This scene from “The American President” often flits through my mind:
Staffer 1: “We’ve gotta do one thing at a time.”
Staffer 2: “We don’t have time to do one thing at a time.”
That’s how life feels, well, every day. But especially in December.
Because there’s life as we know it, and then there’s life as we know it during the holidays — a time when all the parts of “life as we know it” continue, even as we add in present shopping, work parties, school breaks, charitable giving and the added pressure of extended-family visits.
I’ve long since given up on trying to “do it all”.
(Confession: I really do wish I was organized enough to send out Christmas cards. I haven’t prepared one since 2008 — and that one I emailed.)
But, still, life as we know it continues, even through the holidays. And that includes our business ventures.
Hopefully, you’ve had time to prepare some “evergreens”.
Beyond that, simple efficiency can get you through the holidays with your business progressing and your good spirits intact.
I’m not talking about multitasking.
Lord knows, my house doesn’t seem like my house unless I’m simultaneously doing laundry, washing dishes, cooking dinner and teaching someone to read, multiply or tie their shoes.
That’s just life.
I’m talking about multipurposing — the art of making one task work for more than one purpose.
Multipurposing is how I’m getting through the holidays this year with a modicum of cheer (most days), even as I pull double-duty as a stay-at-home mom and budding entrepreneur.
About a month ago, for our mommy-son time, my middle child asked to take a Yummy Sprout cooking class (which, by the way, I highly recommend).
Knowing that Yummy Sprout’s founder, Tara Verma, is a mompreneuer, I brought along my camera and snapped a few photos. I didn’t know when they’d be useful, but I’d figure they’d come in handy some time.
I multipurpose by taking photos a lot — I want them anyway, for family mementos, so why not take a few with motherbility in mind?
But the principle works for other businesses.
Making crafts to sell? Give your children some extra supplies, letting them glue and glitter their own projects while you work nearby, getting in quality time with the kids while still fulfilling work obligations.
Attending a school function? Network (informally) with other parents. Don’t overdo it and forget why you’re there — your children. But keep your ears open for people or opportunities that can be useful for your business. A parent, for example, who’s considering putting his kids into piano lessons, just as you’re thinking about teaching them. And then follow up later on.
It’s important to be wary that business management doesn’t start to overshadow the quality family time we all seek.
At some point, I had to put down the camera and just be with my son. And it’s not always appropriate to pull out your business card.
A little extra thought here and there, however, can keep your business venture going, even as holiday distractions take priority.
December might not be the month your business’s growth spikes.
But your enterprise doesn’t have to wilt during the holidays, either.