Why do we do this when it makes no sense???

Yes, it’s THAT time of year again. As the whirlwind of Xmas drinks, lunches and office Kris Kringles hits high gear, there’s one steadfast, workplace tradition that totally baffles me.

Everyone is tired, stressed and overworked. And yet this tradition stacks on even more pressure and fatigue. It’s as if managers and leaders everywhere have lost all perspective and no one questions why we perpetuate this largely unnecessary ritual.  

So, what is it that has me shaking my head and scratching my chin every December? It's the

Arbitrary End Of Year Deadline!

Seriously, this one always has me stumped.

It’s like we couldn’t have predicted that once again, Christmas has arrived – as if we didn’t see it coming!

Have you ever noticed how the pace and pressure of work in December cranks up to levels that are rarely seen at other times of the year?  It’s as if everything that hasn’t yet been completed MUST be finished and tied up in a neat bow before the end of the year.

There appears to be an underlying fear that if ‘it’ isn’t completed by Christmas, it will NEVER get done! Instigating the End of Year Deadline is like turning a bunsen burner from yellow to blue and then white, creating a feverish level of activity that is often unnecessary.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for a deadline on any piece of work because it can create the urgency needed to mobilise your team to action. Deadlines are also great for doing only what’s necessary and reducing the need for endless meetings and circuitous conversations that often grind work to a halt.

If your organisation’s end of financial year aligns with the calendar year, I get it. However, that is also completely predictable and plannable and shouldn’t result in a mad dash to 31st December to get things finished.

I also understand the sense of satisfaction that comes with completing everything on your ‘To Do’ list and emptying your Inbox before heading off for a well-earned break.

My problem comes with the End of Year Deadline being arbitrary – ie when there’s no other reason for the work to be completed other than ‘It has to be done before Christmas’.


The work will still be here when everyone returns from a well-earned break. In fact, actions are completed more thoroughly and to a much higher standard by people who are well-rested and re-energised later in January.

Decisions that are held over will be more considered. The risk of rushed work mistakes will be fewer and the positive impact of the work’s outcomes will be far greater.

Let's Restore Festive Season Workplace Wellbeing

Thankfully there is a simple way for leaders and their teams to break with this nonsensical tradition and all it takes is asking and answering 3 simple questions.

As a team, review all current work deadlines due in December.  Ask:

  • Why must this be finished before Christmas and what’s driving the deadline?
  • Will finishing this before Christmas result in a better outcome for those the work is supposed to benefit?
  • What’s the worst and best thing that could happen if we finish this next month?

If the End of Year Deadline has been imposed from ‘above’, these questions are helpful for prompting senior leaders to press pause and reconsider.

Wellbeing has been a hot topic in many workplaces this year and if removing your foot from the accelerator takes even a little pressure off your team this week, isn’t that a good thing?

Key Take Away

It only takes a minute to challenge December Deadlines. Even if you only remove one or two, your team will be grateful.

While Santa and his team are working hard to meet their legitimate end of year deadline, the P2R team will be taking a mini break from 22 - 27 December. Firing on all cylinders, we'll be ready and keen to help you and your team fulfill your potential in 2024!

Wishing you and your teams a relaxing and peaceful holiday season.

Carpe diem

Looking for help to strengthen your leadership and team next year?

Let's see how I may be able to help

About Caroline

Caroline Cameron is an award winning, master certified executive, career and business team coach, workshop facilitator and speaker. Caroline is on a mission to help mid-career professionals and evolving organisations harness the power of change to achieve success in business, work and life.

Read More About Caroline

So... how can I help you?

Click below to book a complimentary call and

let's see what's possible...