I hate to be the bearer of bad news, folks, but 2014 is over in five weeks. And crammed into those five short weeks are 4 major holidays plus a half-dozen significant others. You might as well face the fact that, in terms of goals and accomplishments for this calendar year, what’s done is done and what isn’t done ain’t happ’nin’.
Instead of beating yourself up, though, use these next five weeks — weeks during which we all know no one is at peak performance — to get a leg up on 2015. There are a hundred different apps, books and formulas out there for getting things done; they all have their champions and detractors, but here’s a list that’s short and simple. And if you’re already stressed, the KISS strategy (Keep It Short & Simple!) is definitely what you need.
- Tackle the toughest job first each day. It has to be done sooner or later; do it sooner so it doesn’t hang over your head like the Blob (remember Steve McQueen’s first leading role?), sucking up energy and attention.
- Get organized. Stop saying you’re going to get organized and just do it! Not only will you save time, frustration and money, you’ll be amazed at how much easier your life will instantly become.
- Make your world a better place. (You get to define “better.”) It may be hiring a lawn service, getting help with your marketing efforts, making time for lunch instead of working through or simply switching your coffee vendor. A perfect world is impossible, but a better one is probably easier than you think — and a better world means a happier, more productive you.
- Make lists. There’s something inherently satisfying in crossing a line item off a list, so not only does a list help with #2, it gives you a feeling of accomplishment that helps with #3.
- Set measurable, achievable goals. You’ve lived long enough to know full well that you cannot land that new client by Friday, you cannot now pull off the killer client Christmas party you thought about briefly back in July and you cannot lose 30 pounds by New Year’s. But you can call the Purchasing Manager and set up a meeting for next Tuesday, you can start addressing client Christmas cards, and you can order a chicken, egg, & cheese on a sunflower multigrain bagel instead of a loaded breakfast burrito (480 vs. 820 calories; don’t you feel virtuous already?) Baby steps, baby steps.
History pretty much confirms that from Thanksgiving until New Year’s, business is anything but usual. Put yourself in a proactive, rather than reactive, frame of mind, and you might just arrive at the end of the holidays with a smile instead of a scowl on your face.