10 Holiday Survival Tips for Home Business Owners

The holidays bring a unique set of challenges to home business owners. You may be crazy busy with your business or it may slow down and cause you to worry about money. Your customers and clients may become more demanding as they try to finish things up before the holidays. And then there’s all of the holiday prep you have to finish: decorations, gift shopping, gift wrapping, cooking, cleaning, prepping for guests…. It’s enough to fill even the most stalwart business owner with holiday dread. But there are things you can do to decrease your pre-holiday stress and overwhelm and get back to actually enjoying the holiday season! Here are 10 Holiday Survival Tips for Home Business Owners!

10 Holiday Survival Tips for Home Business Owners

Ideally, the holidays are a time for fun and family, but for many of us, it’s the busiest time of year. Between holiday prep and keeping our businesses afloat through the holiday season, this time of year can become more of a drag than a time for celebration and family fun.

But it doesn’t have to be that way!

Let’s talk about 10 Holiday Survival Tips for Home Business Owners, so that you can stress less this season and enjoy the holidays more.

#1 Make a Plan

10 Holiday Survival Tips for Home Business Owners | Calyx Organizing

Christmas is a little over 6 weeks away…

Did your stomach just flip?

Mine did!

What needs to get done in the next few weeks?

Make a list!

Dump all of the to-do’s out of your brain and onto a piece of paper or into a notebook!

Get out a timer and a notepad and write for 10-15 minutes. Consider all areas of your life: business, home, spouse/significant other, parent, child, friend, pet owner, church member, group member, extended family member, etc.

Lay out all of those to-do’s, so that you can prioritize and make a plan.

Next, ask yourself a few questions:

  • What MUST be done?
  • What are you looking forward to doing?
  • And what could you let go of in order to enjoy this time of year more?
  • What tasks could you delegate?
  • Could you find some money in the budget to hire tasks out?
  • What about swapping tasks with a friend, so that you’re both working in your “area of genius (or area of enjoyment)?”

Hopefully, those questions lightened the load a bit and inspired some excitement for this season.

Now, categorize your list by weeks using 1-6 (or the remaining number of weeks until Christmas).

What needs to be done in Week 1? What can be completed in Week 6? And what must be completed in all of the weeks in between?

Now, you have a plan, and you can work it to be prepared ahead of time!

I talk more about brain dumps and making a plan for your to-do’s in this post: 6 Things To Do on Sunday for the Best Work Week Ever.

#2 Work Your Plan

Each week, look at the list you created in tip #1 and add that week’s tasks to your planner or daily to-do list.

If you find tasks that you’re dreading, explore alternatives or consider dropping those tasks completely. This is your business and your holiday season. Make them work for you and your family!

It works best for me to plan on completing one task per weekday or 3-5 each week, but you may schedule more or less depending on your to-do list and your other time commitments.

Try not to add more stress to your life by adding a huge number of items to your list each week. These first couple of tips are meant to make your life easier. Not more stressful!

#3 Work Smarter

This time of year, there’s double the work to do and half the time to do it. So, what’s a stressed biz owner to do?

Work smarter, so that you can get more done in less time!

Here are 3 key components of working smarter:

Routines – Creating a routine is a simple way to get more done in less time. By establishing a routine, tasks become habit. Not only do we avoid fighting with our inner voice who just wants to have fun, we do the tasks the same way every time, so they get done faster and with a lower output of energy!

Check out these posts for more information about office organizing routines you can create:

Your To-Do List – There’s an art to writing a good to-do list, and it’s a huge part of being efficient and working smart.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Start each week with a brain dump: record all of the things you need to complete in the coming weeks, then prioritize the list to find the most important and most urgent tasks.
  • Keep your daily to-do lists short; no more than 3-5 tasks.
  • Break larger tasks and projects down into single steps and write them as action steps.
10 Holiday Survival Tips for Home Business Owners | Calyx Organizing

FOCUS – I left this one for last, because it’s the most important. FOCUS on one thing at a time!

We live in a world where multitasking is cool and revered, but in reality, multitasking crushes our effectiveness.

Scattered and distracted are the enemies of working smart, so turn off those notifications, close your extra browser windows, set a timer for 15-30 minutes, and FOCUS on one thing!

#4 Just Say No!

No is not a bad word, and the holiday months are the perfect time to practice using it!

So, your child’s teacher wants you to bake cupcakes for the whole class. What do you say? No (but maybe you say you’d love to help around Valentine’s Day when your schedule is a little less nuts)!

Your client wants you to take on an additional project. What do you say? No!

Don’t have the energy to send out holiday cards? Just say NO!

By saying no to things that don’t fit with your priorities or that don’t excite you, you can say yes to those things that really matter to you.

Practice saying no often, especially during this time of year.

#5 Use Down Time Effectively

Maybe your business slows down around the holidays. So, why not use some of your business time to propel you into the new year successfully?!

Clear the clutter, tackle energy sucking unfinished projects, clear out your paper clutter and digital files, learn something new, or rearrange your office into zones for better productivity!

Check out our Conquer Office Paper Clutter series: The First Step to Conquer Office Paper Clutter.

Get started with organizing your office: How to Organize Your Home Office in 8 Steps.

#6 Call in Reinforcements

We aren’t superhuman, and there’s nothing wrong with asking for or hiring a little help during this busy time of year!

  • Employ a house cleaner.
  • Hire a dog walker.
  • Pay a babysitter for a few extra hours a week.
  • Hire a Virtual Assistant or Social Media Manager.
  • Trade your organization skills to your friend who is an amazing cook. You receive a frozen, home-cooked meal, and she gets a newly organized home office! Talk to your friends and neighbors. You might be surprised at the mutually beneficial arrangements you can make during a conversation.
  • Get your kids involved in your home business.
  • Have a frank conversation with your significant other and ask for help.

Get creative and ask for and offer help!

#7 Set Strong Boundaries

It’s tempting to burn the candle at both ends during this busy time of year, but that also means you run the risk of burning out or getting sick (which will put you even further behind).

Set strong boundaries regarding things like quitting time, client phone time, taking on additional work, taking on additional responsibilities, YOU time, family time, and bedtime (for you and your kids).

#8 Take a Break

Take a little time off and enjoy your family and friends during this special time of year. Schedule an hour in the afternoon for a cup of tea and reading a few pages in a good book.

Or take a few days off.

Or both!

Your work will be there waiting for you, and you’ll come back to it refreshed, excited, and filled with a renewed creativity.

#9 Cultivate Gratitude

10 Holiday Survival Tips for Home Business Owners | Calyx Organizing

How are you feeling at this moment? Stressed? Tired? Frustrated? Overwhelmed?

Stop what you’re doing right now and write down 10 things for which you’re grateful.

Go ahead. I’ll wait….

Done? So, how do you feel now?

Better? Isn’t that awesome?!

The power of gratitude amazes me. It affects my perception, my attitude, my facial expressions, and my health.

Express gratitude every day during this busy time of year (and beyond) and truly experience the beauty of this season!

#10 Find Meaning

This tip goes hand-in-hand with the one above….

What does this time of year mean for you?

For us, this time of year is all about family, fun, and traditions. There’s our Solstice Elves tradition where we draw names and spend the two weeks before Christmas doing kind and considerate things for each other.

We all look forward to our Christmas Eve dinner when my husband cooks a favorite food for each family member, then we play Monopoly into the wee hours of Christmas morning.

Watching uplifting Christmas movies as a family, baking cookies and sharing with the neighbors, enjoying popcorn and hot chocolate while we drive around and look at lights….

These are the things that matter to me and my family, and now that all of my kids are living on their own, this year will be even more meaningful as we gather together and enjoy our holiday traditions.

Find what matters to you and your family this holiday season and make time for those activities and traditions.

10 Holiday Survival Tips for Home Business Owners

The holidays bring a unique set of challenges to business owners working at home, but you can keep your business afloat AND enjoy this special holiday season by employing these holiday survival tips. Start by choosing one or two of the tips to work into your day, then add another and another, until you decrease your stress and get back to actually enjoying the holiday season!

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I hope you found these tips helpful. Let’s make a pact to not only survive this holiday season but thrive during it!

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