As I write this, on November 15, my thoughts are beginning to turn to Holiday Season. It feels just around the corner.
This sense is heightened by all my local stores having Christmas products on full display, local restaurants promoting their festive menus and clients sending me invitations for holiday drinks.
I love this time of year. The weather is getting colder. It gets dark earlier (by 5pm GMT here in the UK), I’m wrapping up more and I’m beginning to think about spending time with the people I value the most.
I’m also thinking about how I can balance the management and development of my business with all of the time I’ll be spending away from the business.
Are you in a similar position?
For many entrepreneurs, the holiday season can be a stressful time.
There is the worry about being away from work; there’s the often never ending socialising, the unusual amount of travelling we often undertake.
There’s the huge amount of invitations we receive to festive activities combined with the committed activities we have within our business and with friends and family.
With only 24 hours in the day to run your business and still get the most out of the holiday season many people ask me what the best strategy is to stay motivated, focused and still have the time to celebrate and relax during the holiday season.
My advice. Embrace the holiday season but be intentional and mindful of what you commit to and where you spend your time.
Here are 6 strategies to remove any overwhelm and stress and keep you focused, productive and your energy levels high throughout the holiday season.
1. Slow Down and Focus on Your Priorities
I recommend creating a Morning Routine throughout the year but it becomes even more important during the Holiday Season as we often stay up longer than usual, meaning our energy levels can drop.
Meditate, talk a long walk and clearly plan out your activities for the day to help clear your mind and mentally prepare yourself for the day ahead.
Understand what’s important during this holiday season and recognise that you only have so much time in the day and if you’re combining social and business activities reduce your Priority List to only a small number of key projects or tasks.
To help you achieve this schedule everything and work simpler and smarter. Ask yourself if a meeting or opportunity is important or it can wait.
This way you won’t overcommit and you’ll still feel you have achieved something important, boosting your confidence, motivation and momentum.
Build in automation where possible. Schedule social updates and create automated messages for when you’re not in the office.
Remove as many distractions as possible especially notifications on your smart phone.
2. Create a ‘Success Criteria’ for everything you’re doing
How many business and personal invitations are you expecting this holiday season? Sometimes it’s difficult to decide which ones to accept and which ones to say no to.
If the business invitation will boost your capabilities, credibility, confidence, connections and creativity then this should be a Yes to attending.
If the invitation won’t do any of those things, then it’s probably best to say No if you’re really struggling to manage your time.
With any opportunity to spend time with peers, customers/clients, suppliers and your network during the holidays build in success criteria so you are fully present.
Ask yourself what’s the purpose of attending? What is the ideal outcome? What’s the worst that can happen? What’s the best that can happen
This way you will always be achieving something.
3. Give Yourself And Your Customers Some Love
Make the holidays a time to strengthen relationships, both business and personal.
Your customers/clients are the heartbeat of your business so give them some real love during the holidays.
Give them a call to say thank you, send them a personalised, handwritten Happy Holidays card. Show your appreciation and gratitude.
Take the most important people out to lunch or dinner. Pick up the phone or send a heartfelt gift to someone that really means a lot to you.
The holidays are also a great time to recharge your batteries, so give yourself some time out of the business – lunch with friends, spa days etc but give yourself some real attention. That time spent working on yourself will pay huge dividends in the future.
4. Analyse where you’re spending your time
The holidays are also a great time for self and business analysis. Give yourself some space to think about where you are and where you want to get to.
You may be really busy during the holidays or a bit slower but either way it is a great opportunity to analyse where you spend your time.
Are you spending enough time on the big opportunities within your business?
Try this. Create 3 columns on a page, A, B and C. Think about where you’ve spent your time in the last week and decide if the activity is A – Day to Day ‘Stuff’; B – OK activity that makes money and you’re happy to do; or C – work that inspires you and brings you the biggest impact and motivation.
Once you’ve done this work out the percentage of time in A, B and C. The make a commitment to spend more time in your C column, working on the biggest opportunities in your business.
5. Give yourself time to reflect of what you’ve achieved
You will have space and time during the holidays so use this time wisely to reflect on your achievements.
Think about it more about how far you’ve come rather than how far away you are from bigger vision based goals.
Express gratitude to yourself and all of the people who have helped you get there.
This reflection will create serious momentum in your business and will create that clarity and focus on your business growth when you return from the holidays.
6. Create time to strategise and plan for 2018, locking down Q1
Once you’ve given yourself some time to reflect, then set aside some real time, I’m talking at least a day, for some real business and life strategy and planning.
If you don’t usually set goals, I recommend starting with the end in mind and setting a three-year vision for you personally and your business.
Then work back from the three years and create a number of 90 Day Goals for you to focus on. Five Goals to achieve in the next 90 days would be a good place to start.
Then put some deadlines and measurements in place and create an executable plan.
So, there you have it, my 6 strategies for getting the most out of this upcoming holiday season. Enjoy the festivities!