How to Plan for a Smooth December

What comes to mind when you think of December? 

Fairy lights, eggnog, fruitcake, and parties?

Or deadlines, annual revenue goals, and all those projects at risk of ringing in the new year unfinished?

If you’re a business owner with a tendency to reach for big revenue goals at the end of the year, or to make a big push to finish projects that naturally fell by the wayside throughout the year, please take a second and breathe. 

It’s December. Time to re-evaluate.

Adding extra projects based on an arbitrary measurement of success is a surefire way to cause unwarranted stress. 

Even if one surprise launch helps you achieve your “better” revenue goal for the year, what condition does this leave you in to start the new year? The hustle and hassle leaves you burned out, which is exactly the opposite of how you want to feel as you lay your plans out for the next quarter.

And it’s not just about you: adding extra projects can also add a lot of undue stress for your team or anyone else you’re relying on. 

Most people do tend to slow down and become less productive during December. It’s a natural cycle worth respecting and having extra unexpected work can be doubly overwhelming when trying to balance holidays, family time, and other end-of-year commitments.

So take this time to celebrate your achievements, focus on wrapping things up, and prepare to start the new year strong.

Add a quarterly planning session to your project management tool

Whether or not you’re a business owner who takes time off during December, one of the key things that can help you actually enjoy the month is to check in with your expectations.

During your Q4 meeting, review your existing projects and decide which ones can be finished by December 31 and which ones need to be pushed back. Include any extra projects you may want to finish before the end of the year and realistically determine what you’re going to accomplish.

Other ways to make December enjoyable for your whole team:

Get clear on your own availability

If you do take extra time off in December, share those dates with your team and let them know what days and times, if any, are okay to contact you.

If your team is still working while you’re away

Communicate your expectations if they’re continuing to work while you’re out of the office. 

Decide which work needs to be done and what level of autonomy they have while you’re gone. It may also be helpful to review what constitutes an emergency, so they know when to contact you and when to handle it themselves.

And, if you do insist on working through December, book some time off your calendar so you have the option to take it easy. At the very least, you can use those times to work on your own projects or plan for the next year. 

But no matter what you do, rest or work, the goal is to set yourself up in the best possible way for your next quarter.

Meet your host

Sandra Booker, Founder of Changemaker Inc. (home to Sidekick COO and The VA Studio) and creator of Scale Society and The Advisory Board, is a mentor, Fractional COO  and growth strategist. She specializes in helping overworked, overwhelmed, multi-hatted entrepreneurs become the CEOs of sustainably scalable, and powerfully profitable businesses. 

After helping local businesses thrive, and receiving accolades in her community (like the 40 Under 40 award) Sandra turned her attention to the world of online service providers, and her clients include familiar names like Chanti Zak, Tarzan Kay, and Laura Belgray.

In her (efficiently used) spare time, she teaches others how to build and grow their own 6-figure virtual assistant practices and is on a mission to create a million jobs by helping her clients and students scale their businesses.

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