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It’s the week before Halloween, and goblins and gargoyles aren’t what’s making me shake in my boots. What’s spookier than Halloween haunts? I’ll tell you: Q4 is down to just two months, meaning there are only two more months to get focused on finalizing goals and crossing the year-end finish line. Now that’s scary stuff.


Here are a few ways to combat the end of the Q4 scaries and ensure you’re on your way to closing your year out strong, rather than getting spooked along the way.


Enlist help

It can be scary to ask for help but doing so can be one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself in this season. What do you need to get to the finish line, and who can help you get there? Who can you collaborate with that will enable you and your team to finish the year strong? Now is a great time to reach across departmental lines, especially if cross-pollination has stagnated. Lead with the behavior you want to see across your teams. Channel your inner spider: work your web across as many functions and departments as you can to find the help you need. Cling to your shared goals and hold each other up.


Eliminate it

What’s that pesky to-do item that has gone days…or weeks…or months…without being checked off your list? We all have things that we want to accomplish but that often get overshadowed by other priorities. Once you’ve identified it, ask yourself the hard question: Is this still relevant? Is this still worth my time and investment and brain power? Maybe it’s not. If that’s the case, it might be time to kill it—strike it from your to do list or offload it to someone with the capacity or expertise to see it through. Or give it a tombstone. Lay it to rest. You’ll sleep easier for it.


Channel your inner vampire

Dracula knew what many other successful leaders do: If you want to get something done, do it before the sun comes up. Vampires do much of their work in the dark, and we would be wise to do the same.


Find one morning each week where you can give all your focus to your top priority before the day begins. Get yourself out of bed as early as you can, wrap your fingers around a warm mug of pumpkin spice coffee, and dig into your most important agenda item while your brain is fresh. Identify your critical piece of work and prioritize it above all else—before the light of day and before the light of your phone screen hits your face.


By enlisting the help you need, eliminating unnecessary to-dos, and addressing top priorities before sunrise, you’ll be well on your way to vanquishing the ghosts that haunt Q4.

Author Doreen Linneman

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