By now if like many of us, you’re a woman who runs her own business, then you’re probably beginning to panic.
Are the fridge/cupboards stocked, presents bought, spare room ready for visitors? Will I remember to turn up to every school concert, fundraising event and written umpteen cards to family as well as business associates and clients?
How will I cope over the festive season? Take a deep breath – and make a list …. or four.
List 1 – Work
You still need to get your ‘to do’ list completed, regardless of how much outside life tries to intrude. Just tell yourself that there is life after the holiday season and not only do you not want to return to your work space and be faced with moaning clients and missed deadlines/orders but you need return to a healthy bank account. Bills still need to be paid in January.
- At the top of your list, show your outstanding work commitments, mark a wall planner to show how and when this work will be accommodated.
- Pencil in a half day to make out invoices and send them off so that your cash flow continues to work – perhaps do this in the next seven days so that they are in the system with your client’s account department.
- Pay your suppliers so that you do not have a hold up of services when you are raring to get back to work come the beginning of the New Year.
List 2: Gifts/Cards, etc
What about gifts and cards for clients? Is this something you intended to do but forgot?
- Instead of rushing out to shop, wrap, post gifts and write cards, why not use online services instead. Or why not order plants or flowers and arrange for delivery just before the Holidays. Your clients will remember you and your business over the holiday every time they set their eyes upon a floral display more so than the umpteenth box of biscuits or chocolates.
- Cards can be sent online. I’ve done this for the past two years with a company called Jacqui Lawson and it has worked brilliantly. In fact the task of picking gifts and sending cards to clients and associates need not eat into your working day but can be done at home once the children are in bed as online shopping does not close the doors come 5 pm.
- If you have a website, post a festive greeting on the home page and a note of when your office will reopen.
List 3 – Family Commitments
- It’s amazing how many times we forget a pre-Christmas event or an appointment. Collate the family calendar information and add it to your work wall planner. Does anything overlap? Do not for one minute think you can fit two appointments into one afternoon. Traffic, parking and tempers are not good in the run up to Christmas, so better to adjust your plans to fit – but do not put off your work. Expect instead to work a few extra hours either in the morning or at night (let your partner look after the kids?) rather than gradually get behind with work as the holiday approaches.
- What about child care? Some schools finish early, how can you work around caring for a child or two? How about sharing child care with a fellow working mum so that one takes the children whilst the other works and vice versa the next day? Perhaps there is a member of the family who could step in, take the children for a walk, swimming or to tea at their own house to free up a few hours?
List 4 – Family time together
- You don’t need to be superwoman. If the spare bedroom needs cleaning, beds need making, STUFF to do, then let the family muck in and help.
- Forget food shopping unless you do it early and stock the freezer. Book a delivery slot with your favorite supermarket and order festive food online whilst enjoying a glass of wine in the evening. If your family expects home baked food, cheat! Egg wash frozen sausages rolls, sprinkle icing sugar on shop bought mince pies – everyone will be fooled.
- Set a time when you will stop work for the Holidays, but remember that unlike some of your ‘employee’ family members, you don’t have the luxury of paid leave for two or three weeks, so aim to fit in some work between Christmas and New Year.
And last but not least, enjoy a well-deserved break!