Episode 77
3 Ways To Protect Your Time This Holiday Season
In this episode, Jessie and Angela chat about 3 ways to protect your time this holiday season season. The biggest way is setting expectations for yourself, your family, and your customers. After that, they discuss the finer details like deciding communication methods and plans for when things (inevitably) go wrong.

Transcript

Angela

Hey everyone we are so excited to have you with us today and today we are going to be talking about 3 ways to protect your time this holiday season.

So if you’re listening to this the day that it first drops tomorrow is Thanksgiving the day after that is Black Friday and we are weeks away from Christmas is anyone else panicking yet?

Jessie

Yeah I think I have like a total of 2 gifts haven’t even really started my holiday shopping.

Angela

Yeah, me too, and one of them, one of them was a Facebook ad that I saw and I was like oh my gosh my kid would love that and I showed it to my husband who’s like yes, our kid would love that buy it now.

Jessie

Yeah, I’m looking forward to thanksgiving though because it’s my favorite meal of the entire year. I don’t know… 

Angela

Does your family do turkey?

Jessie

Yes, but it’s like there’s no reason why we can only do it on Thanksgiving I could have one7 you know Thanksgiving meals a year but I don’t. You know like we make the stuffing. Like from scratch so it takes time to cut up the bread and dry it out and all the things. So like there’s a lot of work that goes into it but man is it good.

Angela

Right, no, you don’t It’s true. Yeah, yeah, we do boxed stuffing. This year we are in charge of thanksgiving for my parents. Usually, they do all the cooking but they’re getting older. So we’re in charge of it this year and then with my husband’s family. We’re in charge of stuffing and rolls because that’s the only thing that they feel like we can be responsible for apparently it’s like for my sister-in-law they are like “bring 4 desserts and a veggie tray and something else” and then my mother in law does all the cooking.

Jessie

Ah.

Angela

And then for us, they’re like “can you bring roles and stuffing can you handle that?”

Jessie

No, my gosh!

Angela

I do help cook once we get there so it all evens out but it’s just every year we kind of have to joke about it like oh like the big responsibility we have.

Jessie

Yeah, well in order for you to enjoy that time and focus on the family whether it be Thanksgiving or Christmas or any other holiday that you happen to celebrate over the next couple of months we wanted to talk about these 3 ways to protect that time during your holiday adventures.

Angela

Yes, I see people start talking about this a lot the week before Thanksgiving ish and what they’re planning on doing, and “oh my gosh. It’s almost the end of the year and what am I going to do over Christmas or whatever.” It always seems to take people by surprise.

Jessie

Yeah, yeah, that’s crazy because we just get into our routines, and then all of a sudden when something is boom here out of the routine throws us off. 

Angela

Yes, and it’s a big out of the routine. It’s like weeks of out of the routine. So all right? So our first way we have is to set expectations both for yourself and for your buyers, customers, and clients depending on what sort of business you have.

Jessie

Yeah, so I mean I think that the first thing you have to do is set the expectation for yourself like in your own mind think about what you expect out of yourself just because I think especially as moms we’re sitting there like.

If I dedicate any time to working during these next you know, whatever during our family time I’m going to feel so guilty that I’m not with my family. But if you set up that expectation ahead of time like listen I already know if something’s going to happen I’m going to have to work.

Angela

Yep.

Jessie

But my expectation is for myself that I’m going to have my workstation set up at my in-laws if that’s where you’re going or something and or have your laptop there with you and I’m going to go out to the car and I’m going you know? I’m going to use my mobile hotspot and I’m just going to sit there for no more than 2 hours or something like that just setting those expectations in your head because once you have those expectations set then you’re not going to feel guilty but also you can communicate those with your spouse with your kids with your family. Not just your clients or customers that kind of thing. It’s also for you and your family.

Angela

Yeah, I remember one year I worked Thanksgiving and Black Friday and I took my, I was when I was still using a Chromebook, I took my Chromebook over to my parent’s house and you know every so often I would hop on there and work and check messages and things like that and it was… I didn’t love it and so starting the next year I set really pretty firm boundaries around my time for Thanksgiving and Black Friday and made it clear to clients ahead of time that I am not going to be available for that.

Jessie

Now I mean unfortunately you know I’m actually running a team right now and I want to protect their time right? And that’s kind of the bad part about running a team is I’ve already set the expectation with clients that if something goes wrong, You come to me like I’m going to allow them all to be off so and then so if something goes wrong it’s my responsibility you got to come to me.

Angela

Right? And speaking of expectations one of the things that I have done that has made things a lot smoother with our family is I set expectations with clients that I am not going to be available Thanksgiving or Black Friday or that whole weekend I’m just not. Anything you need done any testing you need to do anything that goes sideways you have to get to me by Wednesday and then I set an expectation with my family that clients are going to reach out to me over that weekend.

Jessie

Yeah, ah.

Angela

Because inevitably at least one of them has a legitimate emergency and panics and reaches out to me but by setting the expectation that I’m not going to be available. It really mitigates them reaching out unless it’s just an absolute emergency and sometimes I can’t sometimes I have to message back and be like I’m sorry I’m at my parents house I’m with family I don’t have access to my computer I can’t help you. But setting the expectation for my clients that I’m going to be gone and for my family that I may need to step out and handle something for a client has made things a lot smoother so just know that your expectations don’t have to be the same across the board. It’s whatever works best to give you the most peace and make things go the smoothest over the holiday and I do the same thing over Christmas too.

Jessie

I like that I like being able to set expect different expectations for different groups of people. But also by you putting that firmer boundary and saying to clients like I’m not working then it really if they do reach out to you, you know it’s.. It’s really big. Hopefully… if they respect your boundaries.

Angela

Yeah, hopefully, yeah, yes, most of them do and every once in a while I won’t get the message until later and by the time I do they’ll be like oh never mind I figured it out. So.

Jessie

It’s kind of like that. That’s really the big one number one: setting expectations.

Angela

Yeah, that’s the biggest one

Jessie

So number two is kind of also setting an expectation but figuring out how you want to be communicated with because sometimes it is different over the holiday season. Are you going to give out your phone number? Are you going to be available on voxer, slack, email, messenger? You don’t want them reaching out to you on all of the above. So if you choose one avenue and tell everybody this is how you can communicate with me then you know that that’s only one place you have to check for messages.

Angela

Right. Yes, and also by setting that up in advance. You know that if you say to your clients or to your customers you have to email me at this email if you need help. And they send you a message on your chatbot or Voxer and you miss it you’ve already told them this is how I’m communicating over the holidays.

Jessie

Now and I just also realized that this goes along with setting expectations and you know how you want to be communicated with a lot of people who are running Black Friday deals if you are running a black Friday deal chances are you’re going to have to work some. Unless you have a support team that’s going to be answering all of those questions and then you have the expectations for them on how to communicate with you if something really goes haywire if you’re going to take that time off but for a lot of us small businesses. It’s just us and if we’re running a black Friday sale we’re probably going to have to be working so it also goes the other way. It’s not just. “Oh, I’m not going to be working”. Maybe you are going to be working or say hey I’m going to take Thanksgiving off but on black Friday I’m definitely working because I’m running a sale through cyber Monday.

Angela

Right? Yeah, absolutely also with communication I generally will give clients one way to communicate with me, and then I turn off all the rest of my notifications because I want to add to my peace and if I see bubbles on a messaging app I’m going to want to check it and most of them have read receipts. So your clients or customers going to know. So I generally just turn off notifications on my phone so that I can just enjoy that time

Jessie

And if you are really bad and you and you really want to protect that time and you just can’t help yourself delete the app I mean it takes 2 seconds to re-download it.

Angela

Um, yeah, right? Yes, and on iPhone, you can actually just remove an app from your home screen.

Jessie

Because once you take it away you’re like “oh there’s no bubble but I’m going to click it to find out if there’s anything.” 

Angela

So it won’t delete it and delete all the data but it will take it off your home screen so you can’t see it there taunting you and being like come check me.

Jessie

Yeah, yeah I mean not to be the Devil’s advocate. But you can just search for it real quick and find it. So…

Angela

You can do that. Yes, so if you have a hard time with that. Then definitely delete it all the way. But if you think you have enough self-control to not search it up if you think just seeing it on the home screen is going to you know make you want to check it and that is definitely an option.

Jessie

Yeah, I mean coming from someone who actually just had the quote-unquote day off a couple of days ago I was checking messages all day I’m so bad.

Angela

Yeah, I think we all tend to do that and it’s hard too with Black Friday and usually, there’s an after-Christmas sale or between Christmas and New Year’s sale. Where we run businesses and so there is that expectation that we’re doing something we’re going to be working but we’re also trying to protect that and have that time with our families.

Jessie

And I mean nobody said you have to have thanksgiving on Thanksgiving. You know, maybe your family’s very flexible and maybe it’s hey we run a business. So we are going to be running sales. We’re working Thanksgiving black Friday blah blah blah blah but we celebrate Thanksgiving the week before or the week after and you can just kind of change that around. For my family. We actually celebrated Thanksgiving last weekend. Because we had family in town and we’re like we want to celebrate Thanksgiving with them. So let’s do that now and then you know and then that kind of freed us up for other plans on Thanksgiving but it’s like nobody said it has to be on that day. And a lot of your customers come from countries where it’s not their thanksgiving like this is just us. So they’re not off they want to buy they want to be looking at your things they want to take advantage of your deals people are going to be buying and plus this is the season where people are a lot looser with their money. Because they just know this is the buying season and I want to buy all the things and I want to all the deals and like they’re more willing to open their wallets so you might want to take advantage of that looseness and not be stingy. Instead of saying no I’m not working on Black Friday out of principle or maybe you should out of business principle..

Angela

And yes, definitely I think a lot of people, especially in other countries, I’m always surprised that they have like a version of Black Friday because the US has black Friday up in Canada they had Thanksgiving a couple of weeks ago but they have basically black Friday after our Thanksgiving because there are so many American companies that run black Friday deals. So there are other countries that are definitely looking for deals outside of just the US.

Jessie

That’s right.  So we’ve talked about setting expectations and how we want to be communicated with. Angela, what is the third way to protect our time this holiday season?

Angela

The third way to protect our time this holiday season is to plan for when things go wrong because they will. I tell clients that every year Black Friday something’s going to go wrong anytime you launch a new product or a new funnel or a new something, then something is going to go wrong. It’s just inevitable.

Jessie

They will They will. Yeah I mean for me, it’s like okay again, I think again it kind of boils down to set expectations. But it’s not just setting the expectation of okay if something goes wrong I’m going to work. No, now I need to have a plan of what am I going to do. Am I just going to take my entire laptop am I just going to take a little Chromebook am I going to go out to the car and use my mobile hotspot am I going to go to another room am I going to leave the house and go to some coffee shop that probably isn’t open? Hey just throwing it out there that places like Wendy’s and Mcdonald’s as long as they’re open they have free wi-fi now they really want you to go in and work and experience and hang out so just saying there are options.  Like, make the plan. What are you going to do?

Angela

Yeah, yeah, definitely and I think depending on your industry and how long you’ve been in business you probably have an idea of some of the most common things that will go wrong and so you can kind of plan for those. Common things and then just kind of have an if all you know what breaks loose this is what I’m doing kind of plan.

Jessie

Yes, but also again it goes back to the whole. Okay, like if you’re running a sale or if you’re not running a sale. Are you a service provider or are you you know, not like just trying to figure out what kind of business you are in what is the expectation for when things go wrong? So if you are in an industry where there’s no black Friday sale. No holiday sale. You just don’t really have to worry about any of that stuff then it’s really nice, just completely shut down.

Angela

Enjoy your time with your family.

Jessie

Most of us are not that fortunate.

Angela

So I think one of the most important things is setting those expectations the other two sort of fall into that as like addendums to the set expectations but also give yourself some grace this holiday season and know that it’s not going to be perfect. Everything’s not going to go exactly the way you planned. It’s okay, you’re not letting anybody down, you’re not letting your family down your clients your customers your buyers. Whatever, it’s just that time of year when everybody that you’re dealing with has a lot on their plate and is trying to finish the year strong and buy Christmas gifts and take care of family and so everyone’s a little bit frazzled, and just give yourself and the people around you some grace.

Jessie

Right? because unfortunately, not everybody’s going to understand what it’s like to own a business, especially family because they have those expectations of what they expect the holidays to look like and. Entrepreneurship never looks the way anybody expects it to. So. It’s just again about having those hard conversations upfront about what it means because sometimes you know they have the expectation that you’re not going to be working at all. But if you have the conversation to say hey guess what I might then that maybe opens them up to be like not as upset with you when you have to dash off.

Angela

Yeah. Yes, yes, and you don’t have to be as upset with yourself if you have already kind of made that plan and set those expectations where you know this is the thing that could happen and you’re ready for it and it doesn’t feel quite so out of the blue and irritating.

Jessie

Yes. Yeah, and maybe like I said you know you have a different day that you celebrate with your family or maybe I just thought of this what if you set a timer and every minute you have away is a minute where you’re going to do a special family activity? So, the kids almost want you to go away to add to the pot of this special Family Time. So you know you can make it fun or it’s just. It’s just that communication is key in so many parts of our lives and so many people are afraid to have those tough conversations. But it’s because you are fighting the idea of how people are going to react or what people are going to say versus reality. So if you just talk to them and let them actually respond the way that they want to. You may be pleasantly surprised that all it took was a conversation.

Angela

Yeah, I think yes special time I like that. And that will make things go much smoother.

Jessie

All right? So if you are ready for your next steps this holiday season and a few extra ideas that we have go ahead and head over to marketing mommspodcast.com and we will be able to offer you those next steps along with the next steps of all our previous episodes so head on over and we will see you next week

Angela

Bye.

 

About The Hosts

Co-host of the Marketing Moms podcast, Jessie is also the owner of Valle Media, LLC, a company that helps small businesses with their digital marketing strategies, sales funnel conversions, and tech training. She began her business in 2016 after becoming a mom and deciding she wanted to work from home to spend time raising her two children.

As well as being the co-host of the Marketing Moms Podcast, Angela is also the owner of Technical Geekery, LLC, a service business that provides development and support for businesses using the WordPress and Shopify Platforms. She started her business journey in 2014 and Technical Geekery was founded in 2017. 

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