No I'm not talking about State of Origin.
I'm not talking about an upcoming election.
I'm talking about the festive season. Here's why:
It divides us because there's two groups of people who (regardless of the reason) have different philosophies towards the festive season. As a result of this mindset, they take one of two approaches:
The first approach is what I call the "Marathon" approach. These people either have goals and targets they're committed to achieving before years' end, or they recognise that this time of the year is when many other people grow complacent, happy to stumble over the line into Christmas. Not these people. Think of a marathon runner who puts in one final, powerful burst right to the finish line after running for hours. Likewise, these people- regardless of the volume of product they're selling or the rate of services they're providing- devote themselves to squeezing every last drop out of their capabilities before they put up their 'Closed' sign for the year.
The second approach? I call it the "Lifestyle" approach. These people (generally) are big on the idea of maintaining a strongly defined work/life balance. Seeing how many of their clients or collegues have scaled back for the holiday period, they figure why not join them? Either that or they're the type of person who spends January to November going flat-out, crossing out goals, nailing targets and now (only now) do they accept it's time to give the sales machine a grease and oil change.
Regardless of what approach you take and swear by, it's inevitable that soon enough, the New Year is upon us and you'll no doubt have fresh goals and targets for the next 12 months to get excited about. Me? My Quarterly Planner has just been updated- I'm ready to go!
But regardless of what you're selling or what you do, here's 5 ways to hit 2017 with a bang:
1. Rendevous, Reconnect and Re-engage.
Double check all the active leads you have. Get in contact with all of them and see if there's anything they'd like you to provide them with before Christmas. Don't assume everybody else is busy and not interested. Your leads, like you, have a lot of dates and to-do's to remember. You may be very handy to them right now, but this has slipped their memory. Just getting in contact with your existing leads, re-engaging with them or even arranging to meet with them may just unlock a perfectly timed Christmas bonus for you. Failing that, it might still mean you've already got guaranteed sales locked in, just the other side of Christmas. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. So get on the phone...do it now!
2. Reshuffle, Reduce and Remove.
Remember your first day in class, back in school? How it felt to sit down at your desk with your brand new sharp pencils, blank exercise books with flat pages, clean stationary and pencil case- everything organised? Didn't you feel motivated to stay on top of all class exercises, write as neatly as you could and do your best work? You might be older, but the principle stays the same. Few things kill productivity and inspiration like clutter! Go through all of your files- online and offline- for the calendar year. What needs to be held onto, backed up or stored? What can be deleted or thrown out? This is a great time to archive all your documentation, receipts and records. Store them in existing folders or create new ones. Bin the waste paper, trash all your redundant files, cut your losses. Ensure that once this holiday period is over, you know exactly where everything is and can get right back into business.
3. Reschedule. Reorganise and Relegate
There's enough to organise at this time of year, isn't there? Ideally, this should be a time for gratitude, appreciation of the people who matter most to us and enjoyment of long summers' days. What a time of year it is! Why give yourself any added stress, chasing after tasks that could wait just a couple of weeks. Go back and check all your work-related tasks. Are they all urgent? Is a news crew, your best customer or your boss going to come bashing on your door if you shuffle those few action items until the beginning of the New Year? Unless it absolutely must be done between now and Christmas- relegate it to after the New Year sometime. Trust me. You'll breathe easier and enjoy the holiday break a little more. Which brings me to the next point...
4. Review, Reflect and Respond
So (hopefully) by now you've earned a nice little surprise bonus and/ or got guaranteed sales lined up the other side of Christmas through re-engaging with your existing leads. All the clutter from the past year is gone. Your office, your work space and your desktop are all organised, neat and waiting for you as soon as you're ready to go after the holiday break. You've rescheduled and relegated some tasks- leaving you with more free time and peace of mind as people pack into our shopping centres and retail outlets with any number of things to buy and do. So now?
Take some time out to reflect on what you've just finished for the year. What did you gain? What did you learn? As a result of taking this time out of reflect on your wins, achievements and revelations- what do you realise are the key tasks heading into the New Year? What can you do better? If you don't already have a plan of action for next year- now's the time to get one!
5. Relax. Recharge and Renew.
Once you have a solid plan for the coming year, do yourself a favour. Unplug. Relax. Take the time out to catch up with friends who might've missed you because you've been so hard at work. Go to the beach. Enjoy a few cold ones and watch the cricket (or the soccer, if you're like me). Watch a few of the old Christmas classics (National Lampoons' Christmas Vacation, anybody?) In short:
Just. Chill. Out.
Doing this isn't just good for you physically and mentally. Chances are you'll also find yourself doing something bizarre...missing your regular routine! You'll suddenly realise you're looking forward to going back and doing what you do best- a little better than you did it the year just gone. You've got new ventures to pursue and new ideas to explore. But that can wait. The better you unwind and enjoy each day as it comes over this holiday season, the sharper you'll be once you go "Back to work".
Follow these 5 steps? You'll start 2017 right in the fast lane.... and just maybe feeling like you're on a mission from God!