Strategic Planning

Make the Most of This Time of Year

Now is the time to assess where you are and plan how to get where you are heading toward.
Make the Most of This Time of Year
Image credit: Mike Harrington | Getty Images

We are winding down yet another year, and to be honest these last few weeks are always my favorite time of the year. We can start to reflect back on how the year progressed, and also start to think forward to what we want to do differently next year. It’s a wonderful transitional time as we both finish up and start again.

It’s kind of refreshing.

But let’s face it, there’s also a lot to do these final weeks of the year and it’s very easy to get distracted. There are still the more than occasional fire drills, endless deadlines, steady deliverables, and of course numerous social gatherings. I know I’m out almost every night of the week this time of year, but then up again at 5:00 am to get my day started.

It can be exhausting.

When times are busy I think it’s even more important to focus. As you head into the final weeks of 2016 and gear up for the first few weeks of 2017, here are three focus areas I suggest to help you get through it:

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Give thanks.

Now is a good time to thank those around you who helped to make 2016 a success, or at least helped you get out of a pickle this year if it wasn’t your best year ever. Most of us aren’t super great about thanking people along the way, but these last few weeks of the year are a great time to make up for lost time in the thankfulness department. Take people out to lunch, buy them some flowers, or just give them a hug to recognize all that they’ve accomplished this year. It’ll make them feel great that they are with you and, you know what, you’ll feel great too.

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Get organized.

I also spend the last few weeks of the year organizing my work environment. I put away files that have been piling up, and I clean up my desktop both real and virtual. I create new systems for organizing my work, and I dump all the materials that I no longer need. There’s nothing good about heading into a new year being messy and disorganized. The truth is that there is a little bit of downtime here and there, so take advantage of it and get yourself more organized. You’ll thank yourself for it.

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Prepare your plan for 2017.

With your teams happily in place and your world newly reorganized, it’s time to write up a plan for what you want to accomplish in the first 100 days of the new year. Or for the first quarter of the year depending on how you measure time. I always find that the first few months of every year completely set the stage for the remaining parts, so it’s important to get a running start. An outlined set of goals and action plans for the first 100 days will certainly do that, and as you check off early accomplishments you’ll see that you’re embarking on yet another successful year. There’s no better feeling than that!

Happy holidays to all…wishing you a successful end of year and beginning of next!