The end of the year seems to have a knack of creeping up on us, even though it’s the same time every year! One minute it’s September and kids are going back to school. The next minute it’s mid-November and Christmas is 6 weeks away.
All of a sudden, the rush is on – to finish projects, push at targets and get those year-end deliverables over the line – as well as the day to day, the Christmas shopping, and trying to fit all of December’s work into 3 weeks.
How do you end your year with a big bang, without burning yourself out and collapsing in a heap on Christmas day with a pocket full of tissues and a head full of cold?
Here are four ways:
1. Wrap up
Choose one big project you’ve been working on this year (one, not ten!) and set yourself a finish line. Depending on the project, your finish line may be the end of a stage or the entire project.
We live in a world where work never ends. The nature of our work is that there’s always more we can do. Without a finish line, it’s easy to lose momentum, and for the project to creep. That’s why we need to actively create our own finish lines, to define what ‘job done’ looks like and to enjoy that sense of satisfaction that comes with completion.
2. Let go
You, your clients, your industry, are not the same as they were at the beginning of the year. Things change. What projects did you start, that no longer serve you? What goals have changed? What plans have become redundant?
As Louise Smith, the first lady of NASCAR said, “You can’t reach for anything new if your hands are still full of yesterday’s junk.”
What do you need to let go of? What expectations do you need to release, in order to reach for what’s next with both hands.
3. Take stock
It’s easy to be so focused on what’s still on our to-do list that you forget to take stock of what you have done, what’s gone well and how far you’ve come.
If you’ve come to the end of a crazy year, and there’s still more to do, take a moment to reflect. Celebrate what you have done, what you have achieved, and what you have enjoyed. Write a ‘ta-da’ list, or create a celebrations board in the office. Thank the people who have helped you.
4. Make space
As my good friend, Chief Ninja Graham Allcott put it, productivity is making space for what matters. What do you want to make space for next year?
Perhaps it’s a training course you’ve always wanted to do, a conference or retreat you want to attend, a personal project, a bold new business direction or simply space to recharge. Start making that space now, instead of waiting for when you might ‘have time’ as the weeks and months roll by. Once you’ve committed to it, you’ll find the emails, meetings and other jobs have a way of fitting in around them.
And instead of waiting until the New Year to make all those plans for next year? How about making a start now, so you finish the year with excitement for the year ahead?
Over to you. What will you wrap up, let go of, take stock of or make space for, to end the year with a productive bang! Let us know what you decide to do.
Grace’s new book ‘How to be Really Productive: achieving clarity and getting results in a world where work never ends‘ is out now, published by Pearson.