Take a deep breath, stay focused and follow these steps.
September means we are quickly approaching the end of 2018, and the race is on to accomplish all of our goals for the year. There are less than 70 working days left until the end of the year, depending on how many holidays you celebrate. Even fewer if, like me, you take off the last half of December. That doesn’t sound like a lot of time to accomplish your year-end goals, does it?!
If you find yourself overwhelmed and unable to enjoy the return of scarves, pumpkins and crisp fall air, don’t fret. There really is still plenty of time to meet your goals before 2019 arrives. Take some deep breaths and repeat after me, “I can do this.”
Let me show you how:
1. Identify ONE thing you must accomplish before the end of the year.
Just one. Write it down and focus your attention on reaching that one goal. Create a game plan with a timeline and block out time in your calendar dedicated to accomplishing it. Every morning as you start your day, ask yourself, “What can I do today to help reach this goal?” Make it one of your top three priorities for each day.
2. Remove unnecessary distractions and dramatically streamline your work.
Look at your calendar for the next four months and make a list of all the things that take up too much time – “time suckers” as I like to call them. These things need to be dramatically reduced or completely eliminated. This could include things like half-day meetings that could be (easily) accomplished in 1-2 hours, meetings that could be taken care of with a quick phone call, trips that could be turned into video conference calls, approval processes that could be streamlined, and events that are not critical for you to attend. By removing these time wasters, that eight-month strategic planning process could probably be accomplished in four months.
Technology can also be a huge waste of time in your day. Don’t let it control you! Unless you are in the path of a hurricane you don’t need to check CNN online every hour to read the latest update. Limit the time you spend checking email to twice a day, and limit your notifications so you aren’t getting alerted every time “you’ve got mail” (or got mentioned in a Facebook comment or retweeted).
3. Get help.
You don’t have to carry everything on your shoulders – delegate whenever you can! I once made a list of everything I was doing in my consulting work, and divided into 3 categories:
- Things that bring me joy/give me energy
- Things I hate to do
- Things I can do but could easily be delegated
It was illuminating! I created an entire job description that delegated a large chunk of items in the last two categories and hired a communications firm to handle it all for me. Not only did I offload all that work onto someone else – they are doing a much better job of it than I ever could!
You can also retain a consultant to help you facilitate strategic planning, conduct research or scanning, review grant proposals and reports, or write that case study you’ve been meaning to do. When it comes to competing priorities, meeting those year-end goals, and attempting to maintain a work/life balance – I can help! As your trusted advisor I can help you navigate your way into 2019 by serving as your sounding board, helping you set manageable goals, holding you accountable, and helping you prioritize.
These tips will not only help you accomplish your year-end goals, they will make the end of 2018 a less stressful, more productive season. You got this! Take a deep breath, stay focused, remove distractions and get help when you need it.
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© 2018 Kris Putnam-Walkerly. All rights reserved. Permission granted to excerpt or reprint with attribution.
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Kris Putnam-Walkerly, MSW, has helped to transform the impact of top global philanthropies for almost 20 years. A member of the Million Dollar Consultant Hall of Fame and named one of America’s Top 25 Philanthropy Speakers. Author of the award-winning book Confident Giving: Sage Advice for Funders, which was named one of “The 10 Best Corporate Social Responsibility Books.” For more ways to improve your giving, visit Putnam Consulting Group.
“Kris has a refreshingly clear-eyed point of view on philanthropy. She can cut through the noise and keep things focused, which has made her both a valuable advisor and a good speaker for our members.”
Tamir Novotny, Executive Director, Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy