For small business owners, maintaining work-life balance at any time of the year can be a major feat. But during the holidays? It can be nearly impossible.
Even with the best intentions, we can be easily consumed with business, and time gets away from us. That’s why small business consultant and owner of Small Business Marketing Solutions, Jennifer Latham Richards, says that small business owners need to make work-life balance a priority over the holidays, much as you would any other objective or important project. Richards says that while her business is a priority, it’s not the priority. Family and friends have to figure in prominently, too, as does de-cluttering life from non-essentials. Being happy, enjoying non-work people and activities, and keeping stress under control, all fit together to create the balance everyone needs.
If you know from past experience that achieving work-balance isn’t your strong suit, you may feel yourself being pulled in that direction again. If so, take some advice from small business and tax consultants The Roart Group. The group says that it’s possible for small business owners to accomplish everything they need to over the holidays while still enjoying work-life balance. It’s a matter of keeping focus and having survival strategies ready.
- Think teamwork. You will be amazed at how much slack others are willing to pick up if only you ask for their help.
- Prioritize invitations. It’s tempting to want to do everything and go to every party. Try to attend just the ones that are most meaningful or important to you.
- Modify shopping habits. Use mobile apps for things like tracking your shopping and receipts. There are lots of easy-to-download and use time-savers out there.
- Learn to unplug. It can be tough to take time off during the holidays. But you can still do a lot to make yourself less connected through email, social media, media alerts, etc., which can help you achieve some of the same results.
- Look for shortcuts. Look for ways to truncate, combine or condense activities like meals and household tasks, for starters.
Common sense also applies over the holidays, maybe even more so. Don’t overdo it on the alcohol, try to stick to your daily exercise routine, and by all means, don’t skimp on sleep! It’s tempting to veer off your schedule—But it’s the holidays! you say—but staying in balance and on top of everything you need to do depends on it.
Many experts say that female business owners sometimes have the most difficulty creating work-life balance. It makes sense when you think about it. Often the go-to people both at work and at home, many women find themselves frantically multi-tasking and way over-extended. And if they own/run a business, women are automatically wearing just that many more hats. When the holidays roll around, work-life issues seem to be intensified.
But women who’ve been there say there are solutions to creating a healthy work-life balance—including over holiday periods, too:
- Be realistic. Know what’s possible, and respect your limitations.
- Accept periods of “unbalance”—just not all the time. Work and life won’t always be in sync. Be sure to apply some limits when necessary.
- Rely on others, at work and at home. Many women try to do too much themselves. Learning to delegate and share responsibility is a life-saving skill!
- Plan, plan, plan. There’s no substitute for planning. While you can’t anticipate everything, good planning a lot of big surprises that tend to throw off your work-life balance.
- Periodically re-evaluate and adjust. Experts say it’s good to check in with yourself from time to time to make sure you’re at least in the neighborhood of the balance you’re after. And if you’re not, don’t be afraid to make some changes.
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