The Busy Christmas “Juggle Bells”

Busy business owners with little school aged kiddies will completely understand my mild panic attack when it dawned on me this morning my kids have one week of school left this year!

As I write this, my ‘brain-dump’ board of everything I want and need to achieve before the delightful chaos that will ensue, is chock-a-block! Realistically I know with all the usual interruptions, I anticipate only 70-80% of these actions will be done before that last school pick-up for 2018.

Being a business owner with a small family can be tough at this time of year… many can’t afford the (almost) two months off their own business and not to mention the feeling of guilt by being an absent parent, usual client needs and all those standard tasks that still need to happen, it can be really hard!

With that being said I wanted to share a couple of hacks that have saved me for the last couple of years, it has meant my clients don’t become disengaged, my kids still get to treasure precious family time, and I am not needing to book an emergency trip to the hairdresser to cover my increased growth in greys!

I hope that at least one of these might be able to help you too…

The Brain-dump: Grab a big sheet of paper (or a blank wall) and a pack of post it notes, scribble all those tasks down that are stuck in your head that you have been thinking about… create 3x title notes; Need to do, love to do and like to do (or something similar) and happily stick all those tasks into the column you feel it fits best. Now for those who love tech… I love using Trello for this but post-its work just as great (remember to take a pic of them just in case they fall off!) Once your happy, focus on the ‘need to do’ first and work your way through the rest, even if you just achieve the first priority list before school ends, your productivity will most likely increase.

Consider splitting your time between work and family: Once school has finished, perhaps work the mornings and stop at lunchtime to plan something with the kids, In my house I try to book them into a holiday program 2-3 days a week and spend the remainder of time with the kids. Sometimes, I will work Tuesday – Thursday and take Friday and Monday off so we can head away for a break.

Client Communication: If you plan on emailing your clients to share a Christmas message, let them know your hours will be reducing during the holidays and that you will be available intermittently, be clear that outside these times, they can call / email but you will have your mum/dad hat on so they can expect a minor delay. Also consider changing your business voicemail with hours of operation and update your out of office on email, so people know when you are working… at the end of the day, if it’s still urgent, they will still be able to track you down, but you have pre-warned them of any time delays.

Delegation: Who in your office can you delegate to? If you’re a small business, perhaps consider outsourcing some duties during the break? We have a number of clients who delegate tasks to us during this holiday period so they too get a rest, albeit they have pre-planned this 4-6 months ago, but it means they truly get a chance to step away from the business and trust that things are still ticking along.

Realisation: Respect the fact that you might not be able to do it all! I learnt a long time ago (yep, the hard way!) that you can’t be everything to everyone and still wear a superhero cape! I am allergic to housework and my Mt Wash-more (aka clean clothes pile) may require a ski pass, but guess what? I’ve had fun doing the juggle and the kids have had precious memories created… and let’s face it, you can either work as a team with your partner, hire a cleaner or turn things like this into a game with the kids to get it all done and never miss out on that quality time.

At the end of the day, it’s time you can’t get back from the business or the family so you need to choose what works, when and where, be prepared to adapt to suit and don’t stress! After all, this is a chance for you to step back and have a breath too! Life is way too short.

My most favorite memory of a family holiday was going camping in the suburb next to us! We packed up the gear, drove the long way (via the motorway) so the kids thought we were miles from home and camped for a week! I popped home to get work done when it was needed but we all got to eat, sleep and swim as necessary… For anyone who knows the Hibiscus Coast, we went from Orewa to Red Beach (usually a 5 km trip!); the kids still talk about the awesome holiday by the beach and I will probably tell them the truth at their 21st!

I would love to hear your tips to get through this holiday period, please feel free to share them with us!

In the meantime, from the 5 Star Admin Team and myself, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!