by Crystal Sabalaske | Featured Contributor
The chaos of the holiday season can be stressful enough on its own. When you compound the shopping, party planning, cooking and traveling with running a business, it is highly possible that your stress level will increase due to the amount of pressure you feel to get it all done, especially while you’re busy trying to keep your family and clients happy too.
What you want for the holiday season is simple–a few days off to spend with family and friends. After working hard all year, that’s not too much to ask, is it?
The best way to create that opportunity is to organize some of your business responsibilities now – as in right now, the weeks immediately before and after Thanksgiving. It’s time to do some pre-holiday organizing with these 10 simple tasks.
- Schedule your social media posts for the week before, during and after your scheduled days off. If you aren’t a big fan of scheduling social media posts (as I am not), then at least write the content for your social media posts in advance so you’re not scrambling to come up with ideas at 5am when you are prepping a turkey or doing some last-minute gift wrapping.
- If you need to schedule meetings or phone calls with clients or prospects for dates in January, do it now. Presumably, they will be very busy or on vacation in the upcoming weeks as well. Save time playing e-mail or voicemail tag, and relax knowing that any outstanding issues will be discussed during the January meetings.
- Notify your clients of your vacation plans at least two weeks in advance. Ask if they have any outstanding requests. Set expectations regarding what your response time will be to requests that are made while you are taking time off. You don’t want clients to interpret the lack of an immediate response from you as a reason to question your ability to handle their needs.
- Gather up any business receipts for the current tax year. If you don’t have time to organize them by month, type or client, store them in a secure envelope or box so you can sort through them before you prepare your taxes.
- Sort your e-mails by sender. If you have an overloaded Inbox, divide and conquer. Over the course of three days, sort through e-mails from senders whose names start with A-K. Then, work on L-S, and finally T-Z. Delete or archive e-mails that are not relevant to current or upcoming projects.
- Pay all business expenses for the current tax year. You don’t want to wake up on January 1st and realize you missed out on claiming some of your expenses as tax deductions.
- Purge your business files. If you find documents that are not needed for tax purposes, warranties, client records or future projects, recycle or shred them. Set up new files for the upcoming year.
- Organize your desk.
- Set up an autoreply e-mail and change your voicemail immediately before vacation. Clearly state how accessible you will be via phone and e-mail, if at all, during your vacation days and when people can expect a response from you.
- Don’t forget to thank your clients for their business with a card, personalized e-mail or discount/coupon offer for future product or service purchases.
When you finally have the time to relax, do you really want to waste time thinking about meetings that need to be scheduled and piles of papers on your desk? Wouldn’t you rather be eating apple pie, hanging out with your family, sleeping in late or reading a good book?
Crystal Sabalaske, professional organizer and owner of Cluttershrink, has been helping people get organized in their homes and offices since 2002. She has appeared on several episodes of HGTV’s series, Mission: Organization, and her organizing tips have appeared in national publications such as Family Fun, Parents, and Women’s Health magazines.
Crystal’s philosophy about organizing involves making simple changes based on an individual’s needs at work and at home. While she is committed to getting job done, she’s not at all serious and tries infuse the process of organizing with a little bit of fun.
Being organized saves time, money, and relationships, and when you maximize the potential in those aspects of your life, you have more time to focus on doing things that truly make you happy. For Crystal, those activities involve singing, reading, taking walks, spending time with her family, making up twisted tunes, brainstorming about her next business idea, and drinking iced tea.
In addition to hands-on home and office organizing, Crystal shares her passion for organizing by offering virtual coaching for individuals and workshops for business and social groups. She also offers relocation organizing services and thinks that after moving 18 times, she knows what it takes to get the job done right. If you really want to get Crystal fired up, just ask her to speak about organizing your kitchen for food allergies. She helps her family manage 19 of them!