Productivity

Make Christmas less stressful with top coping strategies

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Are you worried there’ll be more bah humbug and less magic this Christmas? You’re not alone. Read on to see how to stress-proof the silly season.

glitter banner spelling out happy holidaze

1. There’s too much to get done
 

Culprit

While 89 percent of us believe tomorrow will be better than today, only 50 percent of us believe we can make it so.  Don’t let the calendar count you down to a Christmas burn out. If the list of things to do feels overwhelming, it’s time to sit down and reignite some hope on how you can navigate the Christmas season.

Solve it

Hope happens when your rational self meets your emotional self with clear goals you actually want to (rather than have to) achieve. There are multiple ways to get there and simple ways to maintain your motivation and willpower through the festive season.

Try this simple hope mapping exercise over your cup of coffee and discover why hope has been found to be worth about an hour a day in increased productivity. Why? Well because it makes us feel more engaged and enthusiastic about our work – and the challenges of what Christmas brings. 

2. I don't have enough people

Culprit

Christmas is known for end-of-year celebrations and shopping up big (often at last minute). It’s also a time when corporate and government infrastructure starts to shut down, making it harder to get things done. So, to keep up with the pace, go into the silly season with enough hands on deck. No matter what your business is – hospitality to retail through to construction – you need to ensure you can survive the busy period without disappointing your customers or your family. No one wants to start the New Year stressed out from the festive period.

Solve it

There are many ways you can avoid the staffing nightmare before Christmas. You could ask friends and family to take over the planning of your Christmas get-together while you focus solely on recruiting new talent to help out. Don’t underestimate the power of social media to get your call for staff out there; or for skilled workers, try LinkedIn. Other sites such as spotjobs.com can help with hiring casuals. Once you have the extra staff, Deputy makes it easy to schedule rosters. You can find a host of last minute staffing solutions here. 

3. I don’t have enough energy

Culprit

Studies have found that everything from how well we sleep, the foods we eat, and how much we’re moving – particularly while we’re at work – has a profound effect not only on your own levels of energy, happiness and productivity, but on everyone around you as well.  So while it can feel like you’re saving time by ditching the morning run, grabbing a takeaway meal to eat at your desk or staying up just a few more hours to whittle down that to-do list, it’s actually undermining your business success and your wellbeing.

Solve it

It’s as simple as this … if you eat, move, and sleep well today, you’ll have more energy tomorrow. You’ll treat your staff and family better and you’ll achieve more at work. The good news is small decisions count more than you might think when it comes to looking after your energy.  Try this free, personalised 30-day health plan to ensure you’re not compromising your wellbeing during the festive season.

4. Make inventory preparation your strong suit

Culprit

Inventory planning can be the last thing on your mind when it comes to the pre-Christmas rush. Getting stock levels right is a tricky beast at the best of times with orders made months ago and consumer trends hard to predict. What you thought might sell like hot cakes could be gathering dust come Boxing Day. So, it boils down to this: December is all about Christmas gift buying, while January is the month of sales galore. This is the time you’ll see the scene shift. Adopt this mind-set and ask yourself, are you prepared for the change?

Solve it

To help with stock preparation and inventory assessment, start with projections. Home and garden retailers may sell more plants in spring and more giftware in December. Toy stores may experience a spike during the holiday period. You can use accounting software packages like Quickbooks or Peachtree, which also provide inventory features so you can keep track of what’s selling now to plan ahead for later.   

It's also a good time to think about your post-Christmas sales strategy. Are you going to heavily discount some stock and not others? Plan ahead as far as you can, but remember that an agile approach that responds to customer movement might be your best bet. 

5. I can’t say “no” 

 

Culprit

It’s true people who are willing to give to others are more likely to succeed in business, but only if they know how to set boundaries, look for win-win solutions and be willing to ask for help themselves. If your desire to help others makes it hard to say “no”, and you’re reluctant to impose on people by asking for help, the research shows you’re more likely to find yourself burnt out and at the bottom of the success ladder.

Solve it

Remember every time you say “yes” to one thing, you’re saying “no” to something else.  Set clear boundaries for yourself and others around what you give, who you give to and when you give – this applies at work and at home.  And if you’re not sure how to say “no” without leaving people feeling let down, try any of these eight approaches to gracefully honour your boundaries.

6. I need to stay on top of my bookkeeping

Culprit

It’s easy to let your bookkeeping slide as you plan end of year functions, scribble out to-do lists and post Christmas cards to clients. Keeping your books up to date is just as important, so remember to set aside time each day to ensure they’re in order.

Solve it

Apps like Shoeboxed, which keep receipts in order, and accounting software Xero are easy ways to manage your books, so when Quarter 2 BAS season rolls around, there’ll be less reason to stress. If you’re happy with your current accounting software, set yourself daily reminders to spend at least 20 minutes entering numbers or shooting out invoices. 

7. Other people are driving me mad
  

Culprit

Of course if everyone else would just do what you wanted, this busy time of year would be a lot of easier.  Unfortunately, navigating our relationships – be they with customers, employees or family – can be one of the biggest challenges when expectations are heightened and people don’t feel like they have enough time.

Solve it

Studies have found there’s a simple remedy to improving your relationships that will help to reduce your stress, boost your energy and leave you feeling happier and healthier as well.  It will cost you nothing and only requires you to speak a few words.  It’s the simple act of gratitude.  Try this small gratitude habit and watch it transform even your most challenging relationships.

8. One of those days
  

Culprit

We all have days where it feels that despite our best efforts nothing is going to plan  – staff don’t show up, orders get cancelled and inventory doesn’t arrive - and we find ourselves spiralling down towards feelings of helplessness, overwhelm and despair. The problem is when we get on a roll of negative emotions like anxiety, fear and dread, they suck away all the happy chemicals from our brain making it difficult for us to come up with creative and constructive solutions that could turn our work around.

Solve it

These are the moments to reach for a jolt of joy – something that puts a smile on your face – like listening to a favourite song, taking a walk around the block or listening to some Christmas carols.  Studies have found this injection of positive emotions can short-circuit your stress and help your brain see more opportunities, think more creatively and work better with others to get what needs to be completed done.

Happy holidays

Stress less by putting the “I” in Christmas this year. From hope mapping exercises to saying “no”, the silly season is as much about you as it is about your employees, customers and family. 

Get the right app for your business.

Learn more about Telstra Small Business Apps.

Find Out More

man using a tablet, laptop and smartphone
Tech Solutions
Tech Solutions
Why a managed mobile fleet is a smart call

With mobile technology increasingly holding the key to efficient and profitable business operations, it’s time to take the management of this technology fleet seriously and imp...

Family-friendly general practice takes top spot at Telstra Queensland Business of the Year Awards
Success Stories
Success Stories
Family-friendly general practice takes top spot at Telstra Queensland Business of the Year Awards

Putting the patient first was just the right medicine for a family-friendly general practice, Family Doctors Plus, to be awarded the 2017 Telstra Queensland Business of the Yea...

BIG hART Team
Success Stories
Success Stories
Charity with a big heart wins top honour at Telstra Tasmanian Business Awards

A charity committed to combatting cases of social injustice in Australia has been named the 2017 Telstra Tasmanian Business of the Year.

people celebrating around award
Success Stories
Success Stories
Building innovator takes top spot at the 2017 Telstra ACT Business Awards

An innovative exterior design business which is bucking the trends and leading the pack across the commercial building industry is the 2017 Telstra Australian Capital Territory...