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January's not a magic month, you know

January's not a magic month, you know

Nicola Hopes

12 December 2023

So, it’s that time of year when we’re clearing out the December diary to make the dash to the Christmas finish line feel just about doable.

Never mind “Deck the halls with boughs of holly” it’s more like trim the diary with vim and gusto.

I’m hearing things like:

• ‘I think that workshop will have to go into January’
• ‘Can we plan a team session / awayday for the end of Jan?’
• ‘Let’s push that agenda item to the January Board’

Now you know I’m a stickler for ruthless prioritising and being realistic about what’s possible. Especially at the end of the year when everyone’s a bit knackered and it’s been a long sprint since the summer…

But I’d also say that about January as well.

Are you assuming that January is some magic month? Where you can:

• Have that awayday
• Launch that key project or next step of the strategy
• Make all the decisions you couldn’t cope with in December
• Have time to find the next great idea

All while coping with freezing mornings on the train and sticking to 3 new life-changing habits you heard about via a podcast / article / book.

It’s enough to make you retreat back into your Christmas PJs and dig out the last of the selection box that nobody else wanted… who the hell likes the coffee creme anyway?

I’m not saying aim low. But I am saying aim somewhere exciting and realistic.

Otherwise, before you know it, you’ll be back on the hamster wheel and it’ll be the end of January before you’ve taken a breath.

Any benefit from the Christmas break, for you and your team, will have disappeared into a groaning inbox. And your ability to make decisions will be clouded by a fog of expectation.

So, think twice before you say the words – ‘we’ll do that in January’ – and ask yourself when you really need to do it by. Then plan accordingly.

Now. Doesn’t that look like a January to get excited about, not daunted by?

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