The holidays are a bright, cheery time of year when everyone is joyful and kind and never thinks about the stresses of work. Uh huh, sure they are. The truth is that the holidays can be pretty stressful for many, especially entrepreneurs trying to balance the sometimes all-encompassing responsibility of growing a company while trying to have a life outside their office walls.
When you work as an employee, the time between thanksgiving and the new year tends to be a bit more relaxed. There are a few more happy hours, holiday parties to attend, presents to buy and more eggnog comas than you can count. Take a load off, it’s the holidays. Entrepreneurs and business owners feel the urge to do this too, but the truth is that their workload may keep them from spending the quality time they and their loved ones deserve.
It’s hard to stay focused when the new year is right around the corner and your to-do list is never-ending, but these tricks and tools might just keep you on track, reduce stress levels and give you a much needed break every once in a while.
- One of the best ways you can create more time for yourself is by being more productive during your working hours. You can do this by a) creating lists, plans and targets for yourself in apps like Trello, or on a plain ol’ notepad if that’s your style, and b) tracking your work with a time tracking app like Toggl. That way, at the end of the day, you can see what you accomplished, how much time it took, and where you should be asking for help or outsourcing. It’s a no brainer.
- When you are with your family or friends (or just generally out of your work environment) make rules for yourself so that you are fully present instead of answering emails on your smartphone or thinking about that project you’ve been working on. This might mean taking some time-wasting apps off your phone or putting the phone away altogether. It could also mean planning activities that get you out for some quality time with your loved ones instead of sitting around in front of devices together. If you dedicate time to non-work activities, you’ll feel refreshed when you’re back at your desk!
- Practice mindfulness to manage stress by making time for exercise and/or downloading an app like Headspace (I know, I just told you to put down your phone). Clear your mind once a day to make sure it has room to process everything, and so you sleep better.
- If you’re feeling like you’ve lost direction over the course of the year and are scrambling to get back on track, take a little time to put together a plan for the new year, but don’t work on it yet. Having a plan in place may help you to relax and attain a new sense of focus, knowing that you’ll be ready to hit the ground running in the new year.
- If you feel like you’ve spent another year overworking and under-sleeping maybe it’s time to look at hiring or outsourcing to reduce your workload (so you can focus on growing your company). Hit sites like FreeeUp to find your next freelancer or full-time hire.
They say that entrepreneurs will work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week for someone else, and that passion is great, but sometimes, those 80 hours aren’t as productive as they could be. By implementing some of the tips and tools I’ve suggested, you’ll be more productive, less stressed, and may even have time for a few more glasses of eggnog this holiday season.