There are natural stresses that accompany the holidays. During the Christmas season, it is a matter of obtaining all of the necessary gifts and coordinating family functions. During Thanksgiving, it may be the stress of cooking for various family members or managing the travel requirements to get yourself to the location of the Thanksgiving Feast.
However, when it comes to business, the first thought that typically enters the mind is……how many business/production days am I losing this month due to the holiday? It is unfortunate, but natural. Productivity is measured by results. Results are measured by the level of production within a given timeframe. The timeframe is often defined in months. Therefore, while the holiday season should bring much joy, to many in the business world it also brings an amplified level of stress – especially those on a variable income pay structure.
My wife asked me not so long ago when was the last time we had a stress-free holiday season. I responded about 25 years ago. It was at that time when we were both on salaried income with less corporate responsibilities.
It is November which means Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year. It is a time of family fellowship around the dinner table for an annual feast. Thanksgiving is a time for reflection of the year (and beyond) and a time to take note of those elements in our lives for which we should truly give thanks.
With that said, it is also a time of increased stress for those who have productivity deliverables within their business – which in November typically have 2-3 fewer business days to perform. It is challenging. It is stressful. However, it is important that it not be all-consuming. For if one allows the heightened level of stress to become all-consuming, he/she will lose out on the joy of the holiday.
The unfortunate paradox of business and family is that time with the family is often sacrificed due to business obligations. However, the financial advancement of the family is dependent on the success (and earnings) from one’s business/employment. The difficult but critical task is to create an acceptable balance between the two while at the same time departmentalizing the stress of each so that they do not negatively impact each other.
Increased business stress during the holidays is to be expected. But what should not be expected or acceptable is for that increased level of business stress to invade the family joy of the holiday. Holiday joy and business productivity are not mutually exclusive. One can be both productive in a shortened business month as well as enjoy the holiday season. A problem is created when the level of business stress is allowed to bleed over into the family.
Understand and acknowledge the business stress of a holiday month. Adjust your productivity measures and short-term (daily) goals appropriately. Make every business hour count for you and your staff. Then, leave the stress at the office and enjoy the wonderful gifts of the family during the holiday. Be sure to take a moment, look around the table, and see what there is to truly be thankful for (which isn’t 2-3 more business days).
Husband, father, coffee connoisseur and lover of all things hockey. At 51 I sometimes wonder have I done enough. I have been married to my best friend for 30 years. She knows all my faults and loves me anyway, As a father of “almost always” perfect boys, I am always surprised at what life has to offer. It is messy, scary, thrilling, and always fun.