Today’s guest blogger is the one and only, Jen Rudd. Jen is a business coach, consultant, mom, and very wise woman. When I asked Jen to write about how she balances her family, her business, and this crazy busy holiday season… she had no hesitations. From the first moment I read her draft up until the last minute of prepping graphics for this post, I have felt so much inspiration and determination to keep going for my dreams. I’m excited to share her story with all of you. Please leave some encouraging comments for Jen at the bottom of the post. Thanks for reading y’all! – Amanda
As businesswomen, we tend to try to do it all and strive for perfection. Postcard-perfect Christmas trees, attendance at every event, and a thriving business are all on the list of “must haves.”
I know I am totally guilty of trying to do everything. I will run myself ragged to be sure that I check every box on my ever-growing list of to-do’s and must haves. Being a mom, I want my kids to have a perfect Christmas with everything they want, while wanting to be the Rockstar business owner that I know I am. The house needs to be decorated perfectly, and I need to find the perfect gift for everyone.
But the reality is, when you focus on “checking the box” instead of moving with purpose, you tend to just phone things in, do things just to “do something,” and really just make a mess. You will start to put things out (like poorly conceived marketing or elaborate meals that no one will eat) and just feel worn down and uninspired.
Instead of just going down the list and checking things off make a point to really connect with what you are doing, be purposeful in your days, and stop rushing to do what doesn’t matter or doesn’t bring you joy.
I had to figure this out for myself. In the last year, after 5 moves in 2 years, I realized that Super-Business-Mom was no longer going to happen. I was not able to be all things to all people, and still keep my sanity. In my rush to make everything perfect I would make myself and those around me miserable. What good is it to have my kids have constant play dates and extracurricular activities if I was constantly stressed driving them to and from everything? What good is it to take on every single client that remotely needed my help? I would get away from my business plan and also run myself ragged working constantly. And a stressed-out woman did not a good wife make.
I learned to step back, observe where I was, what I was doing with my business, and what commitments I made for my family. Since I made that decision, my stress level has rapidly decreased. I started prioritizing great experiences for my kids instead of constant experiences. I started evaluating where I was going with my business and focusing on doing more of what I loved and cutting out what I didn’t. And I started to spend more time with my husband focusing on ourselves personally, and not just as parents/business owners/logistics consultants.
As we enter into the holiday season, I realized that these same realizations about life in general can also be applied to balancing family, business and the holidays. Stepping back, prioritizing, and focusing on great experiences will help better balance your world this holiday season.
In order to apply these to your own life, here are some steps you can take to avoid “checking boxes” this holiday season:
Prioritize your personal and business commitments. Figure out what is most important to you, things that you need to happen, and consider what will best utilize your time this season. For me, it is important that I take the week between Christmas and New Year off. My husband and kids have the time off and we like to spend that time together as a family. This means I need to shift my business responsibilities around to allow for this vacation time. I also like to work on my business plan for the following year and plan my calendar, which means that I need to schedule this planning time into my business time.
2. Set Boundaries
Once you have determined your priorities, you need to start establishing boundaries around your priorities. If you are taking time off, or have scheduled events that take away from work time, then you need to block that time from your calendar. Update your shop information, set away messages and advise clients ahead of time. If you scheduled extra work time during family or free time, you need to communicate with your family about the changes in your schedule and how they can cooperate and support you. Having a huge sale on your site or need to push out orders? Make sure your family knows that they have to step up while you work and that Mommy needs to focus this time on her business.
3. Schedule in Personal Time
You are not a machine. You need some time out. Whether it be with girlfriends, date night, a massage, pedicure, or just time alone for a nap, make sure to schedule these into your day. These times are just as important as client meetings or recitals. Put them in your calendar, schedule them in advance and don’t excuse your way out of them.
4. Give Yourself Grace
Every holiday won’t be picture perfect. Sometimes the tree will look haphazard and you’ll never quite get around to getting that wreath. You may not hit all of your goals this month, or might have a Scroogy client. Not everything is in your control, and even if it is, the best laid plans don’t always pan out. Be sure to take stock of what goes right in every situation and make sure to really give yourself slack. Being a mom is hard. Being a business owner is not for the weak. Trying to be both at the same time can sometimes feel overwhelming. But knowing that you are showing up and doing your best (without trying to do everything) should make you feel accomplished.
5. Connect with What You Are Doing
Do you REALLY enjoy decorating the house in the cold? Do you really enjoy ALL of the holiday parties you attend? Do you really enjoy putting out marketing that is forced? Think about what you are doing, no matter in what context, and see if you find joy in it. If you don’t find joy in what you are doing, then do you need to change your perspective – or just stop doing it? Perhaps you can stop RSVPing yes to every party – take some time and think about which parties you enjoy and pare down to only attending those. You will find you aren’t rushing around as much and you will enjoy each party even more.
In the end, remember that a huge part of stress is that you (most of the time) tend to bring it upon yourself. If things seem to pile up and get out of control easily, then it is most likely that you have too much on your plate. You are trying to do too much and putting too much pressure on yourself. Learning to cut down the “to do list” drastically improves your chances at a less stressful life.
For more information about me, check out my website GrowWithJen.com, where I share more about my consulting practice and have lots of business tips perfect for Mom Business Owners.
– Jen Rudd