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November 15, 2016

Holiday or Havoc?

It happened again. Fall whizzed by me and the holidays are around the corner. I am already inundated by the invitations to fundraisers and holiday events. Yes, it is important to be involved and visible in your community, but you simply cannot be everywhere. When you own or manage a small business you wear many hats, which is time consuming. Add on all the social activities and you may end up with severe exhaustion, unable to enjoy the season and, dare I say it, feeling like a “Grinch.”  So, this year I am making a list and checking it twice as I decide where to participate. Here a few things I am considering.

Number 1: Am I passionate about the organization or the people who have invited me? Does their work inspire me? Are they making a difference in the community?

Number 2: Is this an event were I can strengthen existing business partnerships and make new connections?  If the event is a massive one you simply can’t make good connections. If that is your goal, smaller events might be more beneficial.

Number 3: Is the event interesting? I often get bored by events because they follow a very predictable pattern. There is nothing new or surprising. This leads me to think I should just send a contribution and stay home. On the other hand, if the program or venue provides a healthy dose of fun, entertainment, or great content it is worth the time.

Number 4: Is the timing of the event convenient and how much time will I need to commit? Smart people understand there are limited hours in the day. Sure, you can always squeeze in some time, but does it fit with your work schedule?  Do luncheon events wreak havoc on your day? Do evening events during the week last too long? I am always careful to check out the schedule. If an event does not start and end on time I am not likely to come back next year.

A lot of businesses sponsor big holiday fundraisers and look to the people they know to fill the tables. Saying “no” may be difficult especially when the invitation comes from a customer or business colleague. I have learned to politely decline and not feel guilty. For me the holidays are a time for family and friends. To be sure I have enough time for them I am a lot pickier about what I do. I know I can’t do everything and still have holiday spirit, so make your list and check it twice to see if it will bring you happiness and joy. If not, start crossing things off.

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