Utilizing the 13th Month

Before you send the little men in white coats to take me away, let me give an explanation of what the “13th Month” means.  December is really more than just one month.  While the calendars show it as one, cohesive month, I assert, as do many others, that this month is really at least two months, if not three months.  Let me explain further.

The first part of December is the period of time between December 1 and December 18 or so.  During this time most business goes on as usual.  Some begin to take the foot off of the pedal during this time, but I see most business proceeding as usual.  From the 18th through the 25th there is a real dip in business activity.  Some hard cores do work right up through Christmas eve, but many start to wind down no later than the 22nd or 23rd.  The last period is from December 26 through December 31.  This is sort of the “wild card” period when you never know what to expect.  Some people are fully back in the saddle while others have packed it in until January.  For the purposes of this post we will consider the 13th Month as the period from December 18 through January 1.

Going to visit people in person during the 13th month can be a disappointment or an unexpected surprise.  Most have wound down in their office routine and their schedules are typically less frantic during this period.  I would never show up without an appointment (almost never), but if you do call ahead don’t do so more than a day in advance.  Striking while the iron is hot and using convene ice as a reason for visitation is always a good method to get by to see someone you might never get to see during the first 12 months.

While using this strategy I would not overplay my cards.  Trying to visit with someone who is way outside your reach will not work any better in the 13th month than it will during the preceding 12.  Think about 2 or 3 people you strive to meet with, but who never have the time doing other parts of the year.  Give them that call a day in advance to see if you might drop by and say hello.  Having a small gift (bottle of wine) would be a nice touch to add to the visit.

The 13th month is a good way to  make a contact with someone you always wanted to visit with, but it can also be a good time to reflect and recharge your own batteries.  Most of us have to work pretty hard during months 1 through 12, so month 13 can be a good time to take a break and draw a few deep breaths.  I have been a proponent of interval work and interval training from the days I read the book “Power of Full Engagement”.  Working hard all of the time leads to burnout.  You need to pace yourself and use the 13th month to recharge, rebuild and refocus.

The 13th month is a great time to get things done, including doing nothing at all.  Take some time this week to plan out your 13th month.  you’ll be glad you did.