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How to finish the year strong

Where has the year gone? Seems like yesterday I was reviewing my 2016 performance and setting goals for 2017. You have to admit, this year has absolutely flown… and with holidays approaching, plus people taking a vacation, the new year will be here before you know it.

As the days get shorter and the calendar moves closer to a new year, for many, productivity starts to dwindle. In fact, 34% of senior managers feel that their employees are less productive before the holiday season. But for many others, it’s time to begin planning for how to start things off right in January. While I’m not big on the “new year, new me” mantra, the new year does give you two things – 1. a time-target to accomplish goals you set and 2. a chance to reset the batteries and focus in on things that matter.

The good news is there’s time… ample time to attack certain projects, accomplish goals and end the year on the up. So, how do you finish the year strong? Here are a few ideas:

Limit distractions

  • Between holiday parties, family time and gift shopping, it will become easy to get distracted over the next few months. That said, try to keep the distractions to a minimum. Plan out your holiday schedule now by identifying which days you’ll need to take off for personal events, setting aside a day to buy gifts and tracking days your team will be out of the office. Doing this will allow you to optimize those PTO days and work around them without any last-minute headaches.  I recently bought a personal whiteboard for this and it’s changed my life. It’s one thing to see things on your outlook calendar, but another to have it smack you in the face every morning. I wrote down every big event I have over the next 3 months to help with planning. You can buy them on Amazon for around $10. Here is the one I bought.

Recalibrate goals

  • If you’re like me, then you set goals for 2017, both professionally and personally. And if you’re like me, you’re on track to crush some and for others, you’re probably asking yourself why they’re on the list. Now is the time to recalibrate. You have 11 weeks, so of the goals that you set, what’s still possible? What’s not? Has your life shifted in ways that will allow you to generate new goals? Write down 3 goals (tops) that you either haven’t hit or are net-new. Build a quick plan to help you hit those goals (don’t spend a lot of time planning) and execute (execution is everything).

Pick up the productivity

  • With most people going out on 2-3 week vacations and enjoying the holiday lull, there’s an unseen (or at least, un-talked about) opportunity to get ahead of the competition. Start a project now that you know isn’t going launch until the new year, pick up a stretch project or set some time aside for additional training. Any of these will give you an edge in 2018.  Also, if you’re in sales (which we all are) gatekeeperspers will become less of a hurdle in December. Use the time to check in with prospects to see what else they might need in terms of solutions. Becoming more productive around this time of year can propel your end performance.

Plan for a year from now

  • Ask yourself, where do you want to be a year from now? New role? Better shape? Living in Hawaii running a surf shop? Whatever it is, visualize (literally) a year from now and have an honest conversation with yourself. I actually did this with a business coach and it was eye opening. She had me sit down for 10 minutes and speak to my “year from now” self (started out kind of awkward) to uncover what I should be doing with my life. It helps. Once you lock in what you want to be doing, write down 2 tactical things you can do this week to help you get the ball rolling.

Seek out a side hustle

  • The holidays are a great time to start that side hustle you’ve been itching to get going. I’m reading a book right now, called Side Hustle, that gives you the blueprint to go from idea to income in 27 days. The book lists everything out from idea to execution (even gives you ideas if you can’t come up with them on your own). It’s one of the better books, in my mind, to help with this type of project. Read the book, get the side hustle up and running.

Bottom line:

Whether you think this article is early given the timing, the reality is that the end of year is here.  While it’s quickly approaching, you have time to end the year strong. Limit your distractions, plan ahead, lock in on some goals and execute. Optimizing your time can help accelerate your plans in the new year.

-Al Cavalieri

Let’s connect on Instagram – @AlCavalieri

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