December is the New January

For most business owners, December is a hectic month. Juggling personal obligations on top of running a company requires super human abilities and often leave us exhausted. Non-retail business owners typically enjoy December as business tends to slow down. Retail or not, all entrepreneurs have one thing in common - we are not very good at slowing down! If you are like me, your mind races and you don’t do well with idle time. “Relaxing” always seems like such a great concept in theory, but give me a day off and I quickly fill it up with personal to do lists and at-home projects. My husband {also an entrepreneur} has an even more challenging time turning the productivity level down a notch so as you can imagine, there are a few must-haves in the Sandok home: yoga, red wine and stacks of self-help books that claim to teach how to “live life in the slow lane.” I have learned that in order to regroup and strategize for your business, making time for yourself is an absolute must so I make December my “secret” month. It is the time that I reflect on the year {both personally and professionally} so that when 2012 rolls around, I am able to fly out of the gate with an arsenal of new ideas ready to be implemented. Here are a few tips to help you do the same: Schedule ME time.

It’s the holidays for most people so you’re finding it harder to get things done anyway. I suggest that you plan a weekend away {preferably alone or with a business-minded friend/spouse with whom you can bounce ideas back and forth}. Head some place warm or up north and TURN YOUR LIFE OFF. No cell phone, no email and no internet. You need to be able to focus on yourself and your business. Take time to relax, reflect and plan. You don’t need to stay somewhere fancy, just find a place where you can hear your thoughts {Manhattan is not a good idea}. One of my favorite spots is the Old Rittenhouse Inn in Bayfield, WI. The town is so quaint, friendly and offers a handful of adorable little coffee shops and restaurants. Something about the clean air and slow pace is incredibly welcoming. I can imagine that a peaceful beach retreat would be equally calming.

Wind Down.

Once you have found your spot, focus on how you can immediately wind down. Perhaps a massage, yoga class or nestling by the fire with a good book would help. Once you find mental clarity and relaxation, you can truly start to reflect on the past year. I suggest starting with your personal life and then moving on to your business. Prioritizing our own happiness is most important. What worked? What didn’t work? What can you change in 2012 to make both your personal life and your business better?


Once you have connected with yourself. Make a plan for how you can strengthen your relationships with your family, friends, staff and clients. Maybe make a list of people that you owe a PHONE call {much more personal} or perhaps a hand-written note. In this time when we mass produce everything {including our conversations}, make something is uniquely personal and personalized.

I challenge you to make December your “secret” month. Focus on yourself. Focus on your business. This will allow you to mindfully plan for the best 2012 of your life.