Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle, and the lifestyle doesn’t magically disappear to accommodate the holidays. You’ve got a business to run and a brand to expand.
But at the same time, you’re human. You need to spend quality time with friends and family, to let loose, to relax. That doesn’t mean you have to halt your hustle though. If you can balance a work day with play — like you should — you can balance a holiday with a little work that will keep your spark alive so that, by the end of the celebrations, you won’t have to kill yourself to regain momentum.
Here’s a winning strategy to keep your hustle alive over the holidays:
1. Set boundaries
A funny thing happens when you gather with the family. You have a tendency of blending in; of going with the flow. That’s sort of the point of holiday gatherings, but your business isn’t part of the family flow. So you’ve got to set boundaries.
Block off “you time” from 8:00 a.m to 10:00, or whichever morning hours you prefer. Use this time for your standard success routines, like exercise, journaling, meditation, etc. Just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean you have to break your standards. If you keep up with your standards, you’ll have more energy and cheer to share with family and friends.
After self care, use your last hour for creative pursuits. Work on your blog;-draft a pitch; brainstorm new markets, and new spins for your product and services: exercise your higher functions.
Most entrepreneurs have a little evil genius in them, so consider this your lab time. Politely ask your family not to intrude.
2. Assign yourself reading goals
Holidays recharge our spiritual and emotional batteries (…ideally). But if you get out of the habit of learning and applying, learning and applying, the holiday season can drain your entrepreneurial creatitivity. We don’t want that. So keep your idea factory humming with a challenging book — the kind you have to take notes on. I recommend “How to Pitch Anything,” by Oren Klaff. But any book by an expert in your field will do. Designate the hour before bed as reading time.
Also, block out 15 minutes or so for entrepreneurial articles. This boosts your creativity with fresh ideas, keeps you in touch with your motivation, and helps you stay goal oriented. As the holidays wind down you’ll have just as much focus as you did before the festivities.
3. Set up an elite coaching session
If you have the tendency to backslide during the holidays, give yourself an early Christmas gift. Hire a coach. Choose someone who has reached the next couple levels in your field and pay them to work with you on a reasonable plan; one that enables you to enjoy the time with family and friends while keeping your forward momentum.
If coaching isn’t in your budget, set realistic goals that you can achieve in your two hours of “me time” while with family. The main idea is to stay goal-oriented as you enjoy the season with loved ones. If your daily planner normally has 20 objectives, pare it down to 3-5 of your top priorities. Handle the little things you’ve put on the back burner.
About the author:
Dan Dowling is the founder of MillennialSuccess.io, where he shares action steps and inspiration for millennials and their employers. You can find more of his work on Fast Company, Entrepreneur.com, MindBodyGreen, and Fitbit.com.
Article originally appeared on entrepreneur.com