Chances are, if you were drawn to the headline of this article, you are experiencing that all too familiar feeling of end of year madness. That time of the year when so many of us tend to hit a brick wall but keep going, comforted by the fact that we are now on the home stretch to the holidays. And all of this really only translates to a couple of weeks off between Christmas and the New Year for so many people.
It’s busy, I am so stretched, I can’t take on anything else.
My kids have finished school or are about to finish school.
My colleagues are tired and grumpy.
I’ve been invited to so many Christmas events and I feel I have to go.
I need a holiday… yesterday!
Sound familiar? Many people will relate to these words.
At this time of the year, the focus for many people and organisations is solely on making it to the finish line in late December. From there, the conversation will turn to spending Christmas with family and loved ones for most people… and we all know that sometimes, this really means piling more and more stress on people. It’s amazing how much stress and anxiety one lunch or dinner can cause people at this time of the year.
What I’ve become more and more interested in over the years are what I consider the important questions:
- Why does this frantic period happen?
- Why do so many of us often limp to that December finish line?
- Why aren’t we more in control?
It feels like Groundhog day for a reason!
For all of the hustle and bustle I see at this time of the year, I also see other organisations completely opting out of the end of year madness. The result? Their employees are far less stressed and over the course of the year, the business exceeds its KPIs. So how do these organisations manage to do things differently?
First up, they are masters at planning. Whether that means planning in yearly halves or quarters or monthly planning. They don’t hit November and suddenly feel like they need to squeeze in three months of work into two months because the office will shut down or operate on skeleton staff for a short amount of time. Of course, this requires good time management and the involvement of multiple people but in my experience, time management is like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the better you become at managing your time better.
The leaders within these organisations are also skilled at doing what so many of us struggle with: they learn to say ‘no’. Without having any guilt, without worrying about how it will impact the organisation… without all of the baggage that so many of us carry around with even the mere thought of saying no to things like late nights, function after function and so on.
I understand all too well how easy it is to feel overwhelmed by end of year madness and obviously, its impact on businesses varies. I know some business owners who are so quiet over this period that they opt to take all of December and January off! However, if you are involved with a seasonal business, you may very well be necessarily super busy but at the end of the day, there are always things we can do to better equip ourselves and our team for what’s ahead. Don’t wait until September or October to start thinking about and planning for the Christmas period. And if this advice is coming too late for this year, don’t make the same mistake in 2020! As always, reach out if you need any guidance or assistance.
How do you and your team manage this time of the year?
Deborah Wilson is a Thought Leader and a Career Strategist. She takes a personalised approach to strategic career coaching and career transitions, mentoring and leadership development. Deborah provides expert guidance for individuals while supporting organisations through change and connecting people and purpose. Call Deborah on +61 403 779 746. www.ontalent.com.au