The holidays are a time of year for visiting with family and friends, spending time with your kids, worshiping, and enjoying the moments that come along with all the festivities. So why is it, come this time of year, many home business owners are freaking out with holiday stress? They run around with this panicked look in their eye -- which is similar to the look of a wild animal caught against a fence without an exit.
My thought? They bit off more than they could chew.
I am as guilty as any other human being or home business owner in over promising during the holidays. Undoubtedly, this causes holiday stress. My solution? I set holiday-focused work-life balance rules which have been vital to my sanity and success each December. Following these tips may help provide you with the clarity necessary to survive the holidays and create a healthy balance between your work and home life.
Work-Life Balance Holiday Stress Tips:
- Family First: Does this mean ditch your customers entirely? Especially when there is a problem? No. But where possible, do some early planning to ensure you have protected time set aside for your family. For instance, if you blog, pull some late-night sessions week's in advance of the holidays and schedule and automate posts during the times when you should be with your family.
- Use Technology: Just as automated blogs with technology can lighten your load, so can a myriad of other online tools available out there to make your life easier. Automate social media posts using free providers like Hootsuite or Twitterfeed.
- Set and Publish Your Holiday Availability: Customers understand it is the holidays. So if your business allows, publish to your customers those times you will be unavailable. Give them alternative means to contact you for emergency situations (especially if you are a service provider).
- Plan Plan Plan: A good 'ol to do-list will never do you wrong. Take some time to write out all the things you need and want to accomplish during the holidays for the personal and professional areas of your life. Using free online time management and to-do list tools may help you coordinate all your efforts between your email and your iphone. One of my favorite tools is Cozi, and online family calendar.
- Simplify: Do what is necessary to keep your home business operating and meeting customer expectations, however, the holidays or no time to take on a big additional project. No matter how egregious your home office looks or how much you had hoped to get done before the first of the year, minimize your expectations. Arbitrary deadlines can help with goal setting, but during stressful times of the year, be flexible with yourself and your business. Don't kill yourself for the sake of getting something checked off your list.
In addition to the tips provided above, I suggest reading these articles which offer additional tools and advice on how to balance your life and make it through the holiday's stress causing moments and rigorous demands. Just remember, it is just as important to devote time to your family as it is to meet the demands of your business and customers.