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How to Avoid Burnout & Keep That Small Business Motivation During the Holidays

Welcome to December or as I like to call it - the falala-adays! Not Sorry. If you’re anything like me you’re planning for the holidays on both a personal and business level while being held hostage by the monster that is mom guilt. It’s a lot to take. Add into that the smells, and tastes, and movies, and fluffy pajama pants, and I am ready to just crawl into a nice blanket fort in the living room and refuse to emerge until the calendars expire.

But alas this is not an option. I have a business to run, a life to live, not to mention a child to educate and nurture and keep far away from rogue pandemic-quality viruses.

The issue is: knowing I need to be productive and motivated does NOT by default make me productive and motivated. So if you’re dragging your feet and getting lost in the holiday fog (like me!) - here are some tried and true tactics for avoiding burnout and keeping that small business motivation humming along throughout the entire holiday season.

Holiday Hack #1: Get A Jump Start on The New Year

This one goes out to all my fellow type-a’s out there. If you’re serious about goal setting and new year’s resolutions, you have a secret motivation weapon right under your nose. The new year itself.

I am a huge fan of new year’s goals and I am one of the few people on the planet who actually enjoy when the holiday decorations start coming down and we can start focusing on creating our best lives! The thing is the time to get started on new year’s resolutions is not in the new year, it’s now!

Start by making some goals, evaluating what you’ve got going on, and making plans for the future. Then start setting tiny prep goals you can handle between now and the new year and watch your motivation spike!

For example; I know next year I would like to redo my website. Add to it, fine tune it, perfect it, update it and so on and so forth. That is an overwhelming task though and I’m not likely to just jump into it one afternoon and chip away at it.

So instead I am setting up a plan with dates, goals, initial ideas and examples I can refer to now. I am also taking on some smaller tasks like redesigning the website banners and doing some SEO research to get that much more ahead. This way when I sit down on January 3rd to start on the project I will not be overwhelmed. I will have a clear head and clear direction and I can feel satisfied at the end of the day knowing I HAVE done enough and I CAN relax.

This works for any goal and in any area of your life. Think ahead to who you want to be in 2021, what you want your business to look like in 2021 and get excited for that! If that doesn’t motivate you I don’t know what will.

Unless, you need to….

Holiday Hack #2: Clean House

Nothing kills your motivation and hampers your productivity faster than feeling bogged down. If you have 300+ unread emails, or 20+ overdue tasks in your Asana you are not going to have the motivation to drag your butt to your desk.

The holidays can be the perfect time to clean house. Pop on some holiday music and take an afternoon to clean up all the loose ends. The goal is to purge what isn’t working for you and make room for what will. In other words Marie Kondo your business.

What does that mean?

Here are some of my favorite ways to clean house:

Clean up your Project Planning. I love (and life by) Asana, but this tip works for any project planning process - even paper planners. Take some time to go through your projects and clean them up. There are likely old tasks, unnecessary files or notes, things need to be archived or automations that need to be reworked.

Tie some loose ends. Set aside some time to clear through all those dozens of tiny little loose ends you have on your list. Close projects, respond to those emails, submit the forms, whatever, whatever, whatever.

Clean out your Cloud Storage. Go through your organizational system and purge old files, consolidate drives and get organized.

Get Ahead. Always late to post your blog? Never remember to schedule your next call? Take a few minutes or hours to get ahead on all the things that usually cause you to pour that extra glass at dinner.

The idea here is just to clean up your mental, physical and cyber brain space. There is nothing like the feeling of sitting down at your desk and having a perfectly organized space, plan and direction. It takes less time than you think and makes a HUUUUUGGGEEE difference.

Holiday Hack #3: Do the Hokey Pokey

Remember that dance from when we were kids? You put your left foot in. You put your left foot out. That’s the idea behind this hack. Unless this is the first one of my blogs you’ve read you’ve heard me tout the benefits of half working and half living. Blending my life together into one big beautiful adventure. This is never more useful than during the holidays.

If you’re having a hard time focusing because you want to be watching The Grinch for the 10th time this month, plan on handling some administrative or passive work tasks in the afternoon. IN. FRONT. OF. THE. MOVIE.

I know this sounds too simple but the #workathome culture has become so huge that now you can’t even open social media without seeing someone’s <make working at home feel like working in a fancy business office place> tip. The intention is pure but its a bunch of baloney.

You do not need to be sitting at your desk during your entire working day, in slacks, with no distractions. During the holidays plan on working in more living and consequently more holidays and stop feeling like the rope in a home vs. work tug of war game.

Holiday Hack #4: Stop Trying


Yep I said it. Stop trying. Sometimes no matter how hard we try or how much we might want to, the motivation is just not there. It’s been a rough year and if all you want to do right now is not work so be it. Give yourself some grace and take the time off to relax, refresh and motivate.

I know this sounds easier said than done but to some extent it IS possible. Maybe you cannot take the entire 2 week Christmas spread off, but maybe during those two week you are only working 3-4 days or taking morning off or being stricter about not working on evening or weekends.

The thing is taking a break may not seem like it but it is one of the greatest things you can do for your overall productivity. Taking a break allows your brain to calm down and slowly clean through the subconscious clutter that slows us all down. It’s science.

So if you need more breaks this holiday season do the boss thing and take them. Your business and your mental well being will thank you!

What’s my favorite holiday hack?

I’m so glad you asked! I am actually a fan of all of these hacks! I use every single one every holiday season and most other times of the year too. Some days I’m all about getting a jump start on my next year’s goals, I literally schedule a weekend every month to tie up all the loose ends in my business, I do the hokey pokey year round and I break like nobody’s business.

There is no right or wrong way to stay productive this year and there isn’t a reason to limit yourself to just one. Whether it’s one, all or none of these hacks find what works for you and embrace it.

P.s.If you aren’t feeling like your normal business or personal self this holiday season, give yourself some grace. If this new year you aren’t feeling goal setting even though you normally are, don’t force it. That will only lead to burnout! This new normal will pass and you will find your rhythm again.

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