There are the same number of days in the first half of the year as there are in the second half of the year, but it sure doesn't feel like it, does it? Once September hits it's like the days are only ten hours long and it has nothing to do with the creeping darkness. What it does have to do with is the back-to-school, Halloween, change in season, holiday havoc that leaves us breathless until we all shout "Happy New Year"!
The crazy is coming soon and there’s little you can do to avoid it. What you can do is use the month of August to prepare.
Clear the physical clutter
The next few months come with their own special kind of clutter; holiday decorations, extra layers of clothing, backpacks and school books. Clutter is the enemy of creativity and it’s no friend to productivity, either. Schedule a top-to-bottom house and workspace cleaning over the next few weeks. Tackle one section of the house each weekend so you’re not overwhelmed. Get rid of the trash, donate the never-used and put the important items back where they belong.
Pay special attention to your workspace. Toss out broken or dried up craft supplies. Donate materials you’re no longer using to a school or senior center and organize the rest. You’ll find ideas and inspiration on Pinterest but don’t get carried away. Those multicolor bottles are cute but they won’t help the cause if they take up valuable space on your desk and create even more visual clutter.
When you’re done with the house, clean out your car and purse and dig out all of those business receipts that you’ll need in April.
Clear the mental clutter
If you have kids, back-to-school means a big change in your daily routine. For some, it means more free time to work on your business. For others, it means an additional layer of responsibilities such as helping with homework and attending afterschool activities. The busier you get, the more important it is to set aside an hour a week (at least) for yourself. Go read at the coffee shop. Take a walk. Drive around the neighborhood and sing along with the radio. As long as it helps you unwind, it’s a go.
You shouldn’t spend your free time working or shopping for the family, but it is good to spend some time thinking about how far you’ve come and where you’re going. You’d be surprised by how much clarity you can get when you sit and just listen to the world around you. It’s time well spent that will help you be a better business owner, artist, parent, person.
Tend to business
With the clutter gone, it’s time to turn your attention to your business. There are two challenges most store owners have to deal with in the last half of the year; an increase in sales and a decrease in time.
If you sell gift or holiday items, what you make in the next few months can top what you’ve made all year. But to keep up with the demand in December, you have to write out a plan in August.
- Are you going to make special items for the holidays?
- What supplies will you need both for production and shipping?
- How are you going to market these items?
- Are you going to attend a show?
- Do you need to hire help?
- Will you be closing your store while traveling or celebrating the season?
You might not have all the answers right now, but the more you can arrange now, the better off you’ll be later on. Everyone wants to sell more, but the dollars won’t offset the guilt and stress if you’re stuck processing orders while everyone else is enjoying Thanksgiving dinner.
Christmas is only 143 days away. Hanukkah begins in 124 days, and before that is Black Friday and Thanksgiving, Halloween and school. Take advantage of the last, long, lazy days of summer to clean out, straighten up and make a plan for the rest of the year.