As I write this, there are still two weeks left in the year.
Two weeks – almost 4% of the year.
Yet many people are already in holiday-coasting mode.
I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t enjoy the holidays, and remember their importance. And I realize that some of you reading this will have vacations between now and the end of the year.
None of that is a good excuse to not finish strong.
So what do I mean by finishing strong?
If You Are Working
Do important things. Everything on this list will be important things, but I start here because if you don’t decide to do important things, you may squander these days on tasks like cleaning your desk or cleaning out your email. This time of year is too important to work solely on these types of activities.
Reflect and project. Take some time to think about the past year – what worked and what didn’t? How did you serve your team well – and how did you let them down? Then think about the coming year – how will you best support your team? To give you a full set of refection and projection questions, I’ve been publishing "The 12 (Leadership) Days of Christmas" on my blog. Whether you start questions like these before or after Christmas doesn’t matter as much as that you do ask them.
Use the quieter time. The week between Christmas and New Year’s can be the most productive week of the year if you are in the office. Never are there fewer interruptions and more quiet. Since most leaders constantly talk to me about how busy they are with overflowing calendars, this week offers a chance to plan, strategize and prepare for the New Year.
Focus on goals. Certainly this falls into the “do important things” category, but it deserves its own spot. If your goals for the coming year are set, work on your plans for them. If your goals (personal or organizational) aren’t set, there will never be a better time to set them.
If You Are on Vacation
Really refresh. Don’t just cram every moment with activity and travel. Consciously use at least some of the time for relaxation so when you return you are ready mentally, emotionally and physically to succeed in the New Year.
Read. During your time off, read something inspiring or informative. Use some of your away time to put new information into your mind – information that will make a difference for you in the coming year.
Remember your potential. Often times when spending time with family and friends we are reminded of who we really are. Think about your values, your true identity and your potential. Don’t leave these things at home when you go back to work. Use this time to remind yourself of what you are capable of being and doing – and bring it back to work with you.
Maybe you will spend time both at work and away. If this is true, pick items from both lists.
As a leader, these activities are doubly important. Because if you are in a holiday coast, so will be all of your team members. Remember, they are watching you – more than you realize – and if you don’t finish strong, neither will the rest of your team. Doing anything other than using the end of the year to think, plan, strategize and prepare for a successful New Year is cheating yourself, your team and your organization.