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How Will You Use the Most Productive Week of the Year

by Kevin Eikenberry on December 26, 2011

in Achievement, Leadership, Learning

As I travel around the world all year long, leaders and achievers — people just like you — tell me the same things over and over.

“I’m so busy, my plate is so full.”

“I can’t seem to get anything done.”

“There is too much email and too many interruptions.”

If you have said, thought, or felt any of these things, welcome to the most productive week of the year.

Yep, I believe, for a variety of reasons, the week between Christmas and New Year’s can be the most productive week of the year. Here are three reasons why:

  • Fewer people are working, which means fewer emails, fewer phone calls, and fewer disruptions (and lower expectations that you will reply immediately).
  • Most people who are working are coasting, so they aren’t bothering you either.
  • This time of the year is conducive to introspection and planning, both of which are underutilized tools for greater productivity.

These facts can be used to your distinct advantage, if you choose. The rest of this piece tells you how.

If You Are Working This Week . . .

. . . realize that to make it the most productive week of the year,  you must make some choices and likely do things differently than others around you.  Here’s a start.

Take Advantage. There will be fewer distractions, fewer people, and in general less competition for your time and attention. So take advantage of that fact! It will be easier to close your door and focus. It will easier to stay on task. It will be easier to do all those things you tell me you never get to do. While it will be easier, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be easy. Change your distracting habits. Start by turning off email for a while. There will be less of it, and people will be probably cut you slack if you don’t reply immediately anyway, because it is the holidays.

Take Time. Take time to work on the important, not the urgent. Since there will be less urgent, you can work on the most important things for you, your team, your business and your goals. This alone is reason enough to call this the most productive week of the year.

Take Stock. Spend some time reflecting on the past year (more on this below), on your goals and values, and getting yourself mentally and emotionally prepared for a New Year.

Take Action. It won’t really be the most productive week unless you do something.  Take action on the advice in this piece. Move forward more quickly. Implement! Do. Something. Now.

While you are working, and the four pieces of advice you’ve just read are great, you want to read on, and see which of these apply to you, too.

If You Aren’t Working This Week . . .

. . . enjoy your time off!  Beyond that, here are some ideas for you.

Recharge. Use this time to consciously recharge your batteries, mentally, physically and emotionally. Yes, I know you may be traveling, rushing and more – but you can still make sure that this is a refreshing and reinvigorating time for you. It starts when you decide to make it so.

Reflect. Spend some time looking back on the past year. Think about all phases of your life. Think about what you have learned, what you want to repeat, and what you want to change. For more thoughts, read this post.

Read. Even with the hustle and bustle of travel and other activities, find some time for some high value reading. The book you have had on your list for a long time.  The book everyone is recommending. A classic that your intuition tells you to read. A book that supports your biggest goals. The good news is that doing this helps you recharge at the same time.

Rededicate. Rededicate yourself to yourself and your success. Claim your potential.  If you have written goals, review them, and rededicate yourself to them.  If you don’t have any written down, there is your other action item for this week…

Oh, and just because you are on vacation, doesn’t mean that you can’t do some of the things on the first list, either this week or the first couple of days in January.

While all of these things can be done at any time of the year, the unique opportunity that this week offers makes it important that you capitalize on it.

Not everyone will do this.

That’s OK.

Achievers do things others won’t —which is good news.  It means there’s plenty of room at the top.

Do these things and I will be extra confident that you will have a happy New Year.

photo credit Courtney Dirks

Click to Learn about 20 days to Remarkable Leadership


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

KMK Foley December 26, 2011 at 11:23 am

I love to be at work the last week of the year. Time to think, plan and organize with few interruptions. Commute is also much quicker! I use the time to send handwritten notes to colleagues and chapter members to thank them for encouragement and support. Absolutely agree.. Most productive time of the year.

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