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Combining prosperous work lives and balanced personal lives
December 2001

This is the web edition of my free e-mail newsletter for women business owners, executives, and professionals. My goal is to bring you news, insights, and information about leading a balanced and prosperous life.

Don't Sing the Holiday Blues

To paraphrase the German philosopher, Goethe, there are two worse conditions business people can have. One is to not get what they want and the other is to get it. Depending on what type of business or profession you work in, this time of year may have you singing one of two types of holiday blues; either to be busier than you want or to be not busy at all.

Seasonally busy careers
Some businesses require extra work hours to serve clients/customers. These include holiday shopping retail businesses, seasonal businesses like selling snow shovels, and businesses with end-of-the-tax-year demands such as financial planning The financial rewards and the continued good will of those you serve can make the extra work worth the effort. However, in these careers the conflicts between your business life and family expectations can have you singing the holiday blues.

For those with increased seasonal demands:

  1. Set priorities on the most important aspects of your life. Your business life is in an active phase now so it will probably be an important priority.
  2. Delegate as much as you can to employees, consultants, and temporary staff.
  3. Have a family meeting about how to celebrate the season and still "make hay while the sun shines." For example, retailers may hold family celebrations after the shopping season is over. This solution isn't traditional but it takes the pressure off of the "work hard, play hard all at the same time" mentality.
  4. Include your spouse and family in your work if appropriate with the understanding that their labor will free you up for some family time. Under-promise and over-deliver.
  5. Put severe limits on everything else. Be brutal about holiday activities not directly connected with your business or family. How many parties and networking events does it take to keep your business going?

Seasonally un-busy careers:
Other businesses such as consulting, construction, or warm weather recreation businesses leave you with time on your hands and lower than average income at this time of year. In addition, whether you celebrate the religious winter holidays or the secular versions, the demands of the season can leave you frazzled and exhausted. If you haven't planned ahead, lower income at a time of the year when many people spend beyond their means can have you singing the holiday blues.

For those with decreased seasonal demands:

  1. Clean out your files. If you haven't used it in a year, toss it. Exceptions include tax records and business records that might be needed for audits and business planning.
  2. Clean out closets. If you haven't used it in a year, toss it. Exceptions include formal clothes and special sports clothes you use occasionally.
  3. Review your business and marketing plans. Where do you want to be in a year? What do you need to do to get there?
  4. Do home improvement projects.
  5. Do some special business projects you never get time to do. Revise your website, brochure, or marketing materials. Design new products or services.
  6. Catch up with family including extended family.

As a busy BossWoman you have a lot of control over what you do and don't do this Holiday season -if you use your decision making power. Here are some personal tips that can help you whistle a happy tune through this season.

  1. Don't hand make anything unless you love doing it, are not stressed by the activity, and feel no time pressure to finish.
  2. If you like to have holiday parties, have them after New Year's. People have less to do and are looking for something to get over the winter doldrums.
  3. Reexamine traditions that may have made sense when you were single or when the children were small and now no longer fit your stage and station in life.
  4. Keep up your self-care routines of eating healthy, exercising, and meditation/relaxation. The average American adult adds 3-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year's.
  5. Set the most important priorities for the short time remaining in the season. What matters the most to you and those closest to you? This season more than ever people are appreciating their intimate connections of close friends and family.

There is an ad in our local Mall that says: "The greatest holiday gift is spending time with family." "Time for family" is crossed out and replaced by "getting all your purchases paid for by VISA." The ad is signed by the Grinch. Don't let the twin Grinches of seasonal materialism and busyness cross out your priorities and have you singing those holiday blues.

BossWoman coaching topics include work-life balance, career transitions, building your business or practice, time management, and increasing productivity.

Telelearning is attracting busy professions like yourself. Imagine just-in-time learning without having to transport yourself anywhere other than your home of office. I am currently a student in an advanced coaching skills class taught by Dr. Ben Dean of MentorCoach. It is a fabulous learning opportunity with fellow students all over the country. As part of a course assignment, a fellow student and I did a workshop for women balancing multiple roles. We intend to offer this workshop again and plan to offer another workshop late in the winter on how to survive completing a doctoral dissertation. More on this later.

Subscribe to BossWoman e-Newsletter by sending an email with in the Subject to: susan@bosswoman.org

BossWomen e-Newsletter is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Coaching should not be construed as a form of, or substitute for, counseling, psychotherapy, legal, or financial services.

Copyright 2001 Susan Robison. All rights reserved. The above material is copyrighted but you may retransmit or distribute it to whomever you wish as long as not a single word is changed, added or deleted, including the contact information. However, you may not copy it to a web site without my permission.

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