Founder Friday: How I Manage My Business During the Holiday Season, with Heidi Zak
As a #ByWomenForWomen company, we love celebrating brands that are led by fellow female founders. Our new series, Founder Friday, is a chance to get to know some of these standout women, including our very own Heidi Zak!
Many different labels can describe one person — a mom, a founder, a wife, a friend. But at any given time, one of those titles takes priority over the others, a fact that is increasingly obvious as the year comes to a close. Between planning sessions and holiday parties, the holiday season is over before I even know it.
It’s tough staying motivated with a jam-packed schedule, but it’s not impossible. I have to remind myself to make a decision and move on, even if that means passing up a happy hour with friends from out of town or turning down another 2018 recap meeting. I can’t spend insane amounts of time trying to make everything 100 percent perfect or else I would never get anything done!
Here’s how I find motivation and stay sane during the holiday season and into the year ahead.
1. Do Everything Fully
The best way to stay energized is by being fully present in the moment. I’m most effective when I’m 100 percent focused on what I’m doing. So, if I’m on the phone, I’m not checking email or looking at photos of my kids. I have to zero in on one thing.
And I use that same mentality at home. Busy moms usually only have a couple of hours with their kids before they go to bed during the week, so I try to spend time playing and laughing with them, giving baths and talking. I try not to look at my phone after getting home — those emails will still be there after the kids go to bed.
2. Focus on Efficiency
If I could have more of one thing, it wouldn’t be money. It would be time. When you have an extremely full schedule, every minute matters. That’s why busy moms are so efficient.
Every night, I look at my calendar for the next day and ask: “Is everything scheduled absolutely necessary?”
If the answer is no, I take back my time. The less time you have to waste, the more you have to prioritize. This makes me more efficient, which is essential to staying motivated throughout the day.
3. Get Comfortable Saying “No”
In both my family life and as a CEO, I have to say “no” to some things. Otherwise, I end up overwhelmed.
Say my family gets invited to a holiday party on a Sunday afternoon, but it’s far from our house. I have to decide: “Is driving 45 minutes each way to go to this holiday party really the best way to use our weekend time?” Sometimes, it’s better to celebrate as a family at home.
I also get invited to several events or dinners this time of year, and if I didn’t have kids, I’d probably go. But if I go to a dinner or an event — instead of going home to put my kids to bed — it needs to be really worthwhile. Not all of them are.
4. Remember Yourself
With different demands in all directions, it’s important to stay healthy and centered. For me, a lot of that comes down to working out regularly. Between the happy hours and holiday treats, this habit is practical for my mental and physical health.
Workouts help keep me sane, but they also keep me efficient. Working up a sweat helps me feel my best and extra productive. I try to get up before the kids and do a morning workout at home. Realistically, I can’t spend the time driving to and from the gym. So, I focus on doing quick and effective workouts at home.
Raising children and running a business is crazy year round, but especially so when holiday obligations are in the mix. I like to think back on how my family and my business have changed over the course of the year, and that in and of itself is enough to motivate me for the year ahead.