How to Beat the End of Year Panic

If you haven’t already, you should be. It’s time to start planning for the end of the year.

You’ve been here before. November seems aimless, and in many ways, distant from the frantic nature of December. We’re still getting to grips with the weather and clocks change and moaning about the fact that the shops have their Christmas decorations up.

It’s like we forget (or don’t want to deal with the fact) that December is really only half a month, and actually Christmas is only a month away. And, it requires, for most of us, more than a whole month’s work.

So, what can you do to avoid the panic?

Recognise Your Emotional Response

In an interesting article, called “5 Ways to Focus Your Energy During a Work Crunch”, by Amy Jen Su, she argues that the way executives manage this type of ‘crunch’ is by accepting the situation and learning to observe and label the underlying emotions that are causing stress. Ultimately, she argues that by labelling your emotion, which will always be a negative one (worry, guilt, failure) you, to put another word on it, can compartmentalise what is sapping your strength and focus. This in turn, allows your energy to be focused on positive ‘functioning’ skills – the skills demonstrated by executives.

Choose Your Own Path Forward

When confronted with insurmountable amounts of work, people often fall – unintentionally – into a victim mentality. Amy Jen Su argues that by accepting your situation and labelling your emotions, as above, you can reduce the anxiety that causes people to fall into this trap. By assessing your situation, while making sure that you plan time for self-care, you can find a path out of the woods. Taking a step out of the immediacy and emotion of the situation and making tough trade-offs (actioning pressing priorities while ensuring you do have some time to re-charge), will help you ultimately deliver more because you are in control of your situation.

Stop Trying to be a Hero    

We’ve all been there – getting caught up in being too self-reliant and feeling like we can’t inflict stress on others, that we forget to communicate or ask for help. A strength in a normal work environment, however in a period of acute pressure this trait will only deepen the emotional response you feel and inhibit you further. The objective it to move through this period, so by taking a step outside of your current frame of reference and seeing who you could leverage, you may be able to do this with more speed, and less personal energy. A key skill in a time of acute pressure, the act of saying ‘no’, on being clear on workloads and capacity, and negotiating and renegotiating deadlines or resources to support you is what will make you successful.

Above all, don’t beat yourself up. As Amy Jen Su states, self-compassion is one of the biggest factors in getting through a work crisis and being able to face into one again – and let’s face it, that’s probably going to be soon!

Read more: Su, Amy Jen, ‘5 Ways to Focus Your Energy During a Work Crunch’, HBR

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At Barden we invest our resources to bring you the very best insights on all things to do with your professional future. Got a topic you would like us to research? Got an insight you would like us to share with our audience? Drop us a note to hello@barden.ie and we will take it from there!

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