How you finish anything says a lot about you. Whether it's a task, project, or even a year, your final intentional effort makes a huge difference. So with just a few weeks to go will you coast to completion, or will you finish strong?
As you look back at your professional and personal life, it's probably been a full year of highs and lows. Trials and triumphs. Sadness and celebrations. And with the holidays right around the corner many people are already bringing half-effort, expecting not much will happen between now and January. But that’s an assumption based on a premise. And if you adopt that premise, it will be true for you too. Or you can be different than the crowd: Look at this as a huge opportunity for you to finish strong and build momentum that will start your success in the new year.
Here are some things to do at the office:
1. Play to the buzzer
Determine the day and time that your holiday vacation officially begins. Write it down - circle it on the calendar - get it visual. While at work, resolve to bring your max effort and creativity up to that very moment. Get your game plan set for when you come back, so you aren't wasting a moment in January. Do this and you’ll enjoy enormous satisfaction during your downtime - not having to worry about ANYTHING but how to avoid the slobbery kisses from your great aunt Maxine.
2. Be respectful of others' time
Remember, we all are busy this time of year. Be respectful of everyone’s time and workload because it's most likely different than yours. And have grace!
If you need assistance in completing a task or project before the year closes, take a minute to explain the situation to those around you. Strive to educate, rather than being a pest. Be willing to ask your closest team members, "How can I serve you today?" and "What can I help you with?". These questions go a long way in building relationships and you may learn something in the process!
Here are a few more things to do while NOT at the office:
3. Update your professional portfolio
Take 30-45 minutes to write out (yes, physically do this in a notebook!) your accomplishments this year and how you can quantify them. Did you make your company more money? What problem did you solve for your employer? Did you exceed any project expectations?
Quality is more important than the number of items here. So many people think that they need a massive list of items they have done to impress others.
Good example: I lead a marketing project that increased sales in my department.
Better example: I directed a 150-person team marketing project that increased sales by 35% in my department.
Which one sounds more impressive? Even if youʼre not actively searching for new opportunities, having a descriptive timeline of your achievements as they occur will help you achieve career success and stand out in a pool of talented candidates. Too many people wait until they NEED a new job to figure out their accomplishments and then their mind is chaotic because they are focused on finding a new job.
4. Clean up your digital presence
While resumes are important, your social presence is even more important in the coming years. Ensure all your social media platforms are in-line with what you are about. Ensure LinkedIn has all fields filled out with expertise you've mastered this past year and you have a professional headshot (use your phone camera, portrait setting and timer!).
Many employers use social platforms to learn more about you as a person and a professional BEFORE they initiate interviews. Please donʼt underestimate the power of soft skills, because what you lack in experience, you can make up for with the right attitude. Basically, any aspects of your life youʼd rather not have advertised should be audited (FaceBook and Instagram photos, comments, etc). In essence, what does your personal brand say about you? What do you want it to say?
Even if you are NOT in the job market, there may be an employer who is searching for you. Perhaps someone may have referred you through a mutual colleague and could be interested in offering you a new opportunity. This position could have better benefits, more experience, or a higher salary. Itʼs about setting yourself up for what is possible instead of just focusing on today.
5. Do something good for others
Typically this time of year brings out the best in others. They want to contribute and give what they have. Take advantage of that on your time away from the office.
One, you will feel incredible about focusing on others rather than yourself. Sometimes we can build up a negative attitude because of all WE have to to do. Serving others outside of your normal environment can help you enjoy the holidays with a more positive attitude.
Two, you can build some new relationships! By opting to participate in activities that foster teamwork and a sense of community, your soft skills are being strengthened. And you never know who you will meet that could assist you in your current role or in transitioning into a new one!
If you want to win and you want to have time to relax around the holidays, you need to set yourself up for success. This is the path to greatness.