December is a weird month. It can either be busy because everyone is trying to finish up projects before the New Year. Or it can be slow because people are traveling, taking time off, and don’t want to start anything new till after the holidays. Every year around the end of October, I always start to panic because I don’t know how my December will look; there is no way for me to really predict what my workload will be (the joys of being a freelancer!).
This year, I decided to take a different outlook as we approach the holiday season: I am going to embrace the lighter workload, and use the time wisely. I want to spend some time doing all of the things I put off throughout the year. Here are a few ways that I am going to make December super productive:
Attend holiday parties
I am the worst when it comes to networking. It is awkward, and I hate it. I always RSVP to a variety of networking events, but then, find some excuse not to go. I decided since I have the extra time in December, I am going to attend a few holiday parties. Most networking groups have some kind of holiday event or happy hour, so now is as good of a time as ever to make an effort. Might as well start of the New Year with some fresh contacts and connections.
Pitch the media between Christmas and New Years
I am letting you in on one of my best secrets: the week between Christmas and New Years can be a pitching goldmine. Most people are off during that time, so if you are still working, pitch your clients! The media still needs stories!
Imagine how happy your clients will be if they come back from vacation, and you scored them a few top tier placements. Yup, you just earned extra brownie points for 2014.
Set goals for 2014
Sit down for a few hours, and really think about what you want to achieve next year. Not all your goals have to be work related. Last year someone that I work with suggested that I write down everything I am trying to accomplish, and post it on my refrigerator, so I can see it everyday. I know it might sound corny, but in some weird way it actually works. There is some kind of permanence and accountability to writing your goals down on paper. Also, if you put them somewhere you see on a daily basis, it will be a constant reminder.
When I do this, I try to have a combination of realistic goals and pie in the sky goals. Achieving my realistic goals, gives me the confidence to keep going after my highly ambitious goals.
Use the end of the year to say thank you to everyone that has helped you. You can do this through holiday cards, gifts or just a simple “thank you” e-mail. We all want to feel appreciated, and the holidays are a great time to show your gratitude for mentors, clients, employers, etc. No one has to help you or give you opportunities, so always remember to be appreciative.
In-between the fun holiday festivities, remember to be productive this month. If you decide to slack off in December, work will feel more stressful in January. If you have a lighter client load, use the extra time to lay the foundation for 2014 to be the best year ever!
Photo Credit: Sergio Vassio