To start 2020 on the right foot, it’s important to get the end of 2019 sorted. Here’s how.
‘Tis the season to be jolly. But it’s also a season of frantic list-making. You’ll need to write a Christmas dinner shopping list, a presents-to-buy list and your New Year’s resolutions list.
Amidst all this chaos, you would be forgiven for forgetting to write your work-focussed end-of-year to-do list, even though it might just be the most important one you make.
No doubt you’re frazzled trying to decide how many bottles of fizz to buy for your Christmas Eve party, which colour train set would best suit your third-cousin-twice-removed and choosing which habit to break in 2020. But one sure-fire way to ensure you head into the New Year feeling refreshed and enthusiastic is to finish up your working year in as tidy a manner as possible.
Here’s our seven-point checklist.
1. Empty your inbox
When we say empty, we mean actually empty. That means you’ll need to clear out (or sort) all 1327 emails in your inbox, drafts and junk folder. If you’re lucky enough to have a fairly quiet December and plenty of time to get your affairs in order there’s no excuse and, while you’re at, you may as well sort out your desktop and organise your Dropbox folders, too. It’s the spring cleaning your 1st January self will thank you for. For those whose December is more of a frantic push to the finish, there’s no harm in responding to emails with a polite update and a promise to respond in the New Year – just be sure you actually do respond.
2. Wrap up your finances
Don’t neglect to sort out any important finances before you head off on holiday. Process the invoices that are piling up on your desk and, for goodness sake, pay your suppliers on time. You wouldn’t want to be held responsible for ruining someone’s Christmas, would you?
3. Review 2019
What have been your ups and downs of 2019? What challenges have you met and exceeded, and are there any areas where you dropped the ball? Reviewing your successes and failures will help you prepare and set realistic objectives for the following year. It’s also inspiring to simply look at how far you’ve come in the past 12 months.
If you manage a team, end-of-year is an ideal time to conduct performance reviews, an opportunity to discuss employees’ 2019 achievements and set goals and aspirations for 2020. This is also a chance to spend some quality one-one time with employees, learning their concerns and ambitions and ensuring they feel valued, heard and ready to come back in the New Year full of enthusiasm.
4. Set objectives for 2020
Once you’ve spent time evaluating your 2019, you’ll be perfectly placed to look ahead. Split your objectives into two lists – your personal and business goals. Personal targets could include negotiating a pay rise, moving jobs, honing a new skill or building stronger relationships with your suppliers.
Business goals are likely to be projects you’re working on with your team such as digitisation, overhauling your supplier selection process or driving sustainability initiatives within your supply chain. Ask yourself: “Where do I fit in and what can I do to make these plans a reality?”
Whatever your aims for 2020, make sure you set goals and deadlines that are achievable. It’s no use burning yourself out before the end of January.
5. Finish-up early
Don’t leave important tasks until the 23rd December, only to rush them off in a panic or delay them until the New Year. If you’re struggling to juggle everything, make a schedule for the month and stick to it, prioritising and delegating tasks wherever necessary. You should aim to have anything that’s really urgent resolved well before Christmas because your key stakeholders, suppliers and clients might finish up for the year before you do.
Postpone the things that can be postponed, but not if you’re going to arrive back at your desk on January 2nd and break out in a cold sweat.
6. Appreciate your team and your suppliers
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a spot of festive cheer. Take advantage of your team’s good spirits and squeeze in a bit of team-building fun; whether it’s after-work drinks, a Christmas lunch or a round of crazy golf. Team-building activities boost employee engagement and collaboration, reduce turnover and make for a happier workforce with approximately 75% of employers rating teamwork as “very important”.
Show your colleagues and most-valued suppliers and clients some love in the form of a Christmas card or an appreciative email, letting them know you’re grateful for their hard work and dedication. It might seem like a minor gesture, but a thank-you goes a long way and sets up your relationships for a positive start in 2020.
7. Switch off
Once you’ve ticked off numbers 1-6 on the list, all that’s left to do is close your web browser, shut down your laptop and forget about everything work-related for as long as you’re on annual leave. Don’t even think about checking your email, something 49% of people do outside work. You’ve earned this switch-off time, so enjoy it! Channel your energy on something fun and different from the normal office grind.