Here’s my framework for this time of year

Here’s my framework for this time of year


Every holiday season I leverage a framework to help me stay productive. Here's how it works.

In most professional settings, productivity dies off during the holidays. People take vacations and start thinking about plan for next year. So, it’s natural to stop focusing on being productive throughout the rest of December.

That isn’t the case for me. In fact, I love this time of year because now is when I tend to get the most done.

All thanks to a framework that I put in place a few years ago.

What happened a few years ago that lead me to this framework?

About four years ago I was close to as burnt out as I have ever been. I wasn’t feeling fulfilled in my job and my personal business was busier than ever. You would like the latter would be a good thing. But, it wasn’t. I wasn’t doing work there that was also unfulfilling and was working with clients that I didn’t enjoy. Worst of all, I was feeling that way during the holidays, which lead to a not so jolly time.

One morning, sitting by our Christmas tree with a cup of coffee and my journal, I decided I had had enough. So, I wrote out the framework I’m about to share with you.

My framework

  • From November 15th to January 15th I put myself on a “hustle sabbatical.” That means I don’t take on any new opportunities. I even push hard to complete any projects ahead of the break. By the way, I do the same thing from June 15th to August 15th. This may sound like a lot to you. I get it. It’s four months out of the year where I am not producing revenue. If I were full-time in my business I might have to alter my sabbatical plans. Still, its a good goal to aim for. As my businesses continue to grow can I structure them in a way that allows me to continue this practice and trust that my team will keep things running? That’s the goal.
  • I don’t take time off leading up to Christmas. Since a lot of other people at my day job do I can use that time to get focused work done.
  • Travel for my business, other than local, isn’t allowed. Why? Because I don’t want to spend the holidays sick. I know that sounds a bit extreme. But it works for me, because all of my family is local.
  • Everything is budgeted for so that spending money doesn’t become stressful. I already know how much we will be spending on multiple birthdays in the family, Christmas, etc. This includes business expenses…
  • I spend time reviewing the performance of my businesses. If I am sitting on a lot of profit I will look for legitimate expenses to take on to help reduce my tax burden. This includes prepaying for next year’s expenses when possible. For example, both my desktop and laptop are pretty old. I’ll be buying a new laptop that will replace both of them and possible even a camera for recording videos and new courses.
  • This is probably the biggest piece of the framework. I eliminate any products or services in my businesses that 1) aren’t profitable; 2) aren’t scalable; 3) if I don’t enjoy them and can’t outsource them.
  • I complete a contact audit. Meaning, I review all the business contacts I have connected with in the past year and determine if I want to grow that relationship or let it go. My general rule is that a relationship needs to give me energy rather than take it out of me.

The benefits of a framework

Here’s the kicker. That framework has evolved from one that I use during the holidays to one that I use practically everyday. In the real world you can’t be completely black and white about things. In life there is always run for a little bit of gray. One of my mantras is even, “The truth usually lies somewhere in the middle.”

But, a strong framework can act as guardrails that help keep you aligned. It’s that alignment that is so important, and what so many people miss on.

Remember when I mentioned I was feeling unfulfilled? What was causing that? A misalignment between my goals and how I was leading my life. In that case, the work I was doing wasn’t aligned with what I wanted for myself professionally.

That is usually the case, that when your goals are misaligned, with what you really want deep down, is when you will find yourself stressed and unhappy. That nagging feeling you are experiencing deep down is most likely something trying to tell you that things are off. That you are misaligned.

By instituting a framework you give yourself a better chance of staying aligned. Just make sure you revisit that framework regularly. If it isn’t servicing you well then it’s time to start over.

To wrap this up, I want to make one thing clear. You shouldn’t wait for the end-of-the-year or as part of a New Year’s resolution to put a framework in place. I’m constantly revisiting and tweaking my framework throughout the year.

But, for me, there is something magical about this time of year that allows me to really put in an extra layer of deep work around designing my life.

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