How to blast past your competition over the holidays

This is a bit more of a worky-work post today, but it’s also geared toward fun. Let’s see what’s possible, eh? :)

Some of your colleagues or competition may have started to ease up on the productive “pedal” right around Thanksgiving, with the idea of coasting through the holidays all the way through January second. While there is nothing wrong with celebrating, if you have one iota of ambition in your cells, you’ll wish to capitalize on everyone else’s ease and propel yourself past them.

There are a number of actions and steps you can take to maximize your time at work while still leaving plenty of time for egg nog or spending time with friends and family. These are five suggestions for making the most of your efforts.

1. Project the first quarter, based on history and current projects’ trajectory. Spend just a few minutes a day (or a solid afternoon) reviewing company information, competitor’s trending data and your respective industry’s future capacity. If you have a solid relationship with your boss, you may wish to see if (s)he would find anything you generate of interest. Keep in mind, projections are just that: educated guesses. However, taking a moment to visualize possibilities puts you in a strong frame of mind to act on what occurs.

2. Go through your files and purge the inessential. Admittedly, this is not thrilling work. Crank up some RATM or Souza and blast through the detritus (digital and otherwise) that is clogging your workflow. Be brutally honest here. Ditch the junk; keep the treasure. If you really have a difficult time pitching something, create three boxes labeled: Keep, Pitch and Possible. You may find a piece of dormant business while you clear your decks.

3. Prioritize the “Keep” pile. Once you’ve narrowed down the actionable business, put it in a tickler file or other type of system that will remind you that it needs doing. Evernote, alerts, Outlook calendar… whatever. The KEY is to sift and LABEL as you go while it’s fresh in your mind. That way, when the “ping” comes up on February 17th, you’ll have all of the actionable information right in front of you (ie. Call John about the Tasty Wheats contract. Mention Neo and how everything tastes like Tasty Wheats. They want to order 75 gross for the Nebuchadnezzar).

4. Read. During the course of 2012, you probably had at least four books per month that you wanted to read for work or pleasure. Add to this any industry-related reading and you probably could stock a small library with the stuff you would benefit from knowing. Mark off at least an hour a day to catch up on reading that will help you remain competitive as the new year rolls around. Keep in mind that “reading” also means audiobooks (iTunes etc.) that you can listen to during a commute, on the train or while on the treadmill.

5. Network. Go through your Rolodex and find someone you would like to grow with/mentor or learn from in 2013. It could be a superior; it could be a peer. Perhaps it’s someone within your company; perhaps it’s someone you met at a conference. Reach out to at least three people and send off a HANDWRITTEN snail mail piece of correspondence that says a few key things:

• Where you met or your common connection
• Why you are reaching out (“I admire your knowledge of Tasty Wheats.”)
• What you bring to the relationship (“My graduate thesis was about the derivation of the Tasty Wheats from cellulose fibers from urban gardens.”)
• An offer to meet or collaborate in 2013
• Thanks and closing

You’ll find that with very little effort, you can zip by your coasting colleagues or competition (who will be essentially moving in reverse in comparison to you). Keep it simple; follow through and enjoy the holidays. You deserve it.


Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people, she fused these two traits in order to establish Women With Drive Foundation. Based upon its founder’s personal history, Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Cantrell-Kraig may effect change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity, she, through Women With Drive Foundation, seeks to empower women to help them help themselves. Through this action, the individual applicant benefits, as does society as a whole. Follow Molly on twitter as @mckra1g or @WWDr1ve (Women With Drive Foundation) or “Like” them on facebook.


  1. says

    All great reminders.
    Also, consider to take the personal time to introspect/reflect in whatever way that might work best for you, express your gratitude and
    work on your 2013 Learning Plan. What do you need to learn to serve yourself and others better.

  2. says

    What great steps for even this stay at home mama (and sometimes motivational speaker) to take! Thanks for firing me up about reading intelligent books to keep my brain sharp and networking for a mentor/mentee relationship. I will go back to work full time some time after all!

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