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November 19, 2012

Top 11 Tips For Entrepreneurs to Minimize Stress this Holiday Season

Running a business and being an entrepreneur are stressful activities just on their own. Then comes the holiday season and stress levels can rise through the roof. Additional demands surface during the holidays with family and events taking place. Travel plans need to be made, gifts must be bought, and food needs to be put on the table. Stress during the holiday seasons can take a toll on anyone, and it is important to stay healthy, focused, and organized.

As an entrepreneur, there is always something we can be working on to grow and improve our businesses. We wear many hats and often take care of the sales, marketing, accounting, and janitorial duties for the company. For many businesses, the holidays bring more customers in the door and sales are at their highest levels for the year. This means we have to be on top of our game to make the most of the opportunities. In order to manage our work life with family we need to keep a few items in check.

Stressed Business Owner

Here are a few tips to help out during the holidays this year.

1. Big Picture
Focus on the grand scheme of things for both your business and personal life. Remember that you must balance the two and don’t forget your family and friends are the most important thing in life. Focus on the core business ideas that will help grow your business and brand most efficiently and effectively.

2. Be Positive
It’s essential to keep a positive mindset in life and to keep your self-esteem up. Be the type of person who looks at your champagne glass as being half full instead of half empty. Our mood and mindset is contagious and brings up others around us. The positive mindset will help get you through the highs and lows of running a business over the holidays.

3. Create a To-Do-List
It is hard to be productive without a to-do-list. At the start of each day, create a list of tasks and goals that must be accomplished. Check off each item as it’s been completed. A planned to-do-list will minimize distractions and increase productivity.

4. Prioritize – RGA vs MWA
We all have a million things to get done each day. Try to focus on the most important items that need to accomplished. Think about what has to be done and would make the biggest difference to your business. For example, if you are starting a new job around the holiday period as a truck driver, looking into truck insurance uk (if you're from the UK) would be essential and a priority. Once done, you can tick that off your list! Some things can be put on the backburner if they are not that important. Focus on Revenue Generating Activities for your business. Meaning, focus on what’s going to improve the bottom line. I like to refer to less important tasks as MWA (Minimum Wage Activity).

5. Be Realistic
While we always need to be challenging ourselves and pushing each other to the next level, we must be realistic about expectations. While planning out your day, be sure to give yourself and team enough time to get tasks accomplished. If a project deadline for a client is coming up, make sure that it is done on time. Never overpromise and under deliver. It’s a simple saying all too many of us tend to forget.

6. Say No
Saying no to potential business is hard to do. People tend to want to take everything on even if it spreads themselves too thin. Say no to jobs that will bring you less of a return and focus on the items and client’s that will boost your bottom line. The Pareto’s principal or 80/20 rule is brought to mind. Focus on the 80% of business that comes from 20% of your customers.

7. Communicate
Communication is essential to balancing the holiday season between your family and business. Start the season out right by communicating with your spouse, family, business partners, and employees. Have a plan on how you are going to manage the business each week. Talk over difficult decisions and work things out in person so everyone is on the same page.

8. Get up Early
Getting up early is a great way to relieve stress and get more accomplished during the day. Getting up at 5 or 6 will give you time to go out for a run, meditate, practice yoga, read, write, or get some peace and quiet. You might even be able to make an extra batch of ginger bread cookies! By the time 8am rolls around you’ll already have a number of tasks crossed off the list. (Related post with tips and benefits of getting up early)

9. Exercise
Go out for a run, hit up the ski slopes, or visit the gym. Exercise has been proven to relieve stress and make you feel better. It is an excellent activity to clear your mind and get the endorphins flowing. During exercise you can brainstorm new ideas and solutions to any problems or issues you may have. Plan a designated time to exercise each day. Try to workout first thing so you don’t get interrupted or find an excuse to cancel later in the day. (Related article about the benefits of exercise for entrepreneurs)

10. Take time to re-charge and take care of yourself
Running a business is hard work and we all need time to relax and take care of ourselves. Don’t be afraid to take a nap, coffee break, night out, or much needed getaway. Escape from your business and think about something else for a change. Schedule a massage or simply relax. You’ll come back to the office rejuvenated and ready to be productive.

11. Think and Reflect
We often get caught up thinking about our business 24/7 and don’t spend time reflecting on the big picture and how things are going for our lives in general. Spend a few minutes each day to think, reflect, and review goals you’ve set.

Ending note….

Using these tips will help you become more at peace with running a business and managing your life this holiday season. Best of luck with everything and enjoy each and everyday.

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