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Holiday Madness

Building a bigger and better business.

Is there any time of year more delightful than the winter holiday season? It's chock-full of fun, festivities--and distractions. For homebased business owners, the temptations are often even greater. So how can you resist the lure of making Christmas lists, shopping and decorating when you should be working?

The best strategy is a realistic one, says Denise Riches, owner of Aspen Communications, a homebased newsletter publishing and design firm in Irvine, California. First, be sure the work you're forcing yourself to do really needs to be done. "This is a stressful time of year, and increasing your stress level by setting unrealistic goals only adds to the problem," she says. "If something can wait until after the holidays, let it wait."

It's critical to plan ahead. Before the holiday season kicks into high gear, check with your clients to determine what their holiday schedules are and how they'll affect you. Also, if you want to take time off for yourself, you may need to coordinate that with your regular clients.

Riches belongs to a homebased business networking group, and members motivate one another to stay focused during the holiday season. Also, if she's having trouble completing routine work, Riches tackles year-end tasks instead, which keeps her productive but provides a change of pace.

But sometimes, Riches concedes, the best strategy is to briefly give in to the lure of the holidays. Take a break, do a little Christmas shopping--but then get back to work.

Jacquelyn Lynn is a freelance writer in Winter Park, Florida.

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