The holidays are here. I love this time of year. The tinsel, glitter, gingerbread latte, indulgence and family time. It’s a happy and joyful holiday with a strong general sense of community and harmony. I love watching the season unfold through my children's eyes and being able to experience family traditions and memory-making with them. On the other hand, the holidays are also an incredibly busy time. My calendar is filling quickly with the children’s extracurriculars, family and work commitments as well as festive community outings. There are decorations to be hung, crafts to be made, gifts to be purchased, Christmas parties to attend, cookies to be baked, wreaths to be made and at least 100 million school recitals, dance performances, sporting events and holiday parties to attend, and all the while a business to run.
Although our children (and even sometimes we) may believe that we are superhumans with endless energy and unlimited capacity to give: the reality is that living and working at breakneck speed will inevitably end poorly. Picture bugs bunny and the Wiley Coyote. We will almost certainly burn out and summon the frustrating flu/cold or illness and inevitably feel stressed out and deflated. I have certainly been guilty of over-committing my time and overscheduling my family. In doing so, my family dynamics felt fractured and I was left feeling like I let down, not only those around me, but also myself. So the question begs, how do we manage our home, business and personal life during these busy times?
One of the methods my spouse and I use to keep our family on track is an application called Family Wall. This app is free to download and very user-friendly. Within the app, you can add your spouse or other family members as well as your children as members. For young children, you simply add them as a member under your account and for older children who have an email you add them via an invitation. From there, you can integrate your schedules, meal plan, send messages, share photos, share locations, send an SOS with a location pin, and add new members through a contact book that is integrated with the contacts on your phone. I have two young children so for our family we primarily make use of this app for pickups and dropoffs, playdates, birthday parties, lessons, special events, work schedules and personal commitments as well as the meal planning component. We are a military family and my spouse’s schedule is constantly changing. This app allows us to stay organized and avoid schedule conflict.
Another stressor during the holidays, aside from time management, is business growth management. How do you make time to grow your business when so much of your time is dedicated to being present and making family memories? It’s a real struggle for most mompreneurs. While daydreams of avatars and clones dance through your head, we have to get real about what is possible and get really clear on when to say no. Saying no is incredibly powerful. As a business owner I have become very honest with myself about saying no to people and prospects that don’t align with the current needs of my family and or business. I’ve adapted my goals and evaluated my family values and goals to ensure my business decisions are in the best interest of my family’s wellness. Evaluating the current “time sucks” in my personal and professional life was an area I have recently focused my attention. One technique that has helped minimize some of the current “time sucks” was to activate a time leverage system and delegate aspects of my work via automated systems, wherever possible. Systems, workflows and automation, through a program called Dubsado, have been a helpful time-saver and have re-routed customers to the answers they need during basic lines of inquiry. These small leveraging automation have allowed my work emails to be streamlined, inquiries to land in the appropriate email box, ultimately freeing up valuable time.
Integrating these simple time leverage methods could help to make your holiday season feel more balanced and organized, giving you more flexibility with your schedule and free time with your family.