Ahhh, 'tis the season....What is it about zombies and little princesses begging for candy at your doorstep that triggers the start of the real "spooky" season - THE HOLIDAYS! Entrepreneurs are stretched to capacity running a successful business and now it's time to squeeze the additional activities joyfully ushered in by the holiday season. Wouldn't it be nice to gift yourself a stress-less holiday?
Unconsciously we journey into the holidays There's shopping for the family, friends, business clients and colleagues. If you're miles from your family, there's wrapping and mailing in time for Santa's delivery. Traveling to see family or friends includes making travel arrangements, fighting long lines and crowded planes praying a storm doesn't ground your flight somewhere in New Jersey. There is menu-planning, grocery shopping, cooking, and baking. Oh, let's not forget the holiday parties and school plays to squeeze into your calendar. Did I mention the newsy holiday letter and cards needing to be mailed? Some entrepreneurs have an added pressure of year-end inventory and we ALL face planning for a more fruitful, successful year ahead. Is it any wonder that our strategic plans aren't complete until mid March? What could possibly go wrong?
Other than stress killing you - literally - there's plenty that goes hay wire this time of year. Partnerships go sideways. Fatigue leads to poor decisions. Burnout caused you to hide in your office closet to avoid work. Conflict rises up between the best of business colleagues. The day-to-day demands of growing a business easily exceed capacity. The obligations of the holidays - even when carried out to the tune of "White Christmas" - tip the scales. Even so, it doesn't seem to stop us from repeating the same crazy schedule year after year.
Rather than wait for the festivities of the season to strike like a blast of arctic air, let's make a pact to move toward this holiday season differently so the new year can be kicked off with renewed energy for all you intend.
Here are 8 tips to help you and your business get through the holiday season unscathed:
1. Be intentional - Set your objective and purpose for this holiday season (Being everything to everyone and meeting everyone's expectations doesn't count.)
2. Create your project and commitment list - Personal and professional projects need to be completed. Rather than trying to keep them all in your head, write them down. It helps sort them out and puts you in the driver's seat.
3. Plan ahead - Equipped with your calendar, jot down you're current commitments including business meetings with clients, networking events, personal parties, etc. Allow enough time (aka white space) to allow something to go amiss at the last minute.
4 - Align expectations with capacity - Ask yourself what personal and professional projects need to be completed during the next 3 weeks? How much time does each project require? Once you have a sense of your commitments, schedule them in.
Getting the picture? You now have a much clearer view of what you (and others) can realistically expect.
5. Delegate - Yes! We can do it all but is it necessary for us to do everything? Review your project and commitment list to identify the tasks to be delegated. Nail down who's responsible for what, by when, and what you need reported to you to give you confidence in handing over tasks.
6. Get enough sleep - There's nothing new here but it's good to be reminded how much better you perform and cope with stress when you're rested. Don't just 'say' you'll get more sleep - plan for it!
7. Exercise - You've heard this one too but did you also know that entrepreneurs who run or bike actually have higher sales than those who don't exercise? In other words, if you move it, you'll make it! Again, time available for exercise doesn't magically happen, you have to plan for it.
8. Say No - It's our most used word as a toddler yet it seems to get lost with age. If you can't say "Heck Yeah" to projects or parties, say no!
How about an early holiday gift for yourself - a little less stress to go with that eggnog, perhaps?
What are you doing to make the holidays less-stressful for yourself this year?
This article first appeared on Synnovatia.