What’s your fourth quarter strategy?

This has been quite the year. It is almost three-quarters done, which means there is one quarter left to go. Lots of organizations do annual reviews, and one of the inevitable side effects of doing annual reviews in November or December is that events that happen in the fourth quarter loom larger in people’s narratives than those that happen earlier in the year.

It’s sort of silly, but it’s also an opportunity. By focusing on a few doable goals in these last few months, it’s possible to end the year with a sense of progress. This is true professionally and personally. Survival is good (I hope to sleep through the night at least a few times by December 31…) but maybe there’s space for a little bit more.

For instance, if you’re capable of running 5-6 miles, in 90 days, you could run a (virtual) half-marathon by slowly scaling up your long run by 0.5-1 mile each week.

If you are reasonably handy in the kitchen, in 90 days you could master three new recipes — enough to bust a current dinner rut. (We are still enjoying our meal kits two nights a week. I have eaten a lot more cabbage and sambal oelek than I otherwise would have!)

You could participate in NaNoWriMo and write a 50,000 word novel draft in November. Maybe that novel will get written during quarantine! You could use the same amount of time to write a non-fiction book proposal too.

In 90 days, you could turn an acquaintance into a real friend through Shasta Nelson’s 3-step process of consistency, vulnerability, and positivity.

If you are thinking of going back to school, you might be able to apply and even start online classes in the next 90 days. (Or at least start in January.)

By consistently reaching out to former clients and brainstorming new ideas for current ones, you could end the year with a full pipeline of business.

By spending a few focused hours a week thinking about those big picture questions, you could come up with a brilliant new pivot, taking your career in a new direction.

You could get one big nagging project done: repainting the bathroom, organizing the guest/craft/storage/office room, drawing up a will. I finally established myself as a business entity recently (with my shiny new EIN) and got a business checking account and such. It felt good to stop kicking this forward and get it off my list.

Ninety days isn’t an eternity, but it’s not nothing either. It’s enough to do something substantial if the something is chosen well. In any case, I’m spending the next week or so hashing out my fourth quarter strategy, and seeing what I feel capable of taking on. If you’ve got exciting plans for the fourth quarter, let me know!

Photo: Taken last year on an early morning run, but we’re getting there again…

12 thoughts on “What’s your fourth quarter strategy?

  1. I’ll have our 2nd baby boy in early December so that is my exciting 4th quarter plan! I’ll work right up until my C-section, hopefully, so the other goal for Q4 is getting everything handed off to my colleagues. I feel like I mention my upcoming maternity leave multiple times/week but there’s a big project I’m involved in and I’m pushing to have it done by November so I don’t have to drop that on someone else’s lap. And then I’ll be out for 20 weeks. Woo hoo! I also want to start making some freezer meals. Between covid and this being our 2nd baby, we won’t allow visitors besides close family and friends and I don’t think people will bring us food like last time. I do pretty much all the cooking in our house so I want to make it as easy as possible to get dinner on the table after the baby arrives – at least for the first couple of weeks.

  2. I have a research project I’ve been meaning to do for months that I am going to make my main fourth quarter goal. It’s one of those important-but-not-urgent things that seems to always get pushed off until I have extra time, but I need to just plan it into my week to start working on it. I will also be taking Step 1 of my board exams at the end of the first quarter of 2021, so preparing for that will be a big fourth quarter 2020 priority as well.

  3. Lisa stole my story ;-), but we’ll be having baby #4, our first girl!!! This in early December. Trying to plan Christmas for the 3 brothers, leave work gracefully (also working til the schedule C) and hope to enjoy the holidays. And that Elf!!! Still need our handyman to finish the nursery. A few things to get done but very excited (and thankful) for this 4th quarter.
    Hoping to finish a Ken Follet trilogy during this leave. Need something other than Facebook to visit during the late hours and few quiet moments. Also, I always read a good business leadership book right before I go back to get my work-mind back into gear.

    1. I read all the Anne of Green Gables books during my first maternity leave, mostly on my phone in the middle of the night, cuddling a nursing baby. I’d never read them when young and now the memory of those books and that time fills me with warm fuzzy feelings (I’ve conveniently forgotten that I was doing this instead of sleeping, ha!) It was so nice to accomplish something that I’d meant to do for many years! The Ken Follet trilogy will be a great goal! I really enjoyed the first one (read it with bookclub) but have been intimidated to read the rest!

      1. Thanks Kristin. I love that look-back feeling you described. Marrying 2 things, nursing with the book-reading. Makes it more memorable ❤️

  4. I can’t believe we’re coming up on Q4 already. This year has been such a blur. My plans are to finish a digital scrapbook for last year’s China trip (what a great time to catch up on my travel scrapbooking with no other trips piling up!) and get our living room “finished” as far as home decor, hanging up pictures, etc. I had a long list of other items but i’m thinking those aren’t going to happen and maybe focusing on these two to completion is a better plan 😀

  5. My main goal is to devote as much time and money as I can to seeing Biden-Harris elected in November. Any personal goals pale in comparison for me given what’s at stake.

    1. Agree with you. I’ve committed to phonebanking once a week leading up to the election and donating money in regular intervals to swing Senate races. I don’t want to look back at this time and tell my children that I didn’t do everything in my power to stop Trump’s reelection.

  6. Thanks Kristin. I love that look-back feeling you described. Marrying 2 things, nursing with the book-reading. Makes it more memorable ❤️

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