Working in a winter wonderland?

Will Word Up have a winter shut down?

To be honest I hadn’t given it much thought until I was asked earlier this week when I’ll be stopping for Christmas. As a newly minted sole trader I hadn’t really decided whether to shut up shop or plough on.

The whole concept of stopping for Christmas didn’t feature very large for me over the last few years. In my previous existence as a BBC radio producer working on live programmes, there wasn’t much opportunity for an extended break during the festivities. With live programming, the show literally must go on, and so must the production staff (so go on, spare a seasonal thought for those behind the scenes on the Xmas airwaves).

But since starting as a sole-trader, and mistress of all she surveys, I s’pose I can call the shots for Christmas, all by myself. And as the week rolls on, it’s getting harder to find anyone to work with anyway. As it turns out, many of my fellow adventurers in enterprise are winding down for winter, and taking some time out from the grindstone nose-pressing. Good on ’em, ’tis the season to be jolly, after all.

Not for me the dire warnings about days lost, stunted green shoot growth, and catastrophic Christmas commerce. It’s simple, stupid. Most of us work more effectively and efficiently when we take some time out. The way I see it – if you are able to take time off the hamster wheel then surely it’s your duty to get on with rocking around the Christmas tree, right now.

And anyway, as I’m already on the record in these very pages advocating holidays, short breaks and days off for small businesses (as a means to retain sanity, health and perspective, never mind anything else), then I bloody well better practice what I preach.

So yes, I will be stopping for Christmas, and I reckon 2.30pm on Friday afternoon is as good a time as any.

2.30pm on Friday because that’s when the bell goes at the Word Up Wean’s educational establishment. And I’ll be waiting for him. Because I want to, but also because there’s nothing quite as hilarious and heart-warming as the roar of hysteria that raises the rafters when several hundred ecstatic and hyper-excited wee yins hear the sure fire signal that the holibags are officially underway. That’s just about the best part of panto season as far as this wee wordsmith is concerned.

So yes, I really will relish the opportunity to have a few days off doing sod all sole-trading. But a two week break from business spent in the bosom of my family? Not a snowball’s.

It’s not that I don’t want to spend quality time with the dearly beloveds. I do, and I will. There will be food, festivities and fizz. There will trips to the flix, long walks and nights on the tiles. There will be exercise and indulgence, catch-ups and couch surfing. But there will also be a bit of business.

I don’t expect to be clinching contracts at Christmas, but I do want to keep the momentum of my small empire moving. So, while there won’t be any meetings or networking, pitching or proposal writing, there will be planning and preparation, and a couple of commercial communiqués. There won’t be any blogging, and only scant social media, but a database will be built and a spanking new sole trader strategy sorted out.

With luck and a fair wind, quite a bit of the task list will be tackled in December, and not added to the usual pie-in-the-sky new-year-new-me resolution rigmarole.

Ticking off the To Do list will, I hope, clear the decks (and the heid), ready to rock into 2014 with renewed vim, vigour and vitality. I’m not crazy about resolutions, but I certainly don’t lack resolve, so it’s onwards and upwards for Word Up this winter.

Happy New Year!


The Weekly Word will be back in January