Making Time for the Family

by Gil Zeimer on December 23, 2010
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“It’s The Most Wonderful Time of The Year.” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” “Joy to The World.” “Deck the Halls.” “Jingle Bells.”

What do all of these favorite holiday songs have in common? Togetherness. Happiness. Norman Rockwell-style holiday dinners.

But if you’re running a small business, it seems like there are never enough hours in the day to do everything you’ve got to do, especially if you run your business, do the work, sell your company’s products or service, and manage the books.

And if you’re not always home for dinner, will one of your kids sing, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” to you?

We all wear a lot of hats, especially during this busiest of retail seasons, so here are some tips I’ve found helpful to ensure I make time for my family:

1) Take a dinner break every day – Even if you have to work late or overtime, try to take at least 30 minutes to have dinner with your family every day. If you run a retail shop, empower an employee to be in charge for the dinner hour.

2) Watch the clock – I walk a daily tightrope of balancing my “downstairs” life as a freelance writer in my home office with my “upstairs” life as a husband, a father of a teenager, and owner of two high-energy dogs who need daily walks. With all this, it’s easy to lose track of time. But when my computer screen reads 6:00 PM, I walk upstairs and spend quality time with my family over dinner. Then, if I have to work a bit later on, I can do so with a clear conscience.

3) Surprise them with food – If you want to have dinner with your family, but you’ve been too busy to cook, surprise them by ordering a pizza to be delivered, or drive to a restaurant to pick up deli sandwiches, Chinese food, sushi, a bucket of chicken, or something else everyone likes.

4) Make time for dessert – Even if you’re too busy to have dinner with your family, take them out for ice cream, frozen yogurt, or hot cocoa, then watch the smiles on everyone’s faces.

5) Give them a rain check – To assuage a situation when you had to work through dinner, give your family coupons good for a real family dinner, a picnic, a hike, or a movie.

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