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10 Step Checklist to Close Out 2021

There is no doubt that this is a very busy time of the year. There are the projects to complete, end of year functions to attend, shops to navigate and the odd family drama to attend to.

I am sure you don’t need me to add anything more to your long “to do” list.

But I am going to… because it’s time to close out the year.

It’s time to celebrate your achievements and recognise the struggles. Acknowledge and appreciate your growth and start preparing for next year. It’s time to clear the clutter, close this chapter and create space for a fresh start and fulfilling new year.

Here are 10 actions to add to your “to do” list to close out the year

1. Create a “small tasks” list. We all have those pesky little jobs that are non urgent but really should be done. Make the most of this time to give yourself a deadline to get them done. You will feel satisfied and accomplished once they are finally checked off your to do list.

2. Set aside time for big picture thinking. For much of the year it is about putting your head down and getting the job done. Use this time for some big picture thinking. Grab some textas and some flip paper and map out your strategy for next year. Get clear on what are the big priorities for next year and identify the outcomes you want you and your team to achieve.

Think about whether you have the right people on your team, what resources you need and anything else needed for the strategy to be a success.

3. Have the hard conversations. If you have been putting off having a difficult conversation, schedule it in and get it done. Performance issues don’t generally go away. By having the conversation now, you are allowing them to process the feedback over the break and return with a new and improved approach in the New Year.

4. Set up for career growth. Take some time to reflect on the year that was. Acknowledge your growth, big wins and the successful projects completed. Pause to consider where you want your career to head next year. Think about your professional development and determine what skills, knowledge or experience will aid your professional progress

5. Say thanks. Showing gratitude and appreciation goes a long way. Take the time to write a hand written note to clients, colleagues and mentors who have supported you throughout the year. Acknowledge what you appreciate … the more specific you can be, the better.

6. Write a January to do list. I love to create an action list prior to taking leave so that, on my return, I can hit the ground running. It also minimises the risk of important jobs falling off the radar over the break.

7. Clear your desk. I am sure this one is not on the list just for me. I have to confess that my desk is a disaster zone much of the time but I LOVE the sense of clarity that comes from an uncluttered desk and office.


And don’t just stop at tidying up your physical space. Plan a total clear out. Give the shredder a workout, ditch old files and fill your bin with anything that’s no longer needed. It is time to purge the old to allow space for the new.

8. Empty your inbox. Next it’s time to tackle your inbox. For me, this is often a big job – while all my emails have been read, they now need to be deleted or filed.
And while you are at it, take a look at your electronic filing system. Now’s the time to archive, reorganise and tidy up!

9. Set your out of office message. You are almost there. Identify back up plans and who will manage queries in your absence. And then walk out the door, slip into a holiday frock and sit back with an ice cold drink.

10. Unwind, recharge, refresh! NOW… the most important step of all. Disconnect! If at all possible, make a commitment to unplug, switch off and go technology free. Take this time to fully let go, unwind and recharge. Be present with your family and allow the busyness to subside. It’s time for you to fill your cup and allow your mind to be still. Enjoy.

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There is no doubt that this is a very busy time of the year. There are the projects to complete, end of year functions to attend, shops to navigate and the odd family drama to attend to.
I am sure you don’t need me to add anything more to your long “to do” list.

Jane Benston