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Thoughts on Leadership

5 Best Year End Practices for Leaders

December provides leaders a great opportunity to end the year well and start a new year with clarity, energy, and focus. Most leaders are tired by year end and need a break. Slowing down for a short season is helpful before accelerating again in January. For the last 30 years, I have used December to do these practices.

Year End Practices
Year End Practices

Here are my 5 best year end practices for leaders:

Review Thankful List

Coming off Thanksgiving, it is helpful to stay in the attitude of gratefulness. After we are thankful for the big things like job, family and relationship with God, this practice gives so much energy to really take a deep dive for the people and things we are thankful for.

I keep a “Thankful" list in Evernote for when I get discouraged, and it is amazing how my attitude instantly changes when I read it.

If you wrote down 50 things you are thankful for, what would make your list?

Refocus Vision

I have kept a journal since I was 14 years old. I think best when I write and can see it in black and white. At the end of the year, it is fun to read the monthly summaries of my journals. The whole year is summarized into a year summary. With this practice, I am able to see mega-trends in key areas of my life.

In reading my story I get connected to God’s bigger story. As I think about the coming year, this vision acts like a compass guiding my way into the uncharted territory. The vision becomes clear for the future when I see God’s fingerprints in the past.

What are the mega-trends you see in this year and what insight does that give you for the new year?

Clean out Clutter

Clutter of all types can really sap clarity, energy, and focus. Over the Christmas break, I like to go through my clothes and take a trip to Goodwill. I love the feeling of knowing others will benefit from gently worn clothes. To look at my ordered closet is another great benefit of decluttering.

Decluttering the productivity system is also very freeing. Some of these things include: cleaning out old emails, taking a deep dive by updating Nozbe to do list, going through Evernote deleted old notes and going through physical files which need to be scanned or thrown away.

What is your declutter project for the end of the year? 

Connect with Friends

It is amazing how a quick phone call or meal with a friend can bring joy and energy. Seems like with life-friends you can just pick up where you left off. No need to know the day in and day out details because a long-term friendship has been forged.

Who are your life-friends you want to connect with over the Christmas break?

Plan Big Rock Commitments

Eugene Peterson said people are busy because they are vain and lazy. Vain in that we care too much what people think of us. Lazy in that we don’t get to our calendar before other people ask for our time.

Countless leaders I have coached say they wished they had more time to think, pray, exercise or invest in significant relationships. Living a “I’ll wait till I’m not so busy” is what makes men at retirement or on the death bed share their regrets.

Put the important tasks, projects and relationships in your calendar before other people get to it. Treat it like you have a tee-time at the Masters so you won’t miss it. When you have those big rocks in your calendar and someone wants that time, graciously say, “I have a commitment that I cannot change.”

What are the big rock commitments you can get in your calendar now? 

New Year Opportunity Questions

As you think about this coming year, what do you want to accomplish? 

What are those important-non-urgent things that you keep putting off?

Where are you stuck that you finally want to have a breakthrough?

If you would like to have a coaching session to discuss your new year, fill out the contact form so we can set up a complementary call!