Are you feeling it yet? The annual drop in productivity and rise in stress? All the things you had on your list to accomplish this year are now compressed into the last month because you were just too busy with the day to day to get to them. On top of that you are battling with your staff’s lack of motivation due to the holidays. You feel the pressure to get some things checked off your list but just don’t see how you will manage to pull it off.
We often try to convince ourselves that our list is not insurmountable. We can do it. We just need to push a little harder, ask a little more. But cramming several month’s worth of projects into the last month of the year is bound to create a mountain of extra and undue stress on you and your staff.
You have a short month because of the Christmas holiday. The week before Christmas is nearly worthless for innovation. Maintaining your sanity and keeping pace with normal workloads is enough. Everyone is distracted. At best, you have the first two weeks in December to concentrate on new initiatives or year end goals. Now is the time to simplify.
Take a hard look at those projects and goals that have been sneering at you from that list on your desktop. Daring you to accomplish them. Almost laughing at you because you just can’t seem to carve out time to get them off the ground. In some cases you’ll have to admit defeat. The projects are just too complex to launch by year’s end. Some goals will have to wait till next year.
You may not even be able to tackle your list by priority. The top priority items will just take too much time and throw the office into an unhealthy chaos. Pushing them to next year is often the wisest move. What you really want to do is end the year with some quick successes to set the momentum going into the new year. Ask yourself the following question,
What projects or goals can my team and I accomplish with little stress in the few days left till the end of the year?
Consider these points when answering this question.
- Pick the items that take the least amount of planning time.
- Pick the items that take the fewest personnel to accomplish.
- Pick the items that will have a positive impact on your practice and patients.
- Pick the items that have little to no downside.
- Pick the items that can definitely be finished by year’s end.
It’s important to start only those things that can be finished by year’s end. Carrying projects over to the new year can be demoralizing. Choosing the short term successes that involve as few people and as little time as possible is important to create momentum. It’s a great start to the new year to point back to recent successes and build on them.
Even the smallest project launched during the holiday season may meet with resistance. If so, try tying it to a bonus, time off, a special prize or other incentive that helps motivate your staff. Give them something to shoot for, especially if you are asking them to put in a little extra effort.
Above all, stop beating yourself up about the list that didn’t get done. It’s been a long year. There are so many things you can focus on besides your shortcomings. The list will carry over and the new year is always a great time to implement new improvements. So relax, enjoy the season, get a couple simple victories, and close the year out right!