The holidays are stressful for almost everyone, but for entrepreneurs, it can get it a little crazy. Give yourself the gift of less stress this holiday season.
Planning budgets. Conducting employee reviews. Thanking customers. Scrutinizing expenses. Renewing and canceling contracts. Preparing for taxes. Setting annual goals. All of that, plus the regular hustle and bustle of gifts, festivities, and family commitments.
The end of the year is stressful for everyone. It's downright nutty for business owners.
While many business-to-business companies slow down after Thanksgiving, mine always seems to get crazier. Our technology clients are already planning for springtime launches, which means the marketing starts now. While others are taking leisurely lunches to finish holiday shopping, my team is eating at their desks and working late to meet end-of-year project requests.
If you’re feeling more flustered than festive, here are a few tips to help reduce your holiday stress:
Extra gifts Buy a few extra goodies for office guests or friends who drop by. Have a few boxes of candy, bottles of wine, or copies of your favorite book handy, along with a roll of wire-trimmed ribbon and gift bags from the craft store. This way, you can enjoy last-minute visits instead of feeling guilty for not reciprocating.
Tag-team Let your team help tackle those to-do lists. Need a size 12 camouflage hoodie? Purple infinity scarf? Best tamales in town? Share your yet-unfilled to-dos with team members so everyone can be on the lookout for the elusive Breaking Bad DVD set or bûche de Nöel. Teamwork in action!
Delegate Timesavers are everywhere. Hire a personal assistant or errand runner to shop, wrap, ship, clean, decorate, deliver food, return gifts, and more. Just Google local services, hire an eager college student, or use one of many apps like TaskRabbit and Exec.
Just say no Cocktail parties, cookie exchanges, open houses and other holiday gatherings are a lovely time to catch up with friends, colleagues and customers. But if you’re overwhelmed, give yourself permission to take a pass. Substitute a casual coffee or drink with someone special as a great alternative to an hours-long, dress-up-and-schmooze holiday event.
Add a wee bit of spirit It’s amazing how a few inexpensive strings of colored lights, a bowl of candy, cinnamon candles or festive decorations can lift your weary, Grinchy spirit. Let employees (and children) get creative and decorate any way they want. Even old-fashioned paper chains and snowflakes made from copier paper can add whimsy to your work environment. And if you have to work long hours, embrace the chaos with some peppermint bark, an eggnog latte, reggae holiday music and fuzzy boots.
Cut yourself some slack Let emails pile up in your inbox for a few days. Buy cookies instead of baking all night. Forget Christmas cards this year. That’s what Facebook is for anyway. Online shopping is easier than ever. Be kind to yourself and spend time doing things that make YOU happy.
RENE SHIMADA SIEGEL is founder and president of High Tech Connect, a unique consulting partner for expert marketing and communications. After a successful career in Silicon Valley, she founded her company 15 years ago while juggling three kids under the age of five. @renesiegel