The holidays can present unique challenges for home business management. Vacation time for family members combined with seasonal events to prepare for and attend can disrupt your normal work schedule, getting you out of rhythm, which can negatively impact your stress levels and productivity. To help combat this, try these tips to proactively manage your work-life balance so that you can feel accomplished and in control while still being able to enjoy the holiday yourself.
Reconfirm to Yourself What You Are in Business For
Many people who start home businesses do so because they value the flexibility it gives to balance work with family needs or the pursuit of personal interests. If this is the case for you, then there’s nothing wrong with taking some time off for other things that are important to you. Just give your clients plenty of notice of anticipated changes in your availability so that they can plan ahead for it.
Consider Alternative Work Sites
If you need to keep working, however, or if you have specific business goals you want to accomplish instead of taking time off now, you might struggle with having other people at home during hours you’re used to having a quiet house to work in. Discuss your environmental needs with family members or roommates while remaining sensitive to their feelings and expectations concerning things that they want to do during their off-time, and see if there’s any balance that can be found that won’t cause hardship or resentment. Try dividing your work up between tasks that absolutely must be done at home and tasks that can be done elsewhere. Then look for places in your area where you might be able to spend part of your workday, such as coffee shops, libraries, or parks and events you can take children to if need be, to have plenty of options to offer for everyone’s desires to be met with minimal compromise.
Prioritize Values Over Goals
There are many months in the year to pursue business goals, but the holiday months offer other kinds of special opportunities for family, social, and charitable events that aren’t so abundant other times of the year. Resisting the appeal of such events to remain duty-bound to your work may seem like a responsible thing to do, but you might miss out on great opportunities for personal enrichment, creating memories, meeting new people, and living out your deepest values. Plus, other benefits for your business, such as increasing your social network and reputation in the community, can be achieved more effectively by attending these kinds of activities than by staying at home. You can polish up your Facebook page or design some new business cards to make the most of such outings, but remember it’s also okay to have fun while you work. In fact, you’ll likely get more out of the experience and make a better impression with others if you do.
Be Festive and Cheerful
A lot of people get bogged down in their holiday to-do lists and miss the joy of the season. A little hospitality – either real or virtual – can do a lot for creating goodwill with customers, associates, and the general public. It will also be a big spiritual boost to you, too. In addition, working on some creative or relationship building projects like sending out holiday cards or letters, uploading a seasonal theme to your web site, or hosting festive games and trivia through networks like Facebook or Twitter will develop new skill sets and samples to grow your portfolio and keep you feeling productive during times that may not allow enough focus to accomplish more technical aspects of your work.
Opportunities abound for new work projects that match well with the spirit of the season, so don’t lock yourself into trying to conduct business as usual during an unusual time. Enjoy and rejuvenate yourself either within your workday or with some time off so that, instead of being stressed out, you’ll be fully recharged and ready to go back to your regular workday and business goals at the start of the new year.