The holiday season can be an exciting time for both your business and for you. It may be a time of heavy sales and demand. Even if it’s not, the end-of-the-year is often prime time for business owners to catch up on strategic planning, reviewing marketing campaigns, and other important tasks that tend to get moved aside for more pressing daily concerns. And of course, the holidays are often filled with a lot of family time, get-togethers with friends, and charitable giving events and parties.
But in the middle of that, you may find your work-life balance slipping. If the holidays are a busy time for your business, you may find yourself unable to give family and friends the attention they deserve. If you’re giving attention to holiday cheer, you might feel that you’re neglecting your business. So, how do you establish a healthy work-life balance over the holidays? Join us as we breakdown some of the most tried-and-true pointers to follow for the merriest time of the year.
1. Set Priorities
First things first: Set your priorities for the holiday season — both for work and your personal life. It’s a good idea to divide needed activities into three key categories:
- Things you absolutely must do
- Things you want to do
- Things that you feel obligated to do
If you need to supervise shipments of products for the holidays, that goes in the first category. If you want to have a front-row seat at your children’s holiday pageant, that goes in the category of things you want to do.
Things you feel obligated to do go in a separate category because they may be of lesser priority than the first two. For example, perhaps you feel obligated to make the holiday party of your local business roundtable. But you can meet the attendees in other, less time-pressured months. If you’re crunched to maintain work-life balance, tasks you feel obligated to do and events you feel obligated to attend may be dropped and/or rescheduled.
2. Plan In Advance
A good work-life balance is often the result of planning far in advance. If your business or industry is busy during the holidays, then early December is probably not the time to be planning.
If you need to train employees or order more products, start months in advance. (You want fully trained workers and fully stocked shelves!) Review your sales, planning, and needs from the previous year at the holidays. Is there anything you needed you didn’t have? What were the lessons learned?
You’ll also want to consider planning time to relax with your family or friends. Are you going to take vacation time? Ski? Attend sporting events or concerns? Sit with your loved ones to plan away. The more fully you plan, the more you can actively incorporate the events and experiences you want in your personal life.
Is your business ready for the holiday season and beyond? Here’s How to Prepare Your Business for the Holiday Season.
3. Schedule Actively
Once you know your plan both for work and personal time, it’s time to sit with your calendar and actively schedule when you will execute the things you’ve planned. A schedule performs two important functions in busy times. First, it’ll be your guide for all your festive activities and events.
Second, writing all your planned activities down on a calendar provides an early warning system if you are becoming overbooked. When you find 15 tasks written on the 20th of December, it’s a red flag. You may not be able to complete them all without working late into the night. That’s why it’s key to know your limits and plan for flexible schedules.
When we’re overbooked, our work-life balance tends to get out of whack. If you’re getting together with friends on a night that’s also the kick-off of your holiday product launch, you might end up canceling one or the other because there’s just not enough extra time. Make sure you have a holiday schedule you can actually live with!
Are you stressed about holiday revenue? Improve your holiday sales with these 5 Effective Seasonal Promotion Ideas to Boost Holiday Sales.
4. Set Firm Boundaries
It’s tempting to try and do it all during the holidays. You imagine more walk-in traffic in your business, or more online sales, and you want to make that happen. Last-minute invitations to holiday festivities crowd your calendar. You may all too easily try to do too much.
The solution is to set and maintain firm boundaries on where you’ll be spending time. Don’t get drawn into overwork; delegate actively to subordinates or postpone activities that aren’t absolutely crucial. Don’t get drawn into making trips to see every aunt and uncle if you feel more obligated than enthused. (If you do feel enthusiastic about it, make a plan so it happens!)
If setting boundaries makes you feel like Scrooge, remember: you’re setting boundaries not to refuse to do anything, but to make healthy room for the things you really need to do and want to do. Boundaries exist to help protect you and your priorities or goals.
5. Outsource When You Can!
Delegating can work wonders to help you prioritize your time and make the end of the year a wonderful time — and so can outsourcing! In fact, outsourcing can work wonders if you have a small business with limited or no employees.
A small business owner’s time can especially be drained by administrative issues such as payroll or systems. Many business owners try to handle these issues in downtime before the New Year. But your time is better spent with work no one but you can do, such as strategizing future plans or hiring key personnel. Payroll and systems issues can be outsourced relatively easily and cost-effectively. See How to Streamline Your Business and Save Time with Payroll for Small Businesses.
The same is true of taxes and accounting. Since tax season happens fairly soon after the holidays, some business owners may use the pre-new year time to gather their tax information. But it may maximize your time more effectively to outsource your tax and accounting, which can also be done relatively easily and cost-effectively. Remember: Guidant can help you with all your small business needs — from bookkeeping and tax to payroll and business valuations.
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Take Charge of Your Work Life Balance
Ready to take charge of your work life balance today? At Guidant, we can help save you time, money, and alleviate the stress that comes with running a small business — no matter the season. Not only can we get the funding your business needs to be successful, but our team offers a range of affordable and small-business-tailored services from bookkeeping to tax and payroll services.
You can choose just one, or every single one, or any number of services in between. Our experts have helped launch and support over 30,000 American small businesses. Whatever your need, you can trust our team to support you. Contact us today to get started!
Call us today at 425-289-3200 for a free, no-pressure business consultation to get started — or pre-qualify in minutes for business financing now!