Between family responsibilities of shopping, cooking, parties and the business responsibilities of increased sales and promotions, do you find the last quarter of the year your busiest? Granted, I don’t think there is a time of year that women entrepreneurs aren’t busy, but the last few months of the year often seem to be overloaded with stress.
How do you prioritize?
For me, my overall strategy is to strictly divide business time from family time. It’s easier for me throughout the year to keep the two separate and focus on one or the other at a time. This way, my family or my business gets my full attention rather than divided attention.
However, this becomes more difficult as the holidays approach. My son’s birthday is the first week of November, the same time our Holiday Gift Guide launches. I found myself ordering party supplies online in a different window while I was uploading product images to our guide.
It gets a little hairy. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t manage. Here are a few tips to help you maintain your sanity over the coming weeks.
Write things down.
I am a list maker and this time of year it seems like a necessity. I have separate lists for business to-dos and family/home to-dos. I have a paper calendar as well as my mobile one. I am constantly making myself notes and reminders so that I don’t forget things or leave something or someone out. Be accountable for the things you commit to, it will leave you feeling less flustered and overwhelmed.
Sometimes too much is just too much. You cannot be everything to everyone. Some things, activities and events are just simply not a priority. I read some advice last year around the holidays to just drop one thing you usually do and free up some time for yourself. This is a great idea. Your kids will understand if you don’t bake cupcakes for the school holiday party. Whenever you can trim the to-do list rather than add to it, do it!
Cut yourself off.
Last minute projects tend to stress me out. So, I recommend establishing a cutoff date. And, be firm! Set your last day to order before Christmas early on and stick to it. Be sure to schedule time to bake your cookies in between Christmas programs and parties. Keep your calendar organized and try your hardest to get things done early. Saving shopping, baking and wrapping until the last minute won’t be kind on your stress level.
Savor the moment.
Hopefully, by doing some of these things, you’ll be better able to hold off the holiday stress and enjoy the special times with your family. Because, really that’s what it is all about. Keep the reason for the season in the forefront of your mind and everything else will fall into place.
What are your best sanity-saving tips? I’d love to hear them.
Dawn Berryman is the founder of MarketMommy.com and Market Mommy:: The Blog, online marketing resources for mom entrepreneurs. Market Mommy shows moms how and where to market their businesses. She holds a B.A. from Indiana University and has worked in the marketing/communications field for more than 8 years. She resides in rural Ohio with her husband and two young children. For more information, please see: Market Mommy.