Skip to content

Preparing to wind down work for 2022

It’s December and for me, the quietest time of the year. That doesn’t really mean that things aren’t busy, but some of my biggest deadlines are currently a few months into the future, and there is no more major travel planned between now and January, so this is as ‘quiet’ as it gets. And I am keen to capitalise on that.

As someone who actively tries to become less efficient and work less hard (looking for more sustainable, balanced productivity instead) this time of the year offers a much needed chance to spend some time tidying up. Here is what I intend to do in the run up to the holidays:

Calendar refresh

I have plenty of recurring meetings in my diary, and at the end of each year I check in on them. I look at whether I still need the meeting at all, whether the time still works, what’s changed and how I can adjust and plan for my week better.

The kinds of meetings I often change are individual catch ups, mostly due to working patterns changing or the focus of collaboration shifting.

Long term to do list clear out

My long term to do list is a a long list of things I want to tackle at some point, action items that are usually neither urgent nor important. Long term to do lists, for me, are the back of the back burner.

This is where I brain dump ideas, links to things that may be interesting one day, long term hopes or ideas that I could investigate.

At the end of each year, I review and prune my list. Usually there are a couple I have actually implemented, which can be marked as completed. Some have become obsolete and get deleted, whilst others may now move towards the actual planning phase.

Pruning other to do lists

I also prune and tidy my other lists, primarily trying to complete quick wins and plan for larger pieces of work come 2023. I try to be realistic, spacing them out for the new year, so that I don’t start January with a completely unachievable list on day 1.

Clear out the old…

Alongside that, I have a clear out of files and folders, my inbox and desk. Out with the old… and make space for fresh thinking for the new year. I usually book a half day out in my calendar in the last working week of the year, for precisely that purpose. I want to make sure I have time to clear up, and leave things in a nice way for the new year.

One thing I don’t do is to send 100 emails clearing my inbox just before I finish for the year. I am the recipient of many of these from others, and I dislike it personally. If something wasn’t urgent up to 23rd December, it can probably wait until 3 January.

So in order to empty my inbox, I schedule or draft emails ready to send in the new year and that way, I don’t get lots of harried responses and others don’t get 100 more emails from me.

…in with the new

One of the biggest joys of ending the year is to start planning for a fresh new year. I ordered a new journal yesterday, and this is always one of my favourite things to do. Have a little re-arrange, tidy and make space for new things.