Only 34 days remain in 2007, including weekends and holidays. Before we know it, the books will close and another year will have passed. What’s the most important step you can take today to ensure that you’re well-positioned as you move into 2008?
- Business development: Perhaps you could set aside a couple of hours to evaluate your business development plan for 2007 and to lay out your strategy for next year. Or you could make some appointments to take important contacts to lunch, for coffee, or whatever is appropriate. If you’ve noticed that there’s something in your way concerning client development, invest some time now determining what you need to do to be more productive. At a minimum, set aside a few minutes every day to take some marketing action.
- Time management: How are your hours? If they’re low, what do you need to do to get appropriate work? (Perhaps see the business development ideas!) Are you billing for the time you’re actually working, and are you using that time well? Do you need to update your methods for filing, time tracking, or scheduling? Perhaps it’s time to check in with your assistant and see what ideas he or she has for using time more effectively.
- Professional development: This is often a great time of year to pick up CLE. Or check out some of the new publications in your area of practice or on practice management. But first, check your progress on the development plans you set for this year. What can you do to close out this year with a success?
- Career: If you’ve been considering a move, this is a good time to put out feelers and position yourself. You may not have an opportunity to interview until the new year, but putting yourself “on the market” now will be beneficial. If you’re mid-search, you may find this a busy period as employers try to wrap up hiring decisions before the close of the year.If you’re planning to stay in your current position, what can you do to improve your performance? How successful have you been this year, and what changes would be helpful as you move forward? The holiday season is also an opportunity to show your gratitude to support staff and colleagues who have made your professional life work well and perhaps brightened your days: don’t miss your chance.
- Work/life integration: Are you happy with the amount of time and energy you’re putting into your personal life? Do you need to rearrange your schedule, get some help on the home front, or turn off your BlackBerry while you talk with your spouse/partner/child? Are you putting in time on the activities that will increase your energy, such as exercise and getting sufficient sleep?
- Other: If there’s an area that needs attention, you know what it is. Spend some time putting it right, whatever that may mean.
Taking these steps will help you to realize or exceed the goals you’ve set for 2007 and carry you forward into 2008 with momentum. Choose the most important action in the most important area and do it this week.