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How to prevent holiday stress from affecting your business

Written by MO.com Subject Matter Resource, Erin Owen

For some of you, the holiday season from now through the New Year holiday, will determine if your business is in the black for the year. For others, it’s just another busy period of the year when your clients are distracted with even more demands on their time—while you scramble your brain trying to think of creative ways to keep them engaged with repeat business.

That translates to a lot of pressure and stress and internal compulsion to do more, more, more to reach your goals (or ideally, blow past them and have a breakthrough year).

Underneath these challenging external factors is YOU: the engine of your business.

With the holidays upon us and the intensity of work, family and community expectations building, you can feel like your arms and legs have been drawn in four directions and the complex mix of business and personal responsibilities is conspiring to quarter you!

Wouldn’t it be a joy to move through this holiday season with greater ease, presence of mind, and better results in your business and personal performance?

Here are some simple, Eastern-inspired ideas to help prevent holiday stress from negatively affecting your business:

(1) Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

When you are feeling that everything is out of control, you end up missing deadlines and forgetting to return calls. That translates to missed business opportunities and lost revenues.

Notice how you breathe when you are this “run around” state of being. Most likely you’ll observe that you either frequently hold your breath or breathe shallowly in the top one-quarter to one-fifth of your lungs.

But you need to breathe to fuel your brain, to power your muscles and move your body, to relieve tension in your jaw and shoulders and neck and abdomen, and even fuel digestion!

The breath is expansive by nature. By breathing more consciously and more often, you will be more present to the details of your day and business, feel more at ease and able to make better decisions. And that translates to better bottom line performance at work and in life.

(2) Focus on one thing at a time.

Whether you call this Focus, or being Mindful, or “Singletasking”, the result is the same: more effective, enjoyable actions in all areas of your life.

Organize your time during the week to allow focus on common tasks at one time.

For example, money management on Mondays from 10 AM to 12 noon; asking for new opportunities via collaborative partners or speaking opportunities or other activities for the first hour of each day; checking email and returning phone calls for 30-45 minutes each day after lunch.

By directing all of your attention and energy to one activity at a time, you will boost your confidence about getting everything done, actually get more things done, be much more efficient and effective, and more – all of which translates to a more enjoyable work experience, happier return clients and customers, stronger relationships with the business partners in your value chain, and more.

So, give it a try. Focus on one thing at a time and just notice what improves in your business and overall life.

(3) Let it go or Pass it on.

You probably have a long list of obligations and tasks that you dread. The thought of having to talk to that person, or plan that event, or pick up that thing for someone else, is draining your energy and fueling middle-of-the-night anxiety.

In your business there may be activities that you either don’t enjoy doing or are frankly not good at doing. The way they make you feel and the negative impact of your inaction or less-than-stellar performance has on your business is a sore point with you (and maybe others).

Isn’t it time to let it go or pass it on? What I mean here is: give yourself permission to either politely decline an opportunity that doesn’t fit with your idea of a good life—or doesn’t make business sense. Or, look for ways to delegate or outsource or hire help for those activities that are, quite honestly, not a good use of your time and skillset.

This can apply to your personal life, with things like housecleaning or yard work. This can apply to your business, with activities like serving on another board or back-office accounting or marketing & PR or systems management, etc.

Give yourself a great big holiday gift this year by admitting what those annoying obligations and tasks are and letting them go or passing them on. I promise you’ll feel lighter, happier, and less stressed –and you’ll free-up tons of time and energy for what you enjoy doing and where you make a high quality contribution.

I share more details about these ideas and other simple strategies in my book Recharge, Refuel, and Re-energize: The Conscious Entrepreneur’s Guide to Taking Back Control of Your Time and Energy. Download the first free chapter to learn more at www.YourPerformanceBreakthrough.com/books.

In my next post, I’ll share more ideas designed to help you generate better results without having to do more.


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