Finding Balance in the Final Stretch of 2023

You know how you’re in the final stretch of a long car ride and you find yourself speeding up a bit to get home sooner? I think subconsciously business owners feel this way at the end of the year during Q4. Finding balance between the personal and professional, the pressure of the last quarter and the need for presence.

Q4 is a time full of detours – holidays, personal commitments, travel, and professional parties. I find that people are unrealistic about what they can accomplish during this time.

We always say we want to finish strong in Q4. This shouldn’t only be in reference to financials. The ideal way to finish strong is to feel successful in your business end of year, but to also be relaxed and balanced enough to enjoy it.

Does this sound familiar?

  • You load up your schedule because you know you’re going to be losing work time due to vacations and holidays.
  • At the same time, you take on extra work because you’re focused on end of year numbers.
  • You invest time searching for end-of-year tax deductible purchases along with charities and organizations for donations.
  • You commit to extra business obligations – holiday parties, end of the year catch ups, and client lunches.

This leads to stress and anxiety about missing deadlines, mistakes on your calendar, and feeling lack luster about your performance as you cross the finish line into the next year. When you do get to those days off, time with family, or vacations…you’re exhausted, cranky, and burnt out.

We haven’t even added in the personal life stuff yet. School performances, classroom parties, gift buying, family obligations, hosting, and potential overnight guests who may or may not push you or your partner completely over the edge.

It’s inevitable that on top of all of this, there will be things that happen outside of your control – unexpected illnesses, shipping delays, miscommunications, and human error are just a few possibilities.

That’s why it’s imperative to be as organized as possible. The trick is managing what you CAN control. So how do get organized now for a less hectic holiday season and a productive quarter professionally?

Here are some suggestions:

Communication – More of it in shorter increments. Check-ins with staff or delivering information in a number of ways – email, hard copies, or directly at meetings to make sure everyone will get the 411, regardless of how.

Consideration – For the perspectives of everyone on your team. Holidays aren’t necessarily happy for everyone. Your staff can have personal struggles on their mind that are amplified at this time of year.

Celebration – Make note of small wins and successes, for individuals and teams. There may be some tense times in these final months, so make sure your staff knows you notice the good that’s happening, too.

Prioritization – Low key panic and motivational drive make it tempting to put things on your list that just don’t have to be there yet. Choose your top three, then check them off. Repeat.

Preparedness – Take some time, each day or on Fridays or Mondays, to look down the pike and know what’s coming. Strategize your plans to tackle your responsibilities. What can you simplify, streamline, or delegate?

Holiday Policies – Implement a time-off policy for employees that requires them to give reasonable notice so you can manage your calendar and work delegation. You’ll have a more realistic idea about how many cumulative working hours you must get things done.

Business tends to rev up in this last quarter, which is exciting for business owners after a slower paced summer season. And if you do any type of work that requires your client’s input, they will be caught up in their own Q4 overload and make unrealistic deadlines for themselves.

Give some Q4 wiggle room for projects that begin at this time. They will most likely extend into January at best. And that is good reason to structure deposits and payments differently. Waiting through holiday craziness doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get paid.

Every quarter is a good one to get your business in shape, with systems, processes, and procedures. I’m always here to help you with that. Let’s schedule a call to chat about how you can end the year both strong and balanced.

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About Melissa

Melissa specializes in organization for your home office and small business. She is also a very active speaker on Boston’s North Shore, as well as the San Francisco Bay Area.



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