Daily Briefing

Preparing for EOY work requests


As the end of the year nears, many employees are overwhelmed with urgent, last-minute work requests, such as budget updates, expense reporting, salary and bonus discussions, and more. Writing for the Harvard Business Review, Darcy Eikenberg, an executive coach and leadership speaker, offers five tips to help workers mitigate these tasks before the holidays.

1. Be proactive

If you've experienced recurring end-of-year (EOY) requests in the past, proactively initiate conversations with your leaders about those impending tasks.

For example, you could ask, "For the past three years I've been here, we've needed to provide a sales update and next-year projections by the end of November. I haven't received that request formally yet; is it still on the plan for this year?"

Anticipating and asking about these potential upcoming requests "isn't being nosy; it's being helpful," Eikenberg writes.

2. Honor your PTO

Honoring PTO can feel like a challenge when urgent EOY requests pop up. To avoid giving up hard-earned vacation days, communicate your plans with colleagues in advance. Communicating and committing to your PTO helps others plan ahead and serves as a model to others in the office.

3. Ask questions

Employees tasked with a request sometimes jump into action without first clarifying exactly what is needed. Sometimes, requests are simpler and less stressful than they initially seem once the scope of the request is understood.

"When you get a last-minute request, don’t hesitate to ask more questions to understand the problem your leaders want you to solve — and their reasons why it needs to be done now," Eikenberg writes.

4. Prepare for the unexpected and reprioritize

To prepare for unplanned, last-minute requests, create space on your calendar for what may pop up.

And if needed, ask yourself, "What work am I spending time on that's no longer useful or relevant as the end of the year draws closer? What meetings are better rescheduled for January to hit reset and take advantage of full attendance and fresh energy?"

According to Eikenberg, you don't want to make a habit of rescheduling commitments, but the EOY rush can justify some reprioritization.

5. Think ahead to next year

To prevent EOY stress next year, add a reminder to your calendar for September 2024 to start a conversation with leaders about EOY tasks.

"The end of the year can be stressful enough without extra pressure that comes from last-minute requests due before New Year's Eve," Eikenberg writes. "With the right mindset and tools, you can not only survive but thrive in the face of the December deadline deluge." (Eikenberg, Harvard Business Review, 11/20)


The manager's toolbox: Make next week’s workload manageable

To-do lists are good for making sure you don't forget things but bad for helping you prioritize and plan your time. With all the things on managers' plates, most to-do lists just keep growing, until lost or tossed in frustration. Use this tool to make your workload manageable and focused. 


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