Get ahead of it!
Anyone who knows me has probably heard me say this phrase dozens (perhaps hundreds) of times. Along my leadership journey, I've learned that planning is one of the most important (though most difficult) competencies to develop. To always keep it top of mind, I have adopted "Get ahead of it!" as my own personal mantra. It feels especially relevant to share with you now, as you are in the midst of one of your biggest opportunities to set yourself up for an incredible 2024. Don't let it pass you by!
As you approach the year-end corporate finish line, it's easy to forget there is a new starting line just days away. Though you may be reassuring yourself that the New Year will be a fresh start at work, I've rarely experienced that to be the case. Instead, I usually find myself returning to a whirlwind spinning just as fast as it was prior to the holidays.
So, what can you do to "Get ahead of it" during your last few days in the office? Here are a few small actions that can make a huge difference all year long.
This includes one-on-one meetings, performance evaluations, and team meetings. Planning ahead will show your employees you care about them when you put them on your calendar and show up! It is one thing to say you're available to help, or ask people to come to you with issues. It's another thing entirely to have time already set on the calendar for this specific purpose. This is also a great time to reflect on the frequency and length of your standing meetings. Where are the opportunities to provide the support your team needs while potentially reducing your time in meetings?
Setting project meetings is a great way to bring your strategic plan to life by signaling you are planning to stay on schedule and provide your input and assistance to keep your important projects moving forward. In addition, it's a great way to do a quick check on the deadlines you have set for yourself and your team. Is there overlap? Are you going to be available to support critical milestones and deadlines? Better to know now than halfway through the year!
This may seem like a nitpicky detail, but you will be very glad you thought ahead of this months from now. While scrambling last minute for resources may seem like a small thing, all the meetings, trainings, presentations, etc. can really add up when you're in the thick of the year. Taking care of small details in advance allows you to direct your energy toward the tasks and projects that provide true leverage to your company.
This is another recommendation that may seem like something to overlook. That is, until you are wasting your precious time looking for an email or file that was easy to find six months ago, and is now buried under a mountain of new emails and files. That time spent searching really adds up. Make sure you are following your organization's security protocols as you do any saving, deleting, or re-organizing.
Before you jump into these (and your many other) to-do items, take a moment to think about what you are doing now that makes the biggest difference to your organization, and to the year ahead. Whether you decide to execute on these suggestions (hopefully with administrative support!) or focus on something else, try to escape at least one cycle that takes away from your productivity. It can be tempting to leave these problems on the desk for "future you" to deal with in a few weeks. But trust me: future you will be a lot more inspired and clear-headed if you don't.