Tips to reset and refocus for Q4 2020

Sep 18, 2020

2020 has been difficult for everyone. Business and personal plans have gone awry and we're constantly readjusting to accommodate everything. Moira Dunne offers some tips to reset and refocus for the end of the year.

September is a great time to reset and refocus after the summer months. With schools reopening, it is a chance to draw breath and set priorities for the last four months of the year. This year, we need to reset more than ever. 2020 has been a time of huge change and uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Business plans created in January were suddenly paused in March. Day-to-day operations stopped for many businesses. And, as companies pivoted to survive, plans from January may be irrelevant in Q4. Here are some tips to reset and refocus for the end of the year.

Even though we are still living with COVID-19, this September brings hope as we see the reopening of schools around the world. The virus is still here, but we are all getting on with our lives and our business. How great would it feel to achieve some important goals and finish your year on a high?

1. Reset your priorities

Start by looking at the goals you set in January and assess what has been completed and what needs to be added. Identify the most important things you want to achieve by the end of 2020. Then ask the following questions:

  • What are the goals?
  • What work needs to be done to achieve those goals?
  • Is help or input required from anyone else?

2. Make a plan

Having a plan helps you achieve more as it provides structure, focus and motivation. To figure out the work to be done, it helps to break large goals into smaller sub-goals. Then brainstorm each sub-goal to identify the tasks or actions required.

Using a flipchart or whiteboard really helps the brainstorming process as space frees up your mind. If you work with others, you can arrange an online session over Zoom or Teams and use the whiteboarding feature to help spark ideas.

Once you have a list of tasks, start looking at the following:

  • What needs to be done when?
  • Do some tasks depend on the completion of others?
  • What are the milestones to be achieved along the way?

Then transfer all the tasks into a planner.

3. Be realistic

You are probably already busy, so be realistic about how much time you have. It is better to under-plan than over-plan. Start small, complete some tasks to achieve a sub-goal. This will motivate you to keep going.

Build in some contingency time, some “slippage” for the unexpected. Because if 2020 has taught us anything, we know that we need to expect the unexpected!

4. Track your progress

As you work through your tasks, track your progress by capturing the date each one is completed. If you miss a target date, readjust any remaining dates that may be affected.

Rework the plan if you find you are not getting enough time to work on your goals. Extend your timeline if necessary.

5. Celebrate

If you achieve your goal, then you will want to celebrate. If you reach the end of Q4 without completing all the work, you still have a plan and you know exactly what needs to be done in 2021.

And by following this process, you have also gained some valuable project management skills. What an achievement in these uncertain times!

Moira Dunne is Founder of beproductive.ie.