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Quick Thought: The End-of-Year Syndrome

Quick Thought: The End-of-Year Syndrome

There’s a funny phenomenon that I often make note of this time of year. I call it the end-of-year syndrome. As I’ve been pointing this out to clients over the past few weeks, I thought I should record a quick audio post about the randomly looming nature of December 31st.

So have a listen (or a read…the transcript’s below). And think about where you’ll land this year: on the side of arbitrary deadlines or intentional holidays.

Transcript:

Most of my clients know that I like take commonly held viewpoints that have become sort-of standard paradigms in people’s minds, and turn them at different angles to take a look at them and see, are they really valid?

Well, one of my favorites that makes me laugh every single year is the comment, “Oh, I can’t possibly do that until after the holidays. Oh, well, we’ll have schedule that in January.”

This whole phenomenon starts around mid November / late November – right before Thanksgiving, where that whole period of time, from Thanksgiving to Christmas, is suddenly a big panic. And so, “Anything that’s not super urgent, I can’t possibly get done before the holidays – before the 31st of December.”

And I smile and think to myself, that’s interesting. Why is that any different than the 28th of April? Or the 16th of June? It’s just another day of the year.

In fact, I have clients who have turned the paradigm around. They make their fiscal year June 30th. And they get a discount from the company that does their taxes, because they’ve put themselves outside of the busy time.

So, we create all this artificial stress because a bunch of accounts say, “we’re gonna have our fiscal year end on December 31st.”

You get to choose your fiscal year.

“Well, it’s because I… it’s not just because of the fiscal year. It’s because I have all this stuff I have to get done before the holidays.”

Why?

What if I came to you (I think this would be a lot of fun) on the last week of November and said, “Everybody go home. You can’t do any more work for the next 6 weeks, until January.”

Huh! Horrors.

We’d probably have a wonderful holiday season.

And we’d probably get all prepared for that thing happening – that time off – happening again the next year. And we’d have ourself scheduled in such a way that it wouldn’t be all panicked.

So relax a little and enjoy yourself! No, you don’t have to get everything done before the holidays. It’s an artificial deadline that you use to pressure yourself. And when January comes, you’re going to have all the stuff that you need to do anyway.

So, relax a bit. Enjoy the time.

And keep in mind, this is a paradigm. And like all paradigms, it ought to be evaluated to see if it’s really valid in your life.

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