The holidays are here for some, and almost here for others.
Others again will continue working during the break (we’re thinking of all those particularly in hospitality, retail and services sectors), but hopefully get some much-needed rest time later on.
But how do you spend the downtime while running a huge business? Can you actually take time off at all?
We checked in with our friends at SmartCompany to see what some of the country’s best known business owners will be doing over the break — and have shared the results from seven such women below. SmartCompany’s full list by journalist Emma Koehn is here.
Emma Isaacs | Founder, Business Chicks
“I’ve never really seen a delineation between work and living — it’s all the same to me. As the founder of a business, ‘work’ never escapes me. Ideas come to me when I’m changing the baby’s nappy, when I’m in the shower, when I’m driving, and even in the throes of trying to be completely present, it’s not like these thoughts stop.
“In terms of the end of year we will be, as a family, taking some time off and heading to Mexico, but my laptop and notebook are never far away. In the US our kids only get two weeks off school and businesses don’t shut down like back home so for me, it’ll pretty much be business as usual.”
Naomi Simson | Founding director, RedBalloon
“This is a crazy busy time in retail (and online is no different) … The great thing of course about RedBalloon is that people will continue to give our vouchers right up until 2:00pm on Christmas day.
“And that is when I stop too. No longer checking scoreboards, and ratios, I will gather around the table with my family, pop a cracker, and put on a silly hat … everything forgotten. My family laugh as they see me quietly take to the couch to have a nap about 4:00pm.
“I’m taking January to reset, recharge and refocus. We are back in Shark Tank in the new year and so I have no doubt that the new year will be as frenetic as this one, but I guess if I was not busy, I would be worried. Over the summer I will read the new Peter Carey book and some other fiction, play games, paint, cook and swim … do yoga and be healthy. The phone and laptop will be hidden.”
Jen Geale | Co-founder, Mountain Bikes Direct
“We’ve been working hard this year to set up the business so it doesn’t ever require ‘all hands on deck’ — that means that even in the last few crazy pre-Christmas weeks, a few of us have been able to take a break, while others will be relaxing with family during Christmas and New Year.
“We’ve got some of our overseas-based leadership team moving back to Australia in December as well so we’re looking forward to some face-to-face strategic planning early in the new year, ready to launch into a really exciting 2018!”
Cyan Ta’eed | Co-founder, Envato
“I’m launching a new startup, Hey Tiger, in February so it’s a really busy time leading up to launch. We’ve got a key photoshoot, some heavy logistics work, and lots of production to get done in early January so it’s intense.
“Because I have small kids and a husband who will be free for the holiday period I’m going away over Christmas, and I’m not quite sure how I’m going to manage it! On one hand I know a break will energise me to focus and execute in the new year, but putting everything on hold and switching off will be challenging. But that’s the reality of startups with kids in the fray — you need to learn how to get it done without a singular focus and 24/7 obsession with your startup. I’ll be closing my laptop over the holidays with the knowledge this is my time to relax and recharge, and after that it’s all guns blazing in January!”
Emma Lo Russo | Chief executive, Digivizer
“This year is interesting for Digivizer as we expanded our team into Asia earlier in the quarter across 13 countries. Each has its own festival and holiday periods, so the Asia team is pretty much “live” for the duration. We choose to end our year with a 1.5-day hackathon where the team can focus on anything that helps our customers make better decisions around their digital investment.
“The hackathon always finishes the year on a creative high. The team also get to vote on our priority objectives and key results for the coming quarter. We officially close down the Sydney office for two weeks to provide everyone with a proper break, to enjoy their time in the sun with their families and friends …
“For me personally as CEO, I use this time to reflect on the progress and lessons of the year past, to relax and re-energise and to think and plan for the coming year. I try to balance the break between re-energising and connecting with family, as well as giving myself the space to think about the key plays and strategies needed to ensure our success in the new year.”
Elaine Stead | Head of venture capital, Blue Sky Alternative Investments
“This year, the end-of-year period will be the first time in five years we haven’t had a transaction to close before Christmas or December 31, so I am taking some time off over the break!
“I’ll be driving from Brisbane to Adelaide with my pooches and hanging with family and friends across the Adelaide hills and beaches. There will always be some work to do over that period but the portfolio is in pretty good shape, so hopefully it will be minimal. Taking the time to disconnect when possible and spending time with loved ones is pretty important to me now that I’m older and supposedly wiser.”
Kate Morris | Founder, Adore Beauty
“Every year we improve our planning for the end-of-year period, so every year it’s a little less chaotic! This year has gone very smoothly, thanks to the great work from my team, so I’m hoping to have a laptop-free break between Christmas and New Year. The warehouse will still be shipping orders for our Boxing Day sale, but we have a great operations team now that has everything under control.