How The GRIND Stole Christmas: A Brief Guide to Enjoying the Holidays for Entrepreneurs
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Everywhere...but on my couch.
While my wife coos over new pens and iPad cases, and my kids obsess over the latest devices and “Trolls” gear, I am seemingly stuck in a time suspension that keeps me from joining them in the holidays. And by time suspension, I mean my business. Yes, as an entrepreneur, I find great difficulty getting excited about the holidays, mainly because I am still working when everyone else is getting fruitcake wasted. (Ain’t no fruitcake at my house, though. That jawn is nasty.)
It’s not so much that I don’t like the holidays. I actually really love this time of year for food, fellowship, and family. The issue for me is that taking time to actually be present during the holidays can sometimes take away from the productive time I need in order to fund said holidays. In other words: No work, No Elmo. It’s an extremely hard balance to achieve.
In my quest for self care, I am actively seeking ways to put the laptop down and engage in this special time of year with my family. If you’re also struggling with this, you’ll appreciate these 3 tips for balancing work and the holidays.
1. Structure Your Work Around Your Family; Not The Opposite
The key to your life working well is putting things in priority order. It’s simple: God, Spouse, Kids, Business. For me as a Pastor, I put our church before my business, but your priorities might look different depending on what’s active in your life. But regardless of what you have going on, it’s important to build your work around what’s most important.
Dinner starts at 8pm? Stop working around 6pm, so that you can disconnect mentally from the work and be present during dinner. Holiday party this weekend? Schedule your tasks during the week so that you aren’t going to be worried about work under the mistletoe. Put your people first, and your business will begin to run more smoothly because you’ll be operating in a clearer mental state. Your family will support your efforts when you’re able to give more of yourself to them.
2. Set a deadline for Holiday orders and then determine what days you’ll be closed
The old adage applies to business as well as your personal life: You teach people how to treat you based on what you’re willing to accept. Boundaries and policies are a form of self care. You have to communicate your boundaries to your customers, especially during times like the holidays. This IS self care for you and for your business. Set the date that you’re going to stop taking orders and then...wait for it...STOP TAKING ORDERS.
If you communicate that you have a deadline for orders or for scheudling services and then you keep accepting inquires, you’ve just shown your customer that your policies are meaningless. Demand respect through clarity and consistency. And then, you can enjoy that Peppermint Hot Chocolate in peace.
3. Next year, do a big sale in October/November, save some money and then take some time off in December
This one is simple. Stack your money and enjoy some time off in the busy season. This will look different for each of you depending on your business. In a retail business, you may only be able to take a few days off. In a service business, maybe you can do more. But no matter your industry, leverage your schedule in a way that benefits your budget and your need to rest.
I pray blessings over your family and your business for the New Year, and I hope sincerely that your grind doesn’t steal Christmas this year.