply and not an “out of the office” standard response.

If the client has telephoned you know that I think they must have spoken to someone representing your business, if they called in “normal” office hours. That person should have told them that you will get the message when you get back from your holiday. The client will feel that something is going to happen.

If a prospect has called with a new enquiry and not had a timely response their business will go elsewhere.

I don’t think we need to be distracted in our planned leisure time by clients as everyone should understand we all need a holiday. At the same time, I don’t think they should be left hanging, waiting for something to happen, without knowing we are away.

We need to make sure our businesses appear professional and reliable. Most of us are not there 24/7 because we are not large corporations, but that is why we can be special and offer a more personal service. We can show our clients we care and still have a life outside. What do you think?

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