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year end holidays

How to Minimize the “Get it done before the holidays” Syndrome

Christmas is my favourite time of the year. I get the opportunity to reconnect with friends and family, reflect on the year and plan for the next one. 

That’s my plan every December but it never seems to work that way. This is one of the busiest times of the year. Whether it’s achieving yearly goals or completing projects before the holiday, schedules are full and people are overloaded.

This year has been no different; projects have been sped up and one was even pressed to start before year’s end. Beyond the personal impact of working around the clock, there is a business cost to this rush: people aren’t doing their best work. 

Efficiency becomes the goal at the expense of effectiveness. Getting things done is more important than doing things well. The closer you get to the office closing, the more short cuts are taken. At worst, commitments become check box exercises with the intention of reviewing them after the holidays. 

If the pre-holiday season is an environment where people don’t do their best work, how do you avoid this “get it done before the holidays syndrome”? Here is a checklist to minimize the effect:

  • Assume that 25 percent of your time in December will be spent on last-minute requests
  • Avoid scheduling important meetings one weeks before the holidays
  • Don’t schedule training sessions two weeks before the holidays—attention is low and attendance is a challenge
  • For meetings that you must hold just before the holidays, send action items out within 24 hours along with an invite to review them in early January—people will forget them
  • Ask when people are returning from holiday—it might not be the first day back
  • Be patient with your colleagues and yourself—most are caught up in the holiday rush. 
Following these practices may even give you the opportunity to reconnect with friends and family, reflect on the year and plan for the next one. Happy holidays!

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