Are You In End-of-Year Panic?


calendar-2004846_19203 things you can do to calm yourself down and meet your goals

There are about 75 working days left until the end of the year, depending on how many holidays you celebrate. Even fewer if, like me, you take the last half of December off. The great news is that there is still plenty of time to meet your year-end goals! If you find yourself hyperventilating — or if you are understandably distracted by the many natural disasters and local and global crises we are experiencing across the globe — take some deep breaths and repeat after me:

“I can do this.”

Here’s what to do:

1. Identify the ONE thing you must accomplish before the end of the year. 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 daily or weekly to accomplish it. Every morning ask yourself, “What can I do today to help reach this goal?” Make it one of your three top priorities for each day.

2. Remove unnecessary distractions and dramatically streamline your work. Look at your calendar for the next four months and identify all the time suckers. Dramatically reduce or eliminate them. Look for half-day meetings that could be accomplished in 1-2 hours, meetings that could instead be quick phone calls, 1 hour phone calls that could be accomplished in 15 minutes, trips that could be turned into video conference calls, approval processes that could be streamlined, events that are not critical for you to attend, and time you are spending with people you don’t really like. That eight-month strategic planning process can likely be accomplished in four months.

You can also control your technology instead of letting 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 of how devastating it is. Limit the time you spend checking email to twice a day, and don’t allow the beeps and alerts to go off letting you know every time “you’ve got mail” (or you’ve got a new LinkedIn connection, or someone retweeted you).

3. Get help. Delegate what 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, and 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, that firm is doing a 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. A trusted advisor can serve as your sounding board to help you navigate strategic and tactical decisions you need to make as you delegate and streamline.

These tips will not only help you finish out this year without added stress, but also make it less stressful and more productive. Just remember to breathe, stay focused, and see how much you can accomplish!

© 2017 Kris Putnam-Walkerly. All rights reserved. Permission granted to excerpt or reprint with attribution.


Kris Putnam-Walkerly, MSW, has helped to transform the impact of top global philanthropies for over 18 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, visitPutnam Consulting Group.


Trusted Philanthropic Advisor


Kris Putnam-Walkerly serves as a trusted advisor to foundation leaders and high-wealth donors across the globe. As an advisor, Kris transfers learning to leaders and their teams so they have the ability to build their own internal capacity to be successful in their work. Kris’s clients report immediate and dramatic improvement in both personal performance and philanthropic impact.

Whether you are the CEO of a larger foundation, the sole staff member charged with decision-making, or a high-net worth donor, the questions Kris can address cover a broad spectrum of professional and personal issues. As an advising client, you’ll have unlimited access to Kris during regular business hours by phone, Skype, email and, when desired, face to face. With over 18 years of experience working with top global philanthropies, Kris understands how to build an impactful organization that integrates your philanthropic passions and the challenges that must be overcome to get there.

Learn more about this and other services offered or contact Kris today to begin a trusted advisor relationship.

Upcoming Speaking Events


Looking for a provocative yet practical speaker at your next event? Kris Putnam-Walkerly was named one of “ America’s Top 25 Philanthropy Speakers” in 2016 and 2017. Learn more or book Kris today for your next conference or event.

September 14, 2017 – Iowa Council of Foundations Connect Conference (Newton, IA)

Out of Your Bubble and Into Your Community (Keynote)

September 14, 2017 – Iowa Council of Foundations Connect Conference (Newton, IA) 

Avoiding “Delusional Altruism”: How to Create a Legacy of Impact, Respect, and Value

September 19, 2017 – National Center for Family Philanthropy webinar 

Part three of a three-part webinar series on how family foundations are embracing equity

September 27, 2017 – Philanthropy West Virginia Annual Conference 

Avoiding “Delusional Altruism”: How to Create a Legacy of Impact, Respect, and Value

October 16, 2017 – CONNECT Conference, Exponent Philanthropy, Denver 

Out of Your Bubble and Into Your Community

October 19, 2017 – National Forum on Family Philanthropy 

Achieving Equity…How Exactly?

November 14, 2017 – Southeastern Council on Foundations’ Annual Conference, Trustees-Only Luncheon, Orlando, FL 

How Will Trustees Lead Into the Future?

Looking for a provocative speaker who offers practical solutions? Book Kris for your next conference or event!

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