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The Best Holiday Gift is Time

Strive to keep work and life in balance at the holidays, and all year.

Is your life in balance? As we approach the holiday selling season, this is a wonderful time to consider your work-life balance. Entrepreneurs are generally considered to be workaholics with a typical workday of 10-plus hours. When the holiday season hits, this can quickly exceed 12 hours.

As a mother of five adult children, and a grandmother of two, I hope I can bring some perspective here to those travelling the path with small children. Please don’t miss the fun of the season because of work that could be done by someone else, or at another time. This is the time of year to bring your focusing and delegating skills to a higher level.

What really matters to your children? Ask them. It really is that simple. Many times what you worked so hard to pull off, they don’t even remember, but something that just happened made a big impression. So ask.

Remember that, when it comes to finding that balance between your work life and your home life, you are in charge. The beauty of working for yourself is that you can schedule that “talk with the boss” whenever you feel it’s needed. Spend some time gathering your thoughts and tell the boss you need a sit-down planning session.

When you gather your thoughts for this meeting and planning session, give thought to your long-term goals. Obviously, we are in business to make money, and the holiday season is certainly the time to “make hay while the sun shines,” but holidays are memories. When all is said and done, the memories of this holiday season will be the long-term keepers for your mind and spirit.

When you make that list of business goals for the season, do not forget to include your family goals for creating memories

We can’t all be Martha Stewart

While respecting the need to pull in the holiday sales, it is equally important to set aside time for making Christmas memories for your family. Many mompreneurs struggle with getting their families to respect their businesses. While this is a complicated issue, perhaps one way to address it is to set up your business to respect your family time.

There are literally thousands of holiday traditions, including Halloween costume parties, Thanksgiving turkey dinners, special Christmas cookies, New Year’s Eve parties and so much more. Of course, you can’t make them all happen, and happen perfectly, unless you are Martha Stewart or hire a staff of 70 for the season.

So think back to the last few years of holidays with your family and find the memories that worked, that really felt “right,” and that still bring a smile. Resolve now to create those memories again, as those are where family traditions start. Even if it’s something very silly that just sprung up one year but brought joy to all in the family, make plans to include it now.

For our family, it was Daddy feeling guilty about being a bit grouchy at 5 a.m. on Christmas morning, which led to our tradition of Daddy cooking chocolate chip pancakes for Christmas breakfast every year. In fact, our oldest son has now taken this tradition into his own family, and makes these each year for my grandchildren.

Now, when you sit down with “the boss” (remember, that’s you), make that list of business goals for the season, write down all the things that need to be done to make those goals happen—and do not forget to include your family goals for creating memories. Years from now, when you look back, determine to see a peaceful, involved and happy person making her way through the busy holiday season, and not a blank space because you were so busy you were only trying to survive and the whole time is a blur.

Some words of inspiration

Here are some quotes from other busy solopreneurs to encourage you…

“Now that I work for myself, I pay a lot less attention to the ‘time clock’ than when I worked for others. I have to remind myself to go home at night. But when I get there, I don’t bring work home with me. I check my eBay messages once before I go to bed, once when I get up, and that’s it. The offers and questions will keep while I sleep, they aren’t going anywhere.”

—Sandi Garcia,

“It is vitally important to balance taking care of yourself and your family while working for yourself. It is very easy to work from morning till night, but don’t neglect your health, your pampering and your nutrition. You will be much more productive with a good night’s rest, regular nutritional meals and breaks! Take breaks!”

—Danni Ackerman,

About the author

Kat Simpson
Respected as a trusted e-commerce speaker, educator and entrepreneur, Kat Simpson has been a successful e-commerce merchant for more than 10 years. Simpson is an eBay education specialist and Silver PowerSeller, who also maintains stores on Addoway, Bonanza, and iOffer. She is the co-host of the popular weekly e-commerce podcast, eCom Connections. Connect with Simpson on Twitter and Facebook. Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

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