4 Ways to Save December

December 3, 2014

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If you thought November slipped by, December is already almost over (and it’s only December 3!). December is a three week month if you assume the last week and a half occupy the holidays. (Even shorter at some companies where people have already started their holiday breaks.) Here are 4 tips for making the most of December.

1. Repeat November: Get Things Done Early

You have three weeks this month to get anything done as it relates to work. The year will start to wind down on December 22. Plan your month appropriately.

2. Give Your Mind a Vacation

I know a few people who like to work the day after Thanksgiving. Why? No one is around, so they are very productive. I disagree. You need a break. If you’re going to come back January 5 ready to tackle 2015, you need to be refreshed. The nice thing about December 25 to January 5 is that with so many people taking vacation, it gives you a chance to give your mind a vacation too. Pick a non-work book to read. Research a personal project. Allow your mind to work on something other than work itself.

3. Take 2: Disconnect

From November’s Recommendation:

Whether it’s the entire week or the 4 day long weekend, disconnect from the office. The easiest way I’ve found to disconnect is when other people are trying to disconnect too. Thanksgiving weekend and, if you can do it, Thanksgiving week is a great time to think about yourself and your family and not about work.

Odds are you didn’t do it. (I failed a bunch.) Consider November your trial run. If you need to, turn off notifications on your phone so it doesn’t buzz. It’s ok to check your e-mail a bit in the evening, but don’t allow it to distract you from decorating your tree or baking cookies with the family.

4. Start Planning 2015

Year after year, gyms are packed in January, busy in February and empty by March. It’s no wonder we give up on our goals when we’re frustrated trying to use the treadmill. I do a majority of my goal setting around my birthday. That way, if I’m doing something everyone is doing, I’m not impacted by the New Years rush.

That said, most businesses run on the calendar year. Many of my business goals follow that schedule. Think about what you’d like to accomplish in 2015 both professionally and personally. If investments need to be made, I find that it’s easier to buy early in December than in January. A quick look at Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity shows that it’s most expensive historically in January, cheapest on December 28th, and usually discounted over the summer. (A completely unscientific analysis, FYI.)

Finish strong, disconnect and be ready to tackle 2015.