How to Motivate Yourself to Work During the Holidays

I confess. I did not want to work last Friday or Saturday after having 12 people here for Thanksgiving.
I had plenty waiting on me in the office, but I was L.a.z.y with a capital L.
Plop-myself-in-front-of-the-TV-for-a-few-hours Lazy.
Yes, I’m paying for it now, but I’m okay with that. Everyone needs a break now and then and I gave myself a significant home vacation.
But now I have to get back to work. I have a sale to launch, a few blog posts to write, and a newsletter that must be delivered to your inbox on Wednesday morning. I have responsibilities.
And so do you.

One of our Thanksgiving tables. Photo courtesy Cynthia Morris.
One of our Thanksgiving tables. Photo courtesy Cynthia Morris.

With less than 1 month to go before Christmas (yipes!), it’s about this time that we start using the holidays as an excuse to neglect our income-generating businesses.
Don’t do this.
Enjoy the holidays as much as you can while also keeping your business on track. There are other people out there who can counsel you on self-care and enjoying the season. It’s my job to remind you that your success depends on the daily commitment you show to your business.
Remember the following six thoughts whenever you are tempted to neglect sending that email to your list or writing that blog post.

1. Someone somewhere is waiting to hear from you.

They probably don’t know it yet, but you have the right words or the perfect piece of art for someone right now.
There’s no better time to share your gifts.

2. Postponing action is postponing your success.

Every time you procrastinate or decide that a marketing action “probably won’t lead to anything,” remember that you are just putting off any positive results you could be benefiting from.
If you want to make sure you relish the holidays while still moving forward, block out holiday time and office time on your calendar.

3. It takes longer to restart a project than to continue chipping away at it.

You just have to do a little bit at a time to stay connected to your projects and commitments. If 30 minutes a day is all you can spare, then so be it. Set your timer and crank through a task.
Focus on taking single actions, not on what remains of the bigger projects.

4. Sometimes you just have to begin.

Our projects are usually bigger in our heads than they are to implement. Most people find that once they start something, it’s hard to walk away from it.
Just start. Be open to where your initiative leads.

5. Consider a change of scenery.

If your home reminds you of the presents you need to wrap, baking you need to do, or cards you should be sending, get out!
Go to a coffee shop to write your blog post or take a walk for inspiration.

6. Imagine how good you’ll feel.

Hard work yields a higher level of self-satisfaction than ignoring what must be done.
Think about how good you’ll feel in January when there isn’t a backlog of neglected tasks on your list.

How do you stay motivated during the holidays?


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12 thoughts on “How to Motivate Yourself to Work During the Holidays”

  1. Thank Mother Mary and Baby Jesus I do not have an issue with not wanting to work! And thank you for reminder #1- helped me hone in on some folks I hadn’t considered that I’m sure want to hear about my upcoming event.

  2. Thank you Alyson…
    …for always being there for the artist, and for your wonderful book. I think every artist out there might want to own that book. What a great gift it would make at this time of year.
    Have a Happy Holiday Season…and a Bright and beautiful Christmas.

  3. I am so lucky not to have this problem. The holiday season is over for me until New Years. I do admit that I chose to cut down on my enewsletter and blog posts last week. I knew that if I was busy with Thanksgiving preparations (or in my case this year, Thanksgivukah), probably others in the states would be as well and would very likely not be reading everything I put out. I still worked on other art and art business tasks, though.

  4. Great post, Alyson! This year, I have an event scheduled in December (this weekend), and it has given me a reason not to slack off. It felt great to take a couple of days for Thanksgiving, but when I jumped back into work I had renewed energy and ideas. I’m considering having an event in December every year, just to keep my momentum going.

  5. This is especially difficult for those of us with day jobs. We get home and want to work at our easels not on the art biz. IRBITS!!!
    This year, after some classes with Lisa Call, I plan on making Completed Projects for the 2014 Christmas season so that for ONCE all of it is on “auto pilot.” Just need to add a couple of goals and systems…and next year should sound like all of you!

  6. Great post, Alyson! While it is wonderful advice for your readers, the concepts you listed really apply to any small business during the holiday season.
    I really love the concept of chipping away at a project using a timer. I have used this many times. In fact, I’m worried that I may wear out the timer in my iPhone. : ) But seriously, this works like a charm when you have a full plate and can only devote a fixed amount of time for each task.
    I also think it is especially important for artists to realize that “sharing their gifts” is much larger than just business. By sending out newsletters or email announcements with images of new works, artists may just make this holiday season the best ever for an existing collector or new collector. The holiday season is all about spreading joy. Why not do it with your art?

  7. Unless you are of a faith or are retired then all holidays are to be worked: either as the artist that you are or the part-time artist that you are.
    for me in retirement this coming season of festive bonhomie is a great time for finishing off the bookwork and cataloguing for 2013…then it will be time to copy them into those new folders for 2014!
    Having said that the transition from 20+ years of Microsoft to Apple IMAC is still, three months on, a slow learning curve…but what else is retirement for?
    That is other than thinking art, planning art, making art, writing about art and communicating with fellow artists on the world-wide stage?

  8. Pingback: Entrepreneurial Writers: Keeping Motivated During the Holidays

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  11. I am in the same boat, there is just something about the holidays that makes it so much harder to want to work. I know I need to get things done, but I just keep finding stupid ways to put it off. Finally, once I get around to it I am mad at myself for not starting because it is so much easier than I had anticipated. Just like you mentioned in your fourth point, once you get going you realize how much time you wasted because you made a mountain out of a molehill.

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