Make The Yuletide Gay: Balancing Business And Life During the Holidays

There’s probably not a time of year filled with more pressure than November and December. Between trying to wrap up the end of the year for your business and your customers and making sure you work in precious time with family and friends, the end of the year can be a season you hate rather than one you love and look forward to.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! There are things you can do to manage this most wonderful time of the year without losing your mind.

Planning

1.   Have your post-holiday business plan in place. Use the early part of November, before things get nuts, to get clarity around what you need to get back to business in January. Have blogs, emails, social media posts that need to be written? Plan them out and write them in November so you don’t have to spend precious time in December trying to get them done.

2.   List-making and calendar planning will save your sanity. Put all of your personal and business social commitments on one calendar so you don’t miss anything and you can get a good sense of your overall commitments during the holiday season. Too many nights and weekends booked? Cancel appointments or reschedule accordingly to give yourself margin.

Preparation

3.   Have customer holiday gifts and cards out by the Monday after Thanksgiving. That’s November 27. You’ll get ahead of the rush of greetings arriving at your customer’s door and you’ll be sure they arrive before they leave for holiday vacation. I didn’t plan well one year and my clients didn’t get their holiday gifts before they left for their holiday vacations. I felt terrible about that.

4.   Meal prep, meal prep, meal prep. If you’re not careful, you and your family run the risk of eating Christmas fudge, pumpkin pie and drive-thru take-out in between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s dinners. Meal plan and prep health meals you can have at home to balance out all the holiday eating. Keep healthy eats around and make freezer meals that can go in the oven, slow cooker or pressure cooker for a quick dinner. Have an exercise routine? Stick with it during the holiday rush.

Boundaries

5.   You can’t do it all and you can’t be everywhere. Drawing a firm boundary on social commitments is so important. Decide early in the season which networking/business events you’ll attend and which personal/social events you don’t want to miss, then close the door to any new invitations. Don’t feel pressure to accept invites past your limit. You’ll only exhaust yourself, draining yourself of good cheer and resent that you did it to yourself.

6.   Take time off and don’t apologize for it. I take the Friday and Monday after Thanksgiving off every year. I look forward to those days like you wouldn’t believe! If you want to take time off to spend time with family around the holidays, do it. Let your customers know your plans and then take your days off without apology. You deserve to enjoy the season and your customers will be there when you get back. I promise.

These are my ideas for managing the holiday season well. What are some things you do to minimize stress and maximize enjoyment of this special time of year?

Aurora Gregory