Maximize Your Down Time This Holiday Season

It’s the same story each year: summer lingers, and then, bam!, those sultry, sunny days suddenly turn to fall. Most of us embrace the seasonal shift, moving full speed ahead, taking care of business, (over)scheduling our lives…then, we reach the holidays – the official span of the calendar that mysteriously fills up by early October with commitments galore.

Most note that nothing gets done during the last two months of the year as we tip the balance between doing good work and playing hard. And yet, autumn’s natural nesting instinct is a great time to reflect and refine. Here’s how you can continue to be productive while your clients and colleagues face cheery distractions.

Take Stock  

When work slims down for the season, set aside a few hours to make a year-end report for everything you’ve accomplished to date. Detail which projects your teams worked on, noting successes and challenges, best practices, and lessons learned. If documenting is your thing, create a spreadsheet or cool white board of smart habits for immediate reference and inspiration. Save them (take a snap of the white board) for inspiration in the new year.

Reset Goals

Once you’ve completed a post-mortem for the year’s activities, remain focused on what worked. Dream about future clients and projects you’d like to take on. Keep your core values, communication skills, and work style in mind to attract the best fit. Maybe you’ve already identified a new firm to engage. Maybe you met a like-minded soul at a holiday networking event. When you clearly articulate who you are and what you do best, you’ll attract and be attracted to more of the same. Perhaps there’s a natural collaboration ‘round the bend! Follow up with connections early in the new year when everyone’s eager to forge ahead with renewed focus.

Try Something New

No matter your business or industry, role or relationship, it’s reinvigorating to share great ideas with others. Invite your colleagues (other executive directors? freelancers? indie business owners?) to participate in a small, focused group. Meet regularly (bi-monthly?) with a set agenda, potent topics for discussion, and action items for next conversations. Think: problem-solving, drumming up new biz, sharing best practices, trying out new technology.

End the year with a bang! Embracing fresh ideas, savvy work habits, and new connections will help elevate your work to ensure another great year.

ABOUT Eve Connell

Eve spends most billable hours writing, editing and helping professionals of all stripes with communication skills and leadership development. With degrees in French literature, philosophy, and linguistics, she also enjoys helping businesses and entrepreneurs develop their brands. Fancying herself a successful worm rancher, singer and flower arranger, Eve also lends her talent and expertise to several non-profit arts and educational organizations.