A good friend of mine has reintroduced me to what I am discovering is a very important word: intentional. She is determined to be intentional with the people and activities that are a priority to her. This has influenced me personally, and even in my business. We all have activities that need to be trimmed out of our day to make our time and efforts more productive and beneficial.
At the end of every year, I encourage myself and others to resist the temptation to pull back within our businesses or projects. By October/November, the year can feel “old” and worn out and we start to think about the holidays and taking much-needed time off. These are good things! I highly encourage us to fully enjoy the holidays with our friends and families. That being said, it’s so easy to get into a mentality that causes us to lessen our enthusiasm and efforts within the business, convincing ourselves that everyone else is also cutting back and taking more time off.
In order to fully enjoy the celebrations, this is the time to put our heads down, and like one who is in a race, sprint to the finish line. Let’s not stop or slow down. Instead, let’s press in and finish well. That being said, there is a difference between finishing strong and being busy.
We all have the tendency to think that busy-ness is what we mean when we hear “finish strong”.
Instead, let’s think of strong as focused and intentional.
Quickly, let’s consider what finishing strong, or focused and intentional, can possibly look like. Remember, every business or project has different needs. For a writer, maybe this is the time of year that they need to lock themselves in a room for several weeks and write like crazy – even if it’s ideas or rough drafts for future projects. Being focused and intentional for a retailer is switching the majority of your energy to marketing specific products for holiday sales. This is NOT the time to redesign the website, start new product ventures, etc.
If this is your slow season with clients/customers, then right now should be a focused and intentional PLANNING season.
What happens is that many businesses get to January/February and find they come to a grinding halt and December left them feeling unfinished. Plan NOW for ways to keep the momentum going in your business.
Here are a few ideas to be focused and intentional:
- Discover new community or networking groups that fit within your audience.
- If you have multiple projects going on, press pause on all but one and do everything you can to finish the one and finish it well.
- Research others in your industry and make notes of what you’d like to apply in your business.
- Finish a project you started earlier in the year, but it got put on the back burner.
- Look for loose ends in your business and either tie them up or throw them out.
- Start preparing for taxes.
- Plan/brainstorm for January/February.
- Plan a couple of days to simply brainstorm and write ideas/create.
- Be intentional regarding working extra NOW so you can participate in social gatherings later.
- Review the work you’ve done this year so far and ask what needs to stay, go, or be adjusted. (i.e. what worked and didn’t work.
- Review your goals. Is there something you can go all-out to reach?
- Write an extra blog post.
- Paint an extra painting.
- Reach out to that potential new client.
- Hire that employee/house cleaner.
- Plan brainstorming sessions every week until the new year.
- Go through your notebook/calendar from the beginning of the year until now and look for something you forgot to do or never got around to – and do it.
Basically, find things that are undone and finish them and start building a good foundation for the next year. You know best how that looks for your business. To give you a real-world example, these are some of the things I am doing to finish the year strong:
- Went to a creative retreat.
- Started organizing my financial records to prepare for tax season.
- Going through my notes in my planner.
- Ordering my planner for next year.
- Doubling my output of products (typewriters) for the Christmas selling season.
- Going back to one networking group for the purpose of creating connections for projects I want to do next year.
- Hiring a house cleaner to help free up some time
- Making contacts for a new writer’s group I want to start in January
- Eliminating social events and certain activites until Thanksgiving and working extra. (i.e. I’m not cooking very much right now! ? )
- Picked one “fun” project to do in order to give my mind a break from work and get my creative juices flowing.
- Cut out news/tv/social media (except for work)
- Started slowly promoting for services I’m wanting to restart for next year.
In order to accomplish everything I want, I’m having to hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on my days until Thanksgiving. But by doing this, by living and working focused and intentional, I can be fully present with my friends and family over the holiday season and know I have active solutions in the works to propel me forward into the next year.
Sure, it’s going to take a bit of sacrifice over the next few weeks, but I’m staring down the end of the year like a finish line. Focused and intentional work sets me up for a strong finish and a great beginning for the next chapter.
Here’s to a fabulous and fantastic finish!
Need help identifying ways to be more intentional and focused as it pertains to your specific situation? Book a mentoring session today!