A productivity loss of 15-20% is quite common in the last months of the year, but I’m here to help you fight against it. Whether it’s due to the season’s distractions, losing ground due to lack of planning, or simply holiday stress, a little recalibration is all you need to ensure you finish your 2018 on a positive and productive note.
So for that, I’m providing a worksheet filled with (both business AND personal!) 4th quarter planning questions, along with 7 tips for finishing on a high note…see below. We can all be stronger than our year-end holiday excuses!
So let’s shift things into higher gear and follow these…
7 Proven Tips for Finishing the Year Strong
1: Reframe your thinking
Empower yourself to think differently about 2019 and the balance of 2018. Whether you’re reflecting on how this year has been a huge success, or you’re thinking about how it was flat or maybe even disappointing … wherever you are is perfect!
Good news is there’s 100% of the year left to impact. Don’t let the false perception of a small number of weeks remaining skew your perspective about productivity. Remember that we humans invented time and the calendar; there’s nothing inherently magical about the 31st of December.
2: Plan EVERYTHING
Confession: I’m a major planner, so this tip really resonates for me. There’s pretty much nothing I don’t plan. It’s my secret weapon of productivity in my business and personal life. When I heard the axiom, “If it’s not on your schedule, it doesn’t exist and doesn’t get done” from my first business coach nearly 20 years ago, I wholeheartedly adopted that mindset.
Without my planning and calendaring tools, I believe I’d crumble under the weight of competing priorities that I manage.
So over the weeks that will round out 2018, I invite you to avoid distractions, scrambling, and wasting time by preemptively asking yourself these 23 questions, and take the time to schedule and handle them. These questions focus on BOTH personal and business needs, so you can be sure those two parts of your life flow seamlessly.
3: Narrow your focus
While there are many actions you can take to produce results in your business, there are probably only a few key activities that will significantly boost your revenue. Identify the top 3 actions that will produce results in the final weeks of the year. This is not the time to throw things against the wall to see what sticks; this is the time to double-down on proven strategies that produce results.
You may need to assess your sources of business to get clarity. For example, in my business, it’s all about word of mouth and referrals. I’m working on leveraging this as I know it’s a key area that produces.
4: Commit to your health, fitness and well-being
Your chances of finishing the year strong are greatly diminished if you run your immune system down and catch that dreaded winter plague. And even if you manage to avoid catching a bug, if you’re not being mindful of your fitness (i.e. excess nomming on party fare, not managing stress, shorting yourself on sleep, shorting yourself on exercise, etc.) your energy can be negatively impacted, too.
When you’re intentional about keeping things in balance, you’ll be more likely to have strong mental clarity and energy for consistent productivity.
5: Just say no
The axiom here is that saying yes to one thing is saying no to something else. Year end is an ideal time to review your book of business or client roster and decide which clients you may need to release. Are there products or services you’ve been offering that aren’t profitable and don’t make strategic sense? Have you been devoting energy to projects or initiatives in your personal or business life that haven’t been productive or fulfilling? Let go of what’s no longer working for you so you can create space for something that will.
6: Get things handled
Letting issues linger drains our energy and disempowers us. Close the loop. Get questions answered. What conversations need to happen? What messes do you need to clean up? What’s draining you? Know that completion causes momentum. What projects can you finish up and cross off your task list? Is there something you’ve been carrying around and not saying? Are you talking to someone in your head rather than having an actual
7: Action produces results
Thinking about finishing strong; talking about finishing strong; intending to finish strong; visualizing finishing strong — these are all nice, but nothing happens until action is taken. You have to pick-up the phone, send that text, make that phone call, send that email, schedule that meeting or project. Results don’t materialize until you take action.
In our roundtable meetings, I always strive to challenge members (and readers of this newsletter) in positive, growth-inspiring ways. So I’ll exit here with these key closing questions:
- How will you shift your thinking about year-end and finish strong?
- How will planning make a productivity shift for you?
- How will you prioritize, balance and release things that aren’t serving you?
In your business challenges, remember that small and consistent changes over time add up to big change and steady growth.