Summer is over, and the chill in the air means that it is definitely fall. It also means that a new year is approaching and it’s time to start preparing for all of the year-end responsibilities that always seem to take us by surprise (even though they happen every 12 months). Here are four tasks to get in front of now.
Leverage your resources and delegate
You may not formally lead a team in the job you have today but that doesn’t mean you don’t have available resources to help you do your job faster and more efficiently. Keep in close contact with complementary team members who are familiar with what you do; enlist their help well ahead of turning in a deliverable especially when you need help with heavy analytics or research. Delegation is the key to increasing your productivity, but you have to make sure you follow up to keep things moving and check any work that comes back to you before stamping your name on it. If you do have a formal team, write out specific objectives for your direct reports to work toward and schedule weekly follow-ups to keep all of you ahead of schedule.
Prepare year-end reviews ahead of time
The year-end review process for most large banks and consulting firms starts in October. There may be more than three months left in the year but performance review boards are already in full swing. Chances are you already have a reminder from HR to start listing your achievements and selecting reviewers. When and if you have downtime during the day, draft up your self-assessment (usually the most time consuming piece of year-end reviews) and consolidate your notes on the people you will likely be reviewing. Getting ahead of your reviews will save you a lot of tension in the days leading up to the two major holidays just over the horizon.
Brainstorm high-level goals for next year now
With year-end reviews comes planning objectives for next year. If you are not in a promotion year and can take the time to think about what you want to accomplish for next year, getting your thoughts down on paper on this topic will really help you get organized and put you in the good graces of your manager. I recognize that this is a luxury as your schedule probably can’t get any tighter than it already is, but if you can get this on your radar screen, it will go a long way in shaping your perception at work as an “A” player.
Plan your Thanksgiving and December holiday schedule ASAP
As I advanced in my corporate career, I noticed that the most senior executives or top performers in the groups I worked for always planned their holidays and time off well in advance. I realized that this helped set expectations within their teams and helped them allocate resources accordingly. It also ensured that they got first dibs on the choice days off (day after Thanksgiving, the week before Christmas) before anyone could complain or stop them from doing so. Do yourself a favor and reserve the time you need off now rather than later or you may be stuck holding the bag.
Debra Wheatman is a certified writer and career coach who has guided the professional development of thousands of clients globally. She is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org.