Heading into the Holidays: How to Create Work/Life Balance as an Entrepreneur

With Thanksgiving a mere 9 days away and Christmas 41 days away (!), it’s hard to believe the holiday season is almost here. The impending arrival of the holidays can feel both sudden and unexpected, and no matter what your job, industry, or income level, for many, the holidays bring a unique blend of excitement and anxiety. Some of us have been planning for the holiday season with unbridled anticipation, but for others the season of giving often means getting a handful of stress, anxiety, and a pressure to provide -- from both our employer and our family.

Whether you’re working to meet the numbers or planning to meet the parents (which can be an experience as scary as fourth quarter quotas, let’s be honest), the holidays bring a certain level of pressure felt differently than the rest of the year. With endless Christmas music, holiday commercials, and cookie exchanges, it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos and forget about resting and recharging. (We’re not complaining about the cookie exchanges, by the way.)

As an entrepreneur, the arrival of the holidays brings a different kind of stress. Whether you’re a one-man (or woman) operation, or leading a small (but growing) enterprise, the pressure to deliver can feel like they weigh heavily on you--and you alone. With so much of your professional life permeating your personal life, how do you balance the two and create a meaningful holiday experience for both yourself and your family?

We’ve compiled some tips to help you handle work/life balance as we head into the holiday season.

Plan Your Work & Work Your Plan

Let your colleagues, clients, and employees know of your holiday plans ahead of time and be very clear about it. Whether this involves your days off or your plan to meet deadlines early, letting others know about your plans for the holidays will not only allow you to optimize your time off, but will cut down on work-related interruptions during your celebrations.

Set Boundaries

It’s important to let your network know about your holidays plans, but it’s even more important to make sure you hold them -- and yourself -- accountable to those plans. No unnecessary meetings, phone calls, or work hours should be scheduled during your holiday time. Work around the holiday time you’ve set aside for yourself and keep yourself honest about it.

Commit to Your Commitments

What we mean is...actually take time off on your days off! While it’s important to always be aware of your company’s performance, holiday time off is not the time to be checking in. Turn off your phone notifications, emails, alerts -- whatever you have to do to really unplug. The work will always be there.

Invest in Your Family, Not Your Portfolio

Make family time a priority during the holidays. Instead of “leaning in” to your business, be sure to “lean in” to your family and making the most of the time spent together. While family time during the holidays can be another source of stress all together, it’s still worth it. Many times it’s easy to disappear into work, but even making small changes like being more mentally present during holiday celebrations can nurture and even inspire you.

Take the Vacation, Not the Guilt Trip

So you’ve done everything above, you’ve made it to your holiday break, and despite it all, you can’t help but feel a nagging feeling that you should be working, or you should be checking your email, or you should have sent out that last email blast before taking time off. These are feelings of guilt and it’s not a trip worth taking. Taking time off is never a bad thing, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up for it. In fact, taking time off mentally and physically can actually help you recharge and boost your performance when you return to work -- enjoy it!

We hope these tips help you as you head into the holiday season. Regardless if you’re an employee or an entrepreneur, it’s important to take time off and enjoy a break. Creating work/life balance is often more of a mindset than an actual schedule, and heading into the holidays knowing the value of a little R&R can make all the difference. Good luck -- and Happy Holidays!

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