While the holidays are a time of joy and celebration, they’re also a time of stress. Yes, plenty of stress. Were your shipments waylaid by Hurricane Sandy? Perhaps, they’re in but they’re not selling? Or maybe you underestimated how much people would buy this year and you don’t have enough inventory?
As a young entrepreneur, unfortunately, you’ll be more likely to get caught off guard this time of year than your more-seasoned counterparts. After all, maybe this is your first rodeo.
Here’s how to avoid the stressed-out hustle and bustle and gird for the holidays in all their frenzied glory:
1. Get organized.
You have a calendar. You know the holidays are fast approaching. Get prepared and start making some plans. Forecast what kind of additional business you’ll be gaining during the holiday boom. Note and set aside the time you’ll be spending with your family far in advance so that you’ll ease through it seamlessly.
Let your customers and clients know that turnaround time may be slightly slower due to the holiday season. They’ll understand. As long as you’re still fair and fairly speedy, it’s expected for everyone to slow down a little bit.
3. Thank them too.
While you’re chatting, it’s probably a good time to start wishing your customers a happy holiday season. They’ll appreciate the personal touch and will be reminded about your services during a giving time of year. Send out your notices early enough to get attention, but not so early it seems intrusive.
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4. Ask for help.
Ask some people you trust to assist you if get inundated with work. Having a quality pool of go-to employees is a wise move. But mostly, get your ducks in order before the holiday rush. By the time the tide rushes in, you’ll already have your surfboard ready.
5. Give yourself a break.
Don’t forget that everyone deserves a great holiday season — even if you have a lot of work to do. Take some time for your family and yourself. Put aside a day or two early on to get your personal shopping done. You take the initiative in your business life, why not do the same in your personal life? Something simple like getting your holiday shopping out of the way can be a huge stress reliever down the line.
6. Set boundaries.
Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you can drop everything and run out ice -skating every afternoon. It’s important to gently remind your family that while you will be spending plenty of quality time with them, your work remains your work. Let them know that you’re not to be distracted during certain hours. This may be especially difficult if you work from home and the house is full of visiting family members. Be stern. Close your office door and stay focused. If you prefer, take your work elsewhere for a while. In the evening, join your loved ones for eggnog and cheer.
How are you attempting to reduce your stress load during the holidays? Let us know in the comments below.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.