The 5 Worst Ways to Close Out 2011
Here we are. It’s already the week of Thanksgiving and my friends on Facebook and Twitter are already commenting about running out of time. While I’m not a time management guru, I have been doing this work thing for many years now, and have some lessons to share. I could toss out lots more ways to crash your end of year momentum, but these five are pretty broad statements that give you an idea of how to make sure you don’t create chaos for the next 45 days.
- Lose Focus. Now through the end of the year is one of the most hectic and stressful times for most people. Don’t let the demands of others allow you to lose focus on what you’ve already committed to do. Make sure you stay focused and on task to what you know you need to accomplish by end of year – and nothing else. Set a timer to help you stay focused on smaller tasks; time block your days for larger tasks. Do what you need to do, but commit to yourself right now to staying focused or it will just go down hill from here!
- Consistently over indulge. You may be thinking food, and that’s certainly one category to consider, but I’m basically making a blanket statement here. Food, beverages, work, family, friends, shopping, spending. Just keep your wits and you’ll be fine. My friend Peter Dunn (catch his excellent advice over on his blog, petetheplanner.com) talks about using cash only this time of year. I tried this once and it does work to help you realize just how much you’re spending. He also introduced me to the abundance mentality which would make a good read around this time of year too.
- Run yourself down. You’re probably laughing at this statement, but we’ve all done it. It’s not something you work to do, so obviously you may be able to help yourself stay energized if you consciously work to find a balance for the next 40ish days. You cannot sell every service, implement every new idea and build vast empires by end of year. What you can do to help you in each of those areas is identify what you can complete this year and chunk down those goals. Working right now to put yourself in a better place to kick-off 2012 is perfectly acceptable and exactly the way you should be thinking about it.
- Fail to be grateful. I’m going to bet there has been a time when you were pulling out some Bah Hum Bug when you should have been thankful and feeling blessed. We all get caught up in this and need to find little reminders that what we do have in life is often more wonderful and fulfilling than we give it credit. Casey wrote a fun post on giving thanks that you may want to consider for sharing your thoughtfulness. You can also get into practice of reflecting each evening on a few reasons why you’re grateful or a few positive accomplishments you had for the day. This simple five-minute exercise can be very powerful, especially once you have made it a practice for a few weeks.
- Create unrealistic expectations. Women may be much worse at this than men, but this is not the time of year to create crazy expectations… and especially a horrible time of year to have unrealistic expectations of others. As I tell my five-year old at least 10 times a day, Focus On YOUrself, not what others are doing. Each person has their own capacities, expectations and goals so this means they’re crazy busy, losing focus and trying to fit it all in just like you. Don’t fall in the trap, maintain your focus and be smart about your expectations.