Where does the time go?
Hard to believe but in just three short months we'll be toasting the new year with scores of resolutions and self-made promises to do “better.”
Fall in the US is a special time. With that delicious crispness in the air (somewhere its crisp – where I live it'll be 92 today), the onslaught of football, big movie releases as the year winds down and the holidays.
Ah, the holidays. The inexorable rush of adrenaline as we partake of fall fests, trick for our treats, eats lots of turkey (or the vegetarian alternative) and Ho Ho Ho our way through the last month of the year.
In business the holidays are a funny yin and yang with a seasonality unto themselves. There is a tendency to adopt one of two basic stances relative to the specialness of year end: the “its-just-another-day-let's-keep-working syndrome” and the “year-end take it easy and coast” attitude. Beginning somewhere around July.
Prudence lies of course somewhere in between.
Get to Work!
In my earlier years as as narrow-minded heartless bastard I attempted to practice the first.
Holidays be damned we have work do! Yet the truth is there's work to do all year, and pushing people to ignore the joy of year-end in simple and sumptuous ways does truly make you a heartless – and ignorant – bastard. And you needlessly increase stress on people at a time of year when many experience a heightened level of that anyway.
This is, how we say in business speak, imprudent.
As a consultant I've seen the other extreme too (why have I never been employed anywhere like this?) as some firms move into party mode as soon as the flag drops on Labor Day for a four-month long festival of bacchanalia.
Hey, if stores can put up Christmas trees in September than we can party too, goes the thinking.
Again, probably not the optimum model to ensure customers and clients view you as the most responsible party to do business with.
The right model of course depends on your personal views and your business. As an elder statesman who's seen lots of different ways to go about this let me offer you my perspective: let people enjoy the holidays.
When they get here.
Mathematically speaking even though there's still 25% of the year left on the calendar we realize effort and productivity isn't linear. And many of us will come charging out of the gate in January to “start strong”! People know this and thus will intuitively reach for some R&R late in the year.
So a rational approach might be to do a re-assessment of your business and personal priorities and commit to making some big things happen over the next 90 days. Key things. That is, use the calendar to your advantage. No, not everything will get done, but not everything needs to get done.
Pick your priorities – the few things outstanding that will make 2013 a really good year for you – and commit to them knowing the time is slipping away and you won't really be able to put the pedal to the metal on 24 Dec. Use that dwindling calendar as incentive to act now.
There is time for everything. Everything that matters.
Achieving your key priorities while keeping your people sane and happy matter.
You have time for both.