It’s counter-intuitive: This time of year we should be taking time to enjoy life, but for many entrepreneurs, it’s the busiest season of the year. And that’s not just for those who work in retail. We’re busy with holiday party obligations, buying client gifts, volunteering, sending cards…the list goes on and on. But how do you stay sane during the holidays?
I’m in favor of this being the best time of year, and taking a moment to reflect on the past 12 months. To that end, below are my tips for managing the madness.
How to Stay Sane During the Holidays
1. Say No
Sure, you feel the need to give your time right now, but you don’t have to.
We have this sense of guilt when we say no, but it’s actually freeing. We assume the world will fall apart if we don’t make cookies for our kid’s class, take on a new project and attend every holiday event.
But you know what? The world keeps on turning.
2. Start Early
If you’re just now thinking about how to market during the holidays, you’re adding undue stress to your workload. Be like 31% of businesses, who start their holiday marketing strategy 2-3 months in advance.
You can bet they’re less stressed in executing their plans since everything was laid out months ago.
3. Make Client Gift Shopping Simple
It’s wonderful if you have time to individually curate gifts for each of your clients. But if you don’t have that kind of time, buy in bulk.
There are hundreds of sites that sell gift baskets and boxes of goodies that let you bulk buy and ship directly to your clients. You can customize by choosing different gifts from the same site. But you’ll drastically cut down on your shopping time if you can make a single purchase and send gifts to everyone on your list
4. Focus on What Really Needs to Get Done
I keep procrastinating on an ebook I want to write before the end of the year. I find a million other things I “should” do instead. But come January, I’ll be disappointed that I procrastinated on this business-building tool.
Look at your to-do list and eliminate everything that’s not a necessity.
5. Clean and Organize
I like to start a new year with an organized office. You should too. Carve out an hour each week to deal with that teetering pile of papers on your desk, as well as to organize your computer files.
In the new year, you’ll be more streamlined and able to find what you need quickly.
6. Be Selective About Events
Here you can exercise your new ability to say no. Holiday parties can be fun, but they can also be stressful, especially when they take you away from the office or home.
Decide which events you really need to be present at, as well as which you really don’t want to attend – and RSVP accordingly.
7. Schedule Your Marketing
If you’re the person at your company that writes the blog posts and social media updates, be smart about your time.
When you have an hour or more to dedicate to marketing, maximize your time by writing several posts and scheduling them for the remainder of the year. Use a tool like Hootsuite to schedule your social media updates.
It’s easy enough to set up tweets and updates to your content, then check in once a day and respond directly to any comments sent to your account from other users.
8. Stop and Breathe
Like I said, now is the ideal time to reflect on the past year. Instead of constantly going-going-going – slow down and enjoy the moment.
Don’t let the holidays stress you out. Instead, use this time to appreciate everything you’ve accomplished as a small business owner.
I’ll raise my glass of hot cocoa to that!
9. Personal Self-Care
It’s a no-brainer: you can’t pour from an empty cup. This season, prioritize your wellness. Slot in quick exercises; a brisk walk in the cold can both invigorate and clear your mind. A daily meditation or mindfulness routine might seem indulgent, but it’s a lifesaver. Just a few minutes can recenter you amidst the chaos. And don’t skimp on sleep! Those extra hours of work aren’t as productive if you’re running on fumes.
10. Leverage Technology
In the midst of holiday chaos, technology can be your best ally. Here’s how to harness it effectively:
- Automation: Utilize tools for routine tasks like email responses or invoicing.
- Virtual Assistants: Great for entrepreneurs juggling multiple tasks. They can:
- Manage administrative duties.
- Handle holiday planning.
- Free up your time to focus on overarching business goals.
11. Set Boundaries
Burnout isn’t a badge of honor. Clearly define your working hours and communicate them. It’s okay not to respond to emails at midnight. Periodically, step back from screens for a quick digital detox. A little space can yield a lot of clarity.
12. Plan Ahead
Look beyond the tinsel and lights. What’s your vision for the new year? Lay the groundwork now. Define your goals and aspirations, giving you a clear roadmap for the year ahead.
If you’re taking time off, ensure clients know your return date or who’s covering in your absence. Clarity now means fewer fires later.
13. Find Joy in the Little Things
It’s easy to become wrapped up (pun intended) in the grander goals of the season. Amid the commercial whirlwind, reconnect with the genuine joys. Maybe it’s the twinkle of lights in your office, the joy of a satisfied customer, or simply a steaming mug of your favorite seasonal drink.
By pausing to relish these moments, you recharge emotionally, ensuring your heart is as invested in your endeavors as your mind.
14. Embrace Traditions
Traditions are the heartbeats of the holiday season. Celebrate the myriad of cultural festivities of those you work with — it’s both respectful and enlightening. And for your own venture? Forge some company traditions. Whether it’s a themed holiday party or a special year-end token for clients, make moments that’ll be eagerly anticipated each year.
Company Tradition Ideas:
- Themed Holiday Parties: Choose a different theme each year for an unforgettable celebration.
- Year-End Tokens: Customized gifts or notes expressing gratitude to clients or partners.
- Volunteer Day: Organize a day for your team to give back to the community.
- Cultural Celebrations: Dedicate days to celebrate various cultural festivities within your team.
- Yearly Recaps: A fun video or presentation highlighting company achievements and memorable moments.
- Secret Santa: A fun gift exchange within your team to foster bonding.
- Holiday Workshops: Organize workshops related to crafts, cooking, or other festive activities.
How to Stay Sane During the Holidays Summary
|Time Management||- Say No<
- Start Early
- Schedule Your Marketing
|Personal Well-being||- Sleep
- Mindfulness and Meditation
- Stop and Breathe
|Financial Planning||- Budgeting
- Year-End Financial Review
|Workspace||- Clean and Organize|
|Networking||- Thank You Notes
- Year-End Catch-ups
|Goal Setting||- Plan Ahead
- Reconnect with Your 'Why'
|Technology & Tools||- Automate Where Possible
- Use Virtual Assistants
|Event Management||- Be Selective About Events|
|Purchasing & Gifting||- Make Client Gift Shopping Simple|
|Embracing Tradition||- Celebrate Cultural Festivities
- Company Traditions
|Teamwork||- Delegate and Collaborate|
|Diversification||- Diversify Your Approach|
Happy Santa Photo via Shutterstock
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