The last few weeks of the year are upon us. Every year there is increased pressure at the end of the year as we rush to complete activities and meet the objectives that we set ourselves. This year seems to be even harder. After two very tough years our energy is waning, and we seem more stressed than ever. Is there is another way to get to the end of the year rather than this frantic busyness? Wouldn’t it be nice if our holiday celebrations were not seen as another chore, and we were able to have the time and energy to fully enjoy the joyful and relaxing time we would like to have?
My suggestion is to stop and take time to reflect. This is hard to do as it adds another task but there are big benefits in terms of delivering on goals and to retain energy and mental health.
What will you do in this reflection time? Here are five ideas:
1. Consider your purpose
Reground yourself in why you as an individual (or your team and organisation) exist. What motivates you to do what you do? Sometimes when you are busy you forget, and things become tasks to do rather than an outcome to be achieved. Thinking about purpose helps to do two things; firstly, refocusing on the most important things to do, and secondly it’s reenergising to think what benefits your work will bring.
2. Look back at the goals 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 look at what has been achieved and what is outstanding to get a sense of what needs to be done and take off trivia that you feel like you just need to complete. This activity will help you to achieve a sense of satisfaction, and what feels like a more manageable list of activities.
A lot has changed this year. What has changed that impacts on your goals? Are your goals still relevant? Or is it even more critical that they are achieved? No matter if you were really disciplined at the start of the year in focusing on the few activities that were important, often your workload increases, due to additional projects and tasks that you took on without taking off less relevant ones. 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.
4. Recognise your successes and how you have achieved them
You may be surprised to realise 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. And for you and your colleagues it will feel good!
Consider how you have achieved your results, by identifying the skills or resources that enabled these successes. Chances are that a successful end of year will depend on the same capabilities and identifying skills will make you feel good and give you added confidence that you can be successful.
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. 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 successful, motivated, and less stressed.
Have a productive and energized year end!