The holiday season usually means a frenzy of parties, shopping and family traditions where you’re expected to show up at every event. Surveys show 86 percent of companies have holiday parties, so even if you’re a company of one, you’ll probably be invited to a client’s party. You value your time as much as the next entrepreneur, but as a small business owner you can’t just tell the boss you need some time off. Luckily, there are many ways to lessen the effect of holiday distractions on your business, and we rounded up the best six.
1. Spread your tasks out over several days.
Of course, there will always be last-minute things to do, and no, you can’t plan for everything—but try not to pack too much into one day. Usually when we feel overwhelmed, it’s easier to get sucked into holiday distractions to avoid tackling big jobs. Spread big projects out over a few days so you have some breathing room, and don’t beat yourself up if it doesn't all get done at once.
2. Spread your holiday festivities out, too.
Try never to schedule two events on consecutive days. You’ll end up more behind than if you have a solid workday in between. If you can’t say yes to every invitation, make a note on your calendar to contact the person (or people) after the holidays.
3. Make your office a place of solitude and regrouping.
Your office should be where you can really hunker down when you need to. Make it a point to spend a portion of each day in your office with the door closed. You can use the time to work or even do some stress-relieving meditation.
4. Cut employees a break.
Even if you just have virtual employees or use independent contractors, realize the season is a busy time for everyone. Don’t make it more stressful for everyone by being an Ebenezer Scrooge. Talk to workers about their schedules and arrange for time off in advance. In return for some flexibility, workers should know you expect them not to be distracted during work hours.
5. Use the cloud to make accessing important information easier.
You’re likely out of the office and running around more during the holidays. Store all your important business information in the cloud so if you get a phone call from a client out of the blue, you can solve the issue quickly no matter where you are.
6. Combine personal and business networking events.
The best way not to get too distracted by holiday activities is to combine them. Set up a networking/holiday party in your meeting room. The holidays are a perfect time to build relationships and office camaraderie.
Lessening holiday distractions helps you avoid starting the new year with too much left over on your to-do list. Giving in to distractions can hurt your business by putting you in permanent catch-up mode, which isn’t anything to celebrate about.
Photo Credit: iStock/Thinkstock