As many organisations enter the final quarter of the year there is increased activity as the end of the year gets closer. The goals that were set at the beginning of the year with Quarter 4 completion dates are now becoming very real. The tendency is to rush to complete these activities as annual performance is reviewed. This additional layer of busyness can add to the normal feeling of overload. This can lead to doing work that checks a box rather than focusing on high priority tasks. What can you and your team do to manage the end of the year effectively so that you are not completely burnt out by the time the middle of December comes?
1. Look back at the goals that you set
As a team or as an individual, go back and review the goals you set at the start of the year. Hopefully this won’t be the first time you have done this but if it is, then it’s even more critical to take a look at what has been achieved and what is outstanding to get a sense of what needs to be done.
2. Consider the changes in your environment
A lot will have changed in the last several months. What has changed within your organisation that has and will impact on achievement of your goals? What has changed externally? Are your goals still relevant? Or is it even more critical that they are achieved?
3. Recognise your successes and how you have achieved them
You may be surprised to realize that you have already achieved a lot! Take the time to recognise yourself and others who have contributed to your individual or team success. A quick word of appreciation can be all that is needed. Strengthening relationships is even more important as everyone becomes more task focused.
Consider how you have achieved your results, by identifying the skills or resources that enabled these successes. What new insights, and knowledge did you gain? Chances are that a successful end of year will depend on the same capabilities you have already used and identifying skills will make you feel good and give you added confidence that you can be successful. Combined with your new insights this will enable you to not only finish off the year well, but go into next year wiser and prouder.
4. Prioritise what is critical and focus on achieving those goals
No matter if you were really disciplined at the start of the year in focusing on the few activities that were important for 2019, often without constant vigilance, your workload increases , due to additional priorities that you took on and projects whose scope creeps. It’s a good time to refocus on those items that will really make a difference and will enable you, your team and your organisation succeed. Ideas on how to better prioritise were discussed in a previous article.
5. Clarify or reset expectations
You will need to make sure others are bought into your priorities, whether they are people who were expecting something from you or people who you will need to help you to succeed. It’s a good time to ensure you are aligned and have the support of others in what you are going to do.
By taking the time to step back and reflect you will give yourself and your team the chance to be both successful and less stressed.
Let me know if you have other ideas of how to manage the end of the year.
To Julia Sullivan for her great insights and adding to my learning through her review