When you hear or think about the word December, many things likely come to mind; but one word that likely doesn’t is . . . productive.
Today I want to challenge that thought, and even give you some very specific ways to use the last month of the year to be as productive, or perhaps more so, than any other month of the year.
Actually, in some ways, for many of you December is a very productive month. Think about how much you accomplish: you attend more parties than any other month, spend more time shopping and with families, and in many cases, do a whole lot of cooking and baking. While you may be thinking that is the reason why you can’t get anything else done; I see it differently. I see how a deadline, and important reasons why allow us to get more done in shorter times than we might have otherwise thought.
Put that in your excuse pipe and smoke it for a while.
But beyond that idea, I have five specific things you can do this month to get more accomplished in the rest of your life. Here they are . . .
Move While Others Rest
Many people move into coast mode this month. They buy into the excuse above, doubled. That not only are they distracted by other things, but so is everyone else; so we might as well settle in and wait for January. The fact is, those who are focused and hustle in December don’t have to “gear up” in January; they have built in momentum, and by comparison, have made tremendous progress during this month.
You can make real progress towards your goals in December, but when taken in context of others, any forward progress puts you further and further ahead of the game (and closer and closer to your goals). Speed up while others slow down. Make that your mantra and you will love the results. (Tweet That)
Learn From the People You are With
In December, you may have the chance to spend time with old friends and family that you rarely see. You may also be in situations where you meet new people (at the neighbor’s holiday gathering, your spouse’s company holiday party or wherever). Most people see this as either a good chance for a party or an obligation that must be met. While either of those may be true, the opportunity to learn from those you interact with is great. Go to these gatherings to enjoy yourself, but also to learn from the experiences and expertise of those you talk to. Move beyond small talk to discuss their lessons, their ideas and more. You may create or deepen a relationship while you glean ideas and learning from these people.
Capture the Energy of the Season
Regardless of your religious beliefs, it is hard to ignore the energy this season brings. The music is different, the smiles are more frequent, and there is generally a more positive feeling all around. If you notice that, feed off of that energy. Bring more hope, joy and gratitude to your work and life. Raise your sights and be more positive by soaking up the positivity and goodwill around you. (And while you are at it, be a carrier of these emotions too, not just a sponge.)
Reflect on the Past 11 Months
One of the most powerful ways to learn is by reflecting on our experiences - good and bad, repeatable or not. And while we can do that any time, there is no better time than December. Forward progress is nearly always aided by deep thought about both the past and the future. So make December a time of reflection and learning, setting the stage for faster and more confident progress forward in the New Year.
Use the Golden Week
If you will be working in the week between Christmas and New Year’s, I have long called this the Golden Week. It is a week when you can get so much done because fewer people around you are working! Dedicate yourself to being focused (there will be far fewer distractions) and getting much done during these days. Yes, you can look forward to your New Year’s activities, but you will enjoy them much more with the satisfaction of accomplishment in your immediate past.
If you aren’t working during this week, it is still a Golden Week! Schedule some time for yourself, to reflect, plan and work on your goals. Put that time on your calendar, let others know and hold firm to it – you will be glad that you did.
And, as a bonus, a slightly less serious item . . .
Watch the Sweets!
December is also the month of weight gain! While many of us will eat too much of everything, be a bit careful with the sweets – they tend to drag us down, making us less focused and more lethargic. Enjoy some, but watch it, and remember all that you plan to accomplish in December!

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