With the holiday season just around the corner, it can be quite tempting to slow down and hold back until the end of your year – both personally and professionally. Yet you’re not only busy with your personal life, having to visit family, shop for gifts and prepare for the holidays. You also need to take care of your business tasks.
But shouldn’t these last few weeks be the time to make the most of your lessons learned and prepare for the coming year? Our message is pretty simple: finish your year strong! After all, when you finish the year strong, your first quarter of the new year will be the best ever.
So here is a little guide to help you make the most of what’s left of 2016 and end it in style.
- Evaluate your year
Write down your biggest success and say what you’re going to do to repeat it next year. Do the same for your biggest failure and say what you’ve learned. Also make time for a year-end meeting with your superior to see how you’ve performed and to set goals for the following year. Here it is crucial to align your objectives and priorities.
- Evaluate your relationships
It goes without saying that strong professional relationships are decisive for your business success. So here is a pretty simple exercise to help you tidy up your work relationships before the year ends:
- Note down the stakeholders whose contributions most directly affect your performance.
- Detect the relationships that aren’t really delivering their full potential.
- Make time to chat with the people involved and tell them your thoughts. Clearly state what you need from them to improve collaboration and performance.
- Find out how you could better support your colleagues and contribute to improving the team work. Remember: this is always a two-way thing!
- Finish strong as a team
If you manage a team, hold a group exercise and ask people for their highlights and lowlights of the year. Find out what they’d like to change next year, what they’d like from you and what you can do better or differently to improve their work environment and performance. Make sure you recognize your team’s hard work and good performance throughout the year. And: show your gratitude once again at the end of the year!
- Tidy up – mentally and environmentally
Are there any tasks on your list that have been there forever? Then think about whether you should approach them at all. If they had any valuable benefits, you would have gotten them off the table previously, no?
Are there any tasks or tricky talks you have been postponing? Get them done! Starting the new year free of old baggage will make you feel so much better.
Clean desk means clean mind! So clear out that desk drawer and desk top. The same applies to your E-mail inbox. Just do whatever it takes to start the fresh year with as little baggage as possible!
- Plan ahead
While it is important to look back at the current year, you should also set yourself goals for the upcoming year. Next to shared business objectives for you and your team, look at your own values and narrow down your individual targets. Remember: planning the “how” is just as important as the “what”.
- Express your gratitude and heart
Someone’s authenticity can be a major asset and make a great impact. Thus be who you say you are and keep your word. Plus, find out what your biggest qualities are and use them for the greatest good.
- Dedicate yourself to your health, fitness and well-being
If you want to exploit your full potential, your mental, emotional and spiritual health and well-being should be in great condition. Success and well-being go together incredibly well and create a state of mind that helps us deal with challenging situations and changes.
- Make space for relaxation during the holidays
Now this is clearly a no-brainer: so many businesspeople are reluctant to taking a decent amount of time off during the holidays. Yet this is the perfect time to rest and recharge your batteries as much as possible with family and friends. Here is our tip: reserve some time now and make it mandatory on your calendar.
- Strengthen your connections
Probably you’ve made a bunch of new interesting contacts this year. So now is the time to reconnect with leads, mentors, partners and all other people who might contribute to taking your business forward. Just be careful to do so with their best interests at heart, so you don’t come across as desperate or aggressive. A simple way to start conversations is by emailing people an interesting article with information they will benefit from.
Be it an E-mail, a call or a meeting in person: you need to stay top of mind and let your network know you are eager to share your plans. You are simply more likely to finish the year strong, if you decide to collaborate!
- Value your connections
Make sure to contact your connections individually rather than in a bulk E-mail. By personalizing your communication, they will feel special and appreciated – and probably also more engaged to reexamine the status of your business relationship. A personal touch can go a long way. Show you care by cultivating your contacts and socialize in a more personal way.
Okay, now let’s put things in a nutshell: the last weeks of the year are all about prioritizing what’s really important: your goals, connections and time for rest. And remember, it’s all about what you make of it – don’t just let the last few weeks of the year fly by!
What are your plans to finish 2016 strong? Leave your comments below!