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Managing Work Life Balance During the Festive Period

  • Blog
  • 16 October 2015

With the festive season well and truly upon us, it's natural to want to spend more time away from the office in order to enjoy all the celebrations. But managing to achieve the right work/life balance can be extremely tricky, especially if you run your own business. At the Federation of Small Businesses we understand the importance of developing a strategy in order to ensure that both business and personal needs are met over the holiday period. Try our simple tips to make sure you manage to successfully combine work and play during the festive season.

Managing Work Life Balance During the Festive Period

Prioritise your work

Think carefully about what work is absolutely key and what can wait until later. There may be some tasks that are essential but others that can be put off until the New Year. A good work/life balance is easier to achieve if you have clearly defined exactly what needs to be accomplished; this enables you to schedule your time more effectively and keep track of how you are spending your time. Work out how long each task will take, create a timetable and steadily work through it one job at a time. Ticking off each as you complete it will make you feel more positive as you can measure your progress.

Key communication

If you are planning on offering a reduced service over the festive season, keep your customers in the loop. This way they will not have unreasonably high expectations as to what you can provide during this busy time. Communicate any changes to your opening hours and if you are planning on closing the business for a few days, let clients know. If you intend to run a skeleton staff, make sure all of your employees know when they are expected to be working too.

Learn to say no

At the Federation of Small Businesses we know how important your work is to you, especially if you run your own business. The responsibility for the firm's success rests with you and it's all too tempting to keep pushing for that next contract, target or sale. However, it's crucial you don't sacrifice precious time with friends and family - so learn to say no. Unless it really is a make-or-break deal for the business, put it to one side for a bit. Clients will understand that companies tend to operate with reduced staff and at a slightly slower rate over the Christmas period. Don't over-commit yourself by agreeing to deliver work that simply cannot be achieved in the time frame. Instead set realistic, attainable goals.

Find the fun

One of the many benefits of having your own business is that you can sometimes take some time out for yourself. Block out space in your diary for key events such as your children's nativity or a trip to the panto. Not only will this ensure that you don't miss these important festive activities but will also give you some time away from your desk. You will be far more productive and less resentful of having to work if this is balanced by being able to join in with all the fun bits.

Avoid distractions

Trying to work whilst everyone is having a good time can be tricky. It is vital to focus solely on your job during allocated work time. Not only will this help you more rapidly accomplish tasks but it will prevent you making mistakes whilst you are distracted. One of the biggest time wasters in the office, especially during the party season, is social media. It is tempting to browse the internet seeing what everyone else is up to but this will not help you achieve your goals. Be strict with yourself and limit non-work internet and phone time to allocated breaks. If you work at home it can be difficult to get on with your usual tasks, especially with the children off school.

Arrange extra childcare if necessary, find yourself a quiet corner, either in or out of the house, and ensure everyone in the household knows you are not to be disturbed. You will be able to work more productively, leaving you more time to later join in the fun.

The festive season is an extremely busy time for many smaller businesses and their owners. However, with a little forward planning you can make sure you achieve a decent work/life balance, enabling you to keep on top of business whilst enjoying the festivities.

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