Staying Sane Over The Holiday Season As A Small Business Owner
There are busy times for our business and there are busy times for our personal lives but there just seems to be something about Christmas where the two come so close to crashing together that you’re left struggling to stay sane and be able to enjoy this time of year.
Even if your business itself doesn’t see a drastic increase in customers at Christmas, you may have fewer hours to focus on your business due to the many demands on your time elsewhere. Then there are all the “business gurus” telling you that now is the perfect time to be planning your business strategy and marketing for next year (which I strongly disagree with and you can discover why in my blog here).
Whatever’s leaving you stressed right now, there are ways you can tweak your working methods and processes within your business to help you keep on top of things, stay sane and even recover some additional spare time to enjoy what Christmas has to offer.
Clear the clutter from your to-do list
We all have tasks on our to-do list that probably shouldn’t be there. Generally, they’re the tasks you don’t want to do or feel you are unable to do due to time, resources or lack of knowledge.
Keep essential and high-priority tasks on your to-do list and set deadlines where appropriate to help you manage them more easily. For everything else, consider how you’re going to deal with them. If they will benefit your business, outsourcing to a trusted professional can be a worthwhile investment to make.
For any leftover tasks, if they don’t bring a direct benefit to you and your business, remove and forget about them.
Get organised early
Now your to-do list has been sorted and you know what needs to be done, you can organise your time and resources more effectively. Make sure you have in your calendar key events you can’t miss such as school concerts and nativity plays, business lunches and networking events, family shopping days, etc.
Now you can carefully plan your working hours around these events. Try to ensure you’re balancing out deadlines across the days and weeks ahead so not everything is due at the same time and give yourself some flexibility too. It’s better to overestimate how long a project or task might take and enjoy some additional time to yourself if it doesn’t take that long than underestimate and panic about meeting those important deadlines and getting to school on time!
Be selective about what you’re taking on
It can be tempting to take on additional work during December when the New Year is traditionally a quieter period for you. Feast or famine can be a very real problem for many business owners and so taking on as much work as you can while you can might seem like a sensible idea.
Unfortunately, taking on too much (especially at a time of year that is so busy for many of us personally, too) could improve your cash flow but at the detriment to your physical and mental health. Burnout is an issue for many small business owners and at a time of year when our immune systems are already under increased strain from viruses and winter bugs; not having enough time to properly rest and recharge could affect your physical and mental health.
Be selective about the extra work you’re taking on. Ensure it’s really going to benefit your business, that it’s not going to take too much from you in terms of energy, time and resources and that you still have a good work-life balance to care for yourself too.
Schedule your marketing in advance
One of the hardest things about this time of year is getting back into the swing of things after the Christmas and New Year break.
One of the things you can be doing now to make it easier to gently ease yourself back into work in the New Year is to plan and schedule your marketing in advance. Even taking an hour or two to go through past social media posts that worked well and scheduling them to appear again, updating a few blog posts to publish in the New Year and interacting with others online will help keep your business brand “active” and in people’s minds but also help to keep work trickling in to avoid that feast or famine problem.
If marketing is a task you don’t enjoy or have the time and resources for, now is the time to be sourcing a marketing consultant, social media manager or copywriter to outsource your marketing activities to.
Plan a decent break
A lot of business owners don’t like the idea of spending too long away from their business and will work during their holidays to keep things “ticking over” but is this really a good idea?
Without a proper break away from work, you’re not giving yourself the opportunity to rest and recharge properly, to truly enjoy time with your friends and family and to give your physical and mental health the time it needs to restore and replenish itself.
With the right systems and processes in place, taking a week or two away from work doesn’t mean you won’t have a business to come back to. Indeed, that time away can help you come back to your business with a fresh pair of eyes and the energy to spot where things need changing, think of new ideas and take your business further in the New Year.
So, the best way to stay sane this holiday season is to look after yourself first and foremost and I hope the tips in this blog will help you manage your workload more effectively so you can do just that.