The end of the year is usually a blur of holiday gatherings, decadent meals, and wrapping up work deadlines.
You might think that it’s too late to make headway on your goals during this hectic time of year, but you can take advantage of these last few months to finish the year strong.
The end of the year is a great time to…
- Wrap up goals for the current year
- Get a head start on 2023 goals
- Reflect and take stock
- Set the foundation for new habits
Here are some tips to help you manage your time and make progress during the remaining months of the year. You don’t have to do everything on this list. Pick a strategy that speaks to you and try it out. You’ll be well on your way to ending the year strong and creating a solid start for 2023.
Pick 1-2 top priorities
If you want to make progress at the end of the year, pick 1 or 2 priorities to focus on.
It may sound counterintuitive, but you’re likely to be more productive when you have less to do. That’s because when you try to multitask and do everything under the sun, you run the risk of getting distracted, draining your energy, and having lots of loose ends to tie up.
But when you select 1 or 2 priorities, then you can devote your time and energy to fully completing those items, and finish on a satisfactory note. In other words, by working smarter, not harder, you can make more progress without losing your mind.
So go through your to-do list and choose 1 or 2 items you want to accomplish that day or week. If you’re having trouble narrowing it down, ask yourself:
- What would make me feel really good if I crossed it off my list?
- What would make my life so much easier if I got it done?
Maybe it’s finally getting down to renewing your passport. Or signing up for that networking event you’ve been meaning to attend. Or sending those emails that have been sitting in your draft folder.
If you finish those 2 tasks, then move onto the next priority on your list whenever you have free time.
Pick a habit to develop
Use the end of the year to start building a new habit. This way, you can work out all the kinks and set a solid foundation for the upcoming year.
We traditionally use January 1st as a start date for our resolutions, but by the time we actually start building our habits and incorporating them into our lives, a few months will have already passed.
Use the time at the end of the year as a low pressure way to ease into new habits. Because the holiday season is usually filled with parties and dinners, you probably want to be realistic and avoid setting new fitness habits or anything that involves too much discipline and will power.
Instead, consider building new habits that will make your life more soothing. Maybe it’s a calming self-care routine or writing in your journal or reading a book before bed.
Start working on this habit now, and you’ll be in a good place once the new year arrives.
Give yourself mini challenges
Want to make progress on your goals but don’t have loads of free time? Then set mini challenges for yourself.
A mini challenge puts some pressure on ourselves, but in a good way. It’s human nature to want to meet a challenge and then be rewarded for it. So give yourself a mini challenge every day or week or month. These mini challenges should be small enough that you can easily achieve them in an hour or even less.
Here are some examples of mini challenges:
- Update your professional website
- Draft networking emails to people you want to reach out to in the new year
- Challenge yourself to speak up more in meetings
- Declutter your workspace
And don’t forget to give yourself a reward after successfully meeting a challenge. The positive reinforcement will encourage you to pursue another challenge and then the next one.
Set up productivity “sprints”
A big misconception about productivity is that we need to block off several hours or days in order to get something done. But you’d be surprised by how much you can achieve in just a short amount of time. In fact, a little time pressure is good for us, and kickstarts us into action.
For example, a popular productivity method for writers is to do a timed writing sprint. The writer will aim to write as many words as they can for 15 minutes or an hour or whatever time they have. For writers that suffer from procrastination, these productivity sprints are a great way to get started.
Another similar method is the Pomodoro Technique. This is a popular time management method in which you pick a task to work on for 25 minutes, take a break for 5 minutes, then repeat. After the fourth cycle, you take a longer break for 15-20 minutes. This system is particularly helpful for people who struggle with procrastination or perfectionism. A time deadline motivates you to harness your energy and concentration over a certain amount of time. We avoid checking our email or Instagram when we know that our alarm is going to go off in a few minutes.
So pick some tasks off your to-do list and give yourself anywhere from 5 minutes to 25 minutes to take a crack at them. Maybe it’s cleaning your living room for 10 minutes or working on a presentation for 20 minutes. Then set your timer and go.
Make a list of new year’s resolutions
While the end of the year is usually brimming with excitement and the madness of the holiday season, there are also some pockets of peace and solitude. When the work emails stop rushing in, use this down time to reflect and come up with your goals or resolutions for the new year.
Not sure what you want to achieve next year? Then use this time to sit down with a journal and do some reflecting and planning. You can use our free Yearly Planning Guide to take stock of the past year and come up with exciting goals for the new year.
By focusing on your priorities and taking advantage of this time of year, you’ll finish the year strong and have a positive start to 2023.