The holidays are supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, and we sure hope they are for you. But we also understand that as a business leader, it’s not always easy to check out while you celebrate. Small business owners and leaders are often plagued with the inability to disconnect from work, even during personal time. While hourly employees might be able to leave work at work, it might not be as easy for you.

So, here are a few tips to help as you lead through the holidays and the end of the year.

Re-establish expectations of yourself and others

The holidays are here, and you may feel like you’ve fallen behind. If you have a long list of things you want to do personally for the holiday season or at work before the end of the year, it’s time to re-align.

If you haven’t already, take a minute to do a brain dump and get all the to-dos out of your head and down on paper. Next, start crossing off the things that realistically aren’t going to happen. For example, did you want to send out Christmas cards this year? Crossing it off the list if they are half addressed and sitting under a stack of papers on your desk is okay.

Once you’ve removed the things you don’t “have to” or aren’t “able” to do, it allows you to reprioritize the rest of the list. Be intentional about getting the rest of the things done. Block off time on your calendar. Plan when you will accomplish them, and then list everything you need to ensure that happens.

Don’t forget to adjust your expectations of others for the holidays and the end of the year. Evaluate if you have unrealistic expectations for family, friends, coworkers, or employees. You will enjoy yourself much more and allow them to enjoy themselves if you catch and alter your expectations right now.

Be present with those around you

There are a lot of “concerns” out there in the world right now, and when you’re working to scale a business, it can be easy to allow those things to distract you. Be intentional about being present where you are and with those around you. When you’re at work, focus on your work tasks. When you spend time with family and friends, allow yourself to be fully present. Work tasks can wait until you are back on work time. And I know that’s often easier said than done.

Some find that journaling daily helps them get their worries and concerns out of their head. This can free up your thoughts and allow you to be more present. And another tip to be more present is next on the list below.

Find a time to disconnect

A 2022 study found that we check our phones on average 344 times a day.

If we break that down over the course of a day and say we sleep for 7 hours, it would look like checking our phones around 20 times an hour—or every three minutes!

Let that sink in.

Now think about what that does to our mental health, ability to focus, and what message it sends to those around us. We cannot be fully present in anything we’re doing if we constantly give our attention to our phones.

Intentionally create space to disconnect throughout the next two weeks so you can be present where you are. When you’re with family and friends, look them in the eye and engage in conversation. Don’t get your phone out, and turn off the notifications. When you’re at work, dedicate time to deep work where you can focus without distractions. Time over the next two weeks will likely feel like it’s flying by. Why allow your phone, the internet, social media, and the news to distract you from more important things?

And do your best to ensure each employee has a specified period when they can also disconnect from their work-related device usage. For example, if it’s essential to have someone on-call, do your best to divide time up so everyone has a time when they can disconnect 100%.

Celebrate the wins from the year

As the year winds down, many leaders shift their focus to the upcoming year. And while that’s important, don’t forget to reflect on 2022 and the successes you and your team have achieved along the way. Make intentional time to thank them as a team and individually for the work they’ve done and the effort they’ve made. Communicate your gratitude to each person on the team.

And don’t forget to celebrate your successes. Sometimes it’s easier to recognize what others have done while focusing on our failures. So make sure you take a moment to reflect on the achievements you’ve contributed to throughout the year.

The next two weeks will likely fly by. Do your best to enjoy the positive moments happening around you. Look for and highlight the good.