Last minute pre-Christmas planning

Here are some thoughts carried over from last Christmas that are still valid, so before you kick-back and put your feet up for the winter break, here are a few simple tasks to give you a head-start when you get back in 2010.

Clear the decks: If you have a vague lull in work over the next week, take the opportunity to bring your filing up to date. One of the results of eating, drinking and making merry over Christmas is that you’ll hopefully give your mind a chance to relax and forget about work. This actually allows it to throw up new ideas and it’s a whole lot easier both to relax and to get stuck into a new idea in January if you don’t have to worry about tying up December’s loose ends! Also, though it may not seem a very seasonal thing to do, take down all the cards & decorations before you lock-up for the break, as coming back to a Christmas office in January is always a gloomy experience.

Review 2009: With the heady combination of Christmas and economic gloom, it’s easy to forget what you really achieved in the last year and this is a poignant moment to reflect on both your failures and most importantly, your successes. It helps to put things in an excellent perspective and hopefully demonstrate that you’re pretty damn good at what you do, despite facing challenges like everyone else.

Preview 2010: Think forward to this time next year and imagine that you’re opening a bottle of expensive bubbly to celebrate a stonking year. Consider what kind of achievements would actually make it a GREAT year. Close your eyes and listen to the cork popping, hear the amber liquid fizzing into the glass and taste the sweet Champagne as the bubbles go up your nose. Imagine toasting the people in your team and watching the looks of pride grow on their faces. Having a clear vision for the year clearly makes it far easier to achieve, whilst visualisation is a very powerful way to get your subconscious behind your plans.

First 100 days: Sketch out the tasks that you need to do in the first quarter of next year that will make a real difference to your success. Don’t get bogged down in detail at this stage, just focus on what needs to happen. Once you’ve finished this outline, share it with your team so that everyone can see where you want to get to and how they can contribute.

First two weeks: Plan in detail how you will spend the first couple of weeks after the break. It’s too easy to waste time at the start of the year if you don’t have a clear plan and this period will really set the tone and pace for the other 50 weeks, so aim to be very busy indeed. Not just busy though: busy working on important things, things that matter and make a difference.

You’ll be surprised that these visualising and planning tasks do not take long to do. You’ll be amazed at how much more relaxed you’ll feel over Christmas having put 2009 to bed and with the clarity about what you’ll be doing when you return. The people around you will also be delighted at the amount of positive energy you’ll bring to work (and life) from the moment you get back.

Have a relaxing Christmas and a healthy, happy and highly prosperous 2010! You really deserve it… just as soon as you’ve got these last few easy tasks wrapped up!

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