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How Will You Spend Your Next Five Workweeks? (Productive Flourishing Pulse #455)
How to focus and finish with grace and ease
As the year winds down, we often intensify the race against time. The "finish by December 31" mindset can amplify the pressure, making the “too many things, too little time” crunch feel very real.
Because it’s true. If our work or business or personal deadlines are set for year-end, we can see that bridge into the new year ahead of us on the tracks and it’s coming up fast.
With the holiday season approaching, the standard US work calendar1 leaves us with a mere five effective workweeks. Thanksgiving claims a week in November, while the festive period in December claims another two.
This is where the optics of the calendar can belie the reality that we’ve got a short track for work. Since we can’t really change the length of the track, we have to look at the load on the train.
Chances are, your project load is bigger than you can reasonably complete in that time. This isn’t unusual and, as I say in Start Finishing, you’re not uniquely defective. It’s often a combination of:
Overcommitting early in the year. We all had this vision of the year going perfectly and every project smoothly.
Projects taking longer than we expect. We humans are not particularly good at estimating in general, and when we’re excited about the destination, we don’t often consider all the obstacles we might encounter along the way.
New projects arising. Things are going to come up, and often these emergent and emergency projects have to displace some of the work we’d planned for the year.
So we’re here, looking at the next five weeks, and trying to determine what’s possible to complete in the year and what we’ll need to push or drop.
Here are a few tips for finishing out the year with some grace, ease, and spaciousness, AND a feeling of accomplishment, too:
Figure out the three to five month-sized projects you can complete between now and the end of the year. Lean heavily toward three (I know, I know). Use the 37 verbs to help you scale those projects to a monthly horizon.
For those other projects you know you won’t get to, figure out which ones you’ll bring into the new year and which you might drop to give yourself margin in 2024 and not repeat the cycle from 2023.
Leave yourself a breadcrumb trail so you can find your way back to those projects in a couple months.
Save that fifth week. Use it as a buffer for projects that exceed the month, for CAT work (including those breadcrumbs), for review of 2023, and for planning your 2024.
If you’re creating the crunch, you can also choose to not to. Will you?
And above all, give yourself some grace when even these plans don’t work out exactly like you expect. This time of year is one with an unusual amount of emergent projects and activities between the holidays, family, work fire drills, teammates being out, and whatever else is happening in the near-home, national, or world stage.
A little extra margin and grace ensures that you can actually enjoy and be with the emergent good things happening in your life, work, and world while addressing the other stuff that comes up.
PS: Need help figuring out which projects to keep in the year, and which need to move? Get support on this and other challenges when you join us on November’s Monthly Community Coaching Call — Monday, November 13, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. PST.
If you’re not yet a paid subscriber, you can still upgrade your subscription and join us on the call.
Substack Migration Updates
For the next few Pulses, I’ll be sharing updates about what we’ve done and are doing with moving Productive Flourishing to Substack. Some of the audience doesn’t care much about the changes, but there are a lot of our long-time community members who are simultaneously excited and confused about what’s going on and where to find things.
🔐= content for paying subscribers
🆓= content for free subscribers
⚒️= active builds
Recently Built/Updated ✅
🔐 The Momentum Planners bundle and the Momentum Planner E-Course are now available
🆓 The Pulse is now running as its own section
🆓 Free Planners has been updated
🆓 Our top posts have been updated and curated on the home page
🆓 ~150 posts have been updated and reformatted for Substack
Upcoming Builds and Updates for November:
🔐 The Start Finishing Your Projects E-Course will be updated and migrated
🔐⚒️ 3–5 more planners and worksheets will be available in the Resource Library
🆓 The Time Blocking Challenge is being updated and migrated to be available for all subscribers
🆓⚒️ We’re curating and editing our top podcast episodes and they’ll be on the homepage so you can find them more easily
Moving everything over and re-building our resources to be better and easier for you to find is a considerable effort. If you’d like to support those efforts and get access to 🔐 content as it’s available, please consider upgrading your subscription today.
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I’m aware that this varies across the world. Our readership is currently predominantly from North America.