The year’s raced by. There’s still so much ‘everyday work’ to get done. Plus you need to fit in parties, team lunches and your strategic planning day. How do you stay positive and stress-free during such a hectic period? Here are a few tips.
1. Be clear about what really needs to be done
If you’re like most people, you always have more tasks on your to-do list than you can fit into a normal day. With the end of the year looming, this fact becomes more obvious. So it’s time to prioritise and take an assertive approach to time management. Start by listing three or four things which absolutely must be done before your workplace shuts down. Then allocate time for working on these tasks to your weekly calendar. Start each day by completing a single, high priority task before you do anything else. This means you’ll get the important things finished before you deal with less essential tasks.
2. Spend half-a-day planning your schedule for next year
To feel in control of your time, you need to take control! Aim to start the year with key events already scheduled. Include both ‘personal maintenance’ and business events. Here are some examples of activities which could be included in your schedule.
- At least one holiday and two or three minibreaks (essential for maintaining physical and mental health)
- Exercise sessions every couple of days
- Medical check-ups as required
- Important family dates and commitments
- Monthly times to meet with your coach or mentor
- Regular ‘admin’ time each week (so you can batch repetitive tasks and complete them in one hit)
- Personal/team/business training days. It’s useful to schedule these at least six monthly
- Dates for key business activities relevant to your profession. For example, dates for writing marketing materials, budgets or annual reports
- Times for regular team or customer meetings
- Training or conference dates for the next twelve months
3. Set a weekly ‘quota’ for social events
To prevent overload, you need to be clear about your limits. Think carefully about how many social events you can realistically fit into a workweek. Think beyond how many events will fit in your calendar. Consider, instead, how many you can attend without feeling drained. If you’re an introvert, your personal quota will be much lower than if you’re an extravert. Write down how many events you are willing to attend each week. Keep this number visible, so it will stick in your mind when invitations roll in. And say ‘no’ to events you can’t fit in!
These three simple steps will set you up for a low-stress, high impact end to the year. For more tips on how to work smarter, subscribe to Eleanor Shakiba’s free monthly newsletter now.