How to Survive the Mad Dash to the End of the Year

Posted 09.06.2022

This post is publishing on the first work day after Labor Day Weekend 2022 so you know what that means. It’s the official start of the mad dash to the end of the year. Even if you already feel like you’re sprinting, there’s going to be a lot of pressure to pick up the pace to get stuff done before December 31.

What’s your strategy for surviving the mad dash? How will you stay focused, sane and healthy, and still get a lot of stuff done?

I’ve been thinking about those questions and talking with a lot of coaching clients about them lately. Here are three actionable ideas to help you get to the end of the year in one piece.

Acceptance – First, accept and acknowledge the fact that you’re not going to get everything done by the end of the year. Even if you worked 24 hours a day for seven days a week, you wouldn’t get it all done. There’s simply too much to do. I’ve been inspired lately by reading Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman. His point is in his title – the average lifespan of a human is 4,000 weeks. We only have so much time available to us so we have to make choices about what’s most important and accept that there are a lot of possibilities we’re not going to get to in this lifetime. Between now and the end of the year, you have about 16 weeks if you’re reading this post on the day it’s published. Make some choices now about what you’re going to invest your time, attention and energy in and accept the fact that there are a lot of things you’re not going to get to before the end of the year.

Microdosing – Let me be clear, I’m not talking about magic mushrooms or psilocybin trips on this one. Instead, I’m talking about microdosing the way you manage calendar. This idea was inspired by a conversation I had with a leader recently in one of our Next Level Leadership® group coaching conversations. When I asked how things were going, he was the first to reply that he was having a hard time finding the time to engage with his colleagues about the action steps that will make him a better leader. When I asked how much time he was looking for, he said 30 minutes per conversation. My reply was that he didn’t need nearly that much and that he could get a lot done in a five-minute conversation if he was ready to go. When time is scarce (and it always is), you want to microdose your calendar as much as you can by scaling back the amount of time you invest in meetings. Our electronic calendars on Outlook and Google prompt us to schedule time in 30-minute increments. Quite often, you really don’t need that much.  Take advantage of the little nuggets of time you have before a meeting or at the end of one to have quick and meaningful conversations with your colleagues.

Don’t Forget to Breathe – That’s a standard piece of advice for busy, stressed-out people.  Unfortunately, most folks don’t know how to breathe in a way that gets them out of the chronic state of fight or flight that occurs when you’re trying to get a whole lot done in a short amount of time. Here’s a tip on how to use your breathing to activate the rest and digest response that will get you out of fight or flight. If your belly is moving out on a deep inhale and moving back in on the exhale, you’re breathing in a way that will enable you to focus, think more clearly, and make better decisions. For a video tutorial on how to do it, check out this post I shared a couple of years ago.

For more on the three ideas I shared here, take a look at this video excerpt from a recent monthly Coaching Office Hour I did for members of our Leaders HQ Community.  

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