are you ready for the rush?

November. Ah, crisp air, pretty leaves, and the beginning of the holiday shopping season.

The pre-holiday rush stress can keep you from enjoying the little things in November, like a coffee date with a friend, the first snow, or warm baked goods (which nothing should ever keep you from enjoying). If you had a successful holiday season last year, you've probably started to work on extra inventory for the holiday rush, possibly feeling a bit overwhelmed, drinking too much coffee and probably not getting enough sleep.

And that's no good for anyone. Take a step back, take a deep breath, and relax!
Just because the holiday rush is just around the corner doesn't mean you need to be stressed out! Here are some tips to help you stay sane during the busiest season of the year!

Lay out your holiday policies as soon as possible, in a permanent place. 
In your shop policies or FAQ section be sure to thoroughly outline your holiday policies and link to them often in your social media. You could also make a page on your blog or your site with your holiday policies and make it the landing page for the duration of the holidays. Things to cover.

Schedule posts.
Spend less time on the computer and more time being creative. Use a scheduler like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to schedule posts to your social media sites. Set some time aside every morning to schedule posts as far ahead as you want. Be sure to schedule in your holiday policies at least once a day!

Prepare packaging for easy shipping. 
This is actually really convenient any time of the year, but can really save you a lot of time during the holiday rush. If you use the same size shipping materials (say, a bubble mailer) for almost all your products, you can prepare packaging by putting a return address label on it and slipping in thank you cards and promotional materials so when you receive an order, you can simply personalize the thank you card, slip the item in the packaging and put the address on the front so it is ready to go! If your items are a bit more diverse, set up "packaging packets" - return address label, thank you card, promotional materials all put together in a bundle - so you can easily and quickly package orders when a product sells.

Set shipping dates.
Save time by not doing daily postal runs - set one-two days a week for postal runs and make a note of those days in your policies so people know when their packages will ship.

Set easily obtainable work goals. Lots of things can come up during the holidays. Instead of setting up an intense production schedule with crazy goals and deadlines, set lower, reasonable goals. When you meet and exceed those goals you will feel happier, more excited, more accomplished than if you push into the wee hours of the morning just to meet a high quota for the day.

Make the most of your production time.
To make your time spent on production extra productive - turn off the computer and put the phone on silent. Totally unplug while you work so you won't be distracted. If you use the tip above for scheduling promotional posts, you won't feel as pressured to check your social media sites when you you are supposed to be creating.

Don't overwork yourself.
If you do need to work extra hours during the holiday season, set the hours and days off and stick to them. Work from X time to X time, and allot time for meals, snacks, and breaks. When quitting time comes, quit. Put your stuff away and be done for the day. No amount of sales is worth being stressed out, over tired, or grouchy from working too much.

Ask for help.
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed remember there is nothing wrong with asking for help during the busy holiday season (or any time!). Even something as small as having your significant other or a friend do a postal run for you once a week can free up more production time and take a load off your shoulders. Think about what you could delegate to helper, and work out a trade - whether it is monetary, a swap of services for goods, or just an exchange of baked goods for their time. People love to help. Give them the chance to! Even if you don't have anyone local who can help with the actual production of your items or postal/shopping trips you could reach out to a friend for some virtual aid to do some promotions for your shop or schedule your posts for you.

Do you have some suggestions for ways to make preparing for the holiday rush less stressful? Share in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. Great post! Lot of good things to keep in mind. This is my first holiday season so I'm definitely starting to get pretty frazzled.