The holiday season brings all kinds of extra responsibilities for business owners and other professionals. Most companies are taking stock of the last year while simultaneously preparing for the next, which often means jam-packed working days and even a few late nights. But being successful shouldn’t mean giving up all your time with loved ones — and it doesn’t have to! Here are a few tips for striking the balance between work and leisure this holiday season:
Outsource tasks that don’t require you personally
If you had endless time and no holidays to consider, you might be able to accomplish everything on your own. Unfortunately, time isn’t on your side during the holidays, so establish which duties you can afford to delegate and assign them accordingly. There are likely at least a handful of responsibilities that you usually perform but don’t necessarily require you to be the executor, plus you’ll want to save your energy and focus for more urgent issues. Find ways to assign personal tasks as well. For example, if you don’t have time to run home on your break, hire a dog walker. No time (or patience) to assemble the playhouse you bought for your kids? You can even hire an assembler!
Give yourself a break — literally
When work is chaotic, many businesspeople have trouble justifying a break. But giving your brain a little time to rest, even if it’s only 15 minutes, can actually make you more productive. Try to get up and get moving if you can, perhaps taking a walk outside or even through your office space. Do some stretches, practice meditation, or sneak in a few chapters of the book you’re reading. Breaks are especially important in the busy season, so don’t be afraid to take them!
Divide and conquer tasks
In addition to delegating entire assignments, see if there are any large projects you can effectively break up and divide amongst yourself and your co-workers. Utilize your people according to their strengths — some workers might be better with numbers, others may be stronger with creative skills, for instance — and consider making some responsibilities a group effort. In addition to breaking your project down into more manageable steps, you’ll be able to come together as a team and present work that was truly a group effort. (And don’t forget to say thanks!)
Focus on one area at a time
You’re only human and can only handle so many things at once. Don’t let your mind wander to “everything else” while you’re trying to complete a task. It’s not going to shorten your to-do list, nor will it make the task at hand any easier — in fact, it’ll only add to your stress and potentially distract you from giving your current project your entire focus. Concentrate on what’s in front of you and don’t get distracted with trying to multitask. Your work (and your family time) deserves your full attention.
Do something special with your loved ones
It could be date night with your spouse, taking your children to a holiday festival, treating your mother to the ballet, or catching a basketball game with your sibling. Even better if you can surprise someone! Go to events you’ve been looking forward to and participate in activities you genuinely enjoy. Your hard work deserves to be rewarded, and your loved ones will appreciate special time with you even amid your chaotic work schedule.
It’s certainly a busy season, but the holidays can still be the most wonderful time of the year for business owners. Keep these tips in mind, and don’t forget to show appreciation every step of the way. Thank your workers for their continued hard work and your family for their understanding — by the end, you’ll come out as a stronger team both in the office and at home!
Julie Morris is a life and career coach. She thrives on helping others live their best lives. It’s easy for her to relate to clients who feel run over by life because she’s been there. After years in a successful (but unfulfilling) career in finance, Julie busted out of the corner office that had become her prison. Today, she is fulfilled by helping busy professionals like her past self get the clarity they need in order to live inspired lives that fill more than just their bank accounts.