This time of year can be crazy busy, especially for entrepreneurs. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in filling orders, serving customers, holiday shopping, family obligations, and planning for the New Year that all the fun and meaning of the winter holidays, including Christmas and Hanukkah begin to seem like an impossible chore. It’s important to take a step back and make time to enjoy the holidays.
Your business is important. So is your family as are your other personal relationships. In addition, Christmas and Hanukkah are a good time to take a spiritual time out to enjoy some personal and community worship if you are a believer. So, here are six ways you can make time to enjoy the holidays this year—and every year.
Use Your Calendar to Make Time to Enjoy the Holidays
This just might be your number one holiday sanity saver. Do NOT agree or commit to anything without looking at the calendar first. You might be one of those amazing people who can keep a calendar in your head, but I guarantee that when it gets crazy busy, there’s a good possibility that you will double book yourself or not allow enough time between commitments to give your clients the time they deserve.
Don’t be afraid to say no to anything that doesn’t fit with the best interests of you, your family or your business. In order to make time to enjoy the holidays, you need to know how much time you have, and how much time you need for both your business and your family.
Set a Final Order/Delivery/Pickup Deadline for your clients and stick to It
If you have a business (like photography) that results in needing to deliver orders before the holidays, set a final date that your clients can order by—and a final date that they can pick up orders. That way you won’t find yourself sacrificing your holiday for your clients’ convenience.
I learned this lesson very early in my photography business when I had a client who insisted I be available to deliver their order on my daughter’s first Christmas Eve night because it was “convenient” for them. When I declined, they suddenly had time to come two days earlier. Being a business owner does not mean you can’t have a life outside your business. And for the record, the customer is not always right.
Be Realistic in Your Expectations
Whether it’s your expectations for your business productivity and profits, or your expectations for family holiday activities, be realistic. Don’t expect that you can provide a perfect Christmas for your family and get everything done you want in your business. There is no such thing. Don’t accept more work/orders/commitments for your business than you know you can get out with your best work. And don’t commit to so many family and other activities that you’re too exhausted to work. Overpromising and under delivering can create lasting damage to your business well beyond the holidays.
Hire Temporary Help If You Need To
Are there tasks in your business that you can delegate, hire out, or outsource during your busy seasons? It didn’t take me too many Christmas seasons to realize that I would make more money and be less stressed if I hired a couple of helpers to keep my studio clean, answer the phone and help package orders for delivery. Hiring out tasks that didn’t have to be done by me freed me up for the most important jobs. It also allowed me to make time to enjoy the holidays without feeling overwhelmed. This principle is true any time of year.
Put Yourself & Your Family First
No matter what business you are in, your family and your health are ALWAYS more important. Don’t justify not eating or not sleeping properly to keep up with a busy holiday season, saying you’ll take care of yourself later. There may not be a later if you don’t take care of your health. Your family needs to see you and spend time with you during the holidays.
Especially if you have a family, promises that you’ll spend time together later just aren’t going to cut it. What they really want for the holidays is to spend time with you, not have you work more so you can buy more stuff. Remember, no one ever got to the end of their life and said they wished they had spent more time at work. In addition to those holiday deadlines, schedule time for family time and for personal time. Remember, making time for you, as well as making time to enjoy the holidays, is critical to your success, both at work and at home.
Make Time to Enjoy the Holidays
The holidays are supposed to be a happy, joyful time. Don’t be a Scrooge. Make time in your busy holiday schedule to actually enjoy the holidays. Set aside time for enjoyable and meaningful activities with those you care about. Life is too short to spend it working every day, even when you love what you do.
Don’t let the busy-ness of your business make you into a Grinch. Make time to enjoy the holidays. Make time to enjoy your life, your family and friends whether it’s the holiday season or any season. Your business will thrive when you put your priorities in the right place, and you will thrive as well.