How to balance work and family over the Christmas holidays

School fair, nativity, Christmas shopping, Christmas cards, work… it can feel like your workload quadruples once December hits, especially if you’re a business mum. Here’s how to find balance.

With her own successful business (IMS Property Group) and two children, seasoned entrepreneur (she’s founded a total of four businesses and is CEO of Michelle Niziol Ltd) and contestant on the 2016 cycle of The Apprentice Michelle Niziol is an expert in juggling work and life.

Here are her tips to help other business mums survive the festive season.

You need to work smarter not harder at Christmas

Christmas is coming. And while, for some people it’s a time for rest and relaxation (once the present buying and wrapping and Christmas dinner is out of the way at least!), if you’re a small business owner it can mean just the opposite.

Keeping my own business running while spending time with my family was always challenging for me over the holiday season. How in the world was I meant to keep deals moving, do all the Christmas shopping, and spend quality time with my family? The to-do list was simply too long.

That was when I realised that I needed to work smarter, not harder. By integrating my home and work schedules and taking advantage of time around meetings and school pickups, I found the time to be completely present with my family.

Sound daunting? It doesn’t have to be! here are my best tips for balancing home and work life over Christmas.

Keep a positive attitude

I’ve found that the key to ‘having it all’ boils down to believing in yourself. Before you scope out your plan for balancing work and family over the holiday season, it’s essential to believe that you can do it. I’ve never met a person who couldn’t do anything that they really set their mind to; but believing in yourself is the first step.

Keep your schedule flexible

Holidays mean plenty of work, and it might seem impossible to get everything done with a limited amount of time in your schedule.

This is the time to start integrating your to-do list. Have a client meeting close to a shop that sells the perfect present? Swing by before or after your meeting. Scheduling meetings as close to your errands as possible is a great way to integrate work and life around the holidays.

Communicate with your clients

Communication is always key when it comes to clients, especially when time off is concerned. Create your strategy early (at least a week before you plan to take a holiday), and let your clients know when you will be off, and how often you’ll be checking emails.

Let your clients know that you are available via your mobile for urgent queries or emergencies, so they know how to get in touch with you just in case something goes awry. Setting expectations early is the secret to keeping client relationships running smoothly.

A built-in benefit of the holidays is that it is very likely that your clients will want to spend time with their families as well, so don’t worry that your phone will be ringing off the hook all day long.

Work when you are most productive

As a small business owner, you’re never really off the clock, so you’ll need to set aside time each day to check emails and make sure that things are running smoothly.

In order to stay as focused as possible, schedule your ‘working time’ during the time of the day when you are most productive. You’ll accomplish more, which means you won’t feel guilty when you take time out to be with your family.

Be fully present during family time

Finally, when you spend time with your family, make sure that you’re really listening. Put phones and emails away completely.

I find that staying present and feeling like I have had real family time is easiest when we are away from the house, rather than just watching TV together. I feel like I have really had the time to appreciate my family, and being away from other distractions keeps me focused on spending time with the people in my life who matter.

Need more Christmas survival tips?

You can read more advice to help you have a merry Christmas this year in these articles:

IMS Property can help with sales, lettings, mortgage advice, and property investment. You can get in touch with them by email

Photo by Tyler Delgado