Finish the Semester Strong: 3 Tips for Higher Ed Leaders

Higher Ed Leadership Series

Thanksgiving break is over, and we’ve officially entered the home stretch of the semester. Rather than powering through until finals are over, now is a great time to pause, recalibrate, and be intentional about how you want to close out the year.

Here are 3 things you can do today to finish the year off strong:

1) Organize Your Workload

While we’re approaching year end, the semester isn’t quite over yet. And a little bit of planning up front will save you the stress of trying to tie up loose ends during the holidays. Start by listing out all the tasks or projects that you need to wrap up before the end of the semester. Mark deadlines on your calendar and block time to get each item done.

(Bonus Tip: Do this exercise for your personal life too! If you plan out your holiday shopping and other preparations, they can’t sneak up on you 😉)

Still feeling overwhelmed? Try these tips to reduce your stress heading into December.

2) Connect with Your Staff

Make sure you have end of semester 1:1s scheduled with each of your staff members. Use this time to review how the semester went, recognize them for their hard work, and ask about their goals or projects for the upcoming semester.

This is also a great opportunity to open the door for feedback and ask how you can better support them moving forward. Doing so will show that you value their opinion, and set a positive tone going into the new year.

(P.S. Don’t make it all business – be sure to ask them about their personal life, their holiday plans, and their New Year’s Resolutions!)

3) Reflect on the Semester

Set aside some time for personal reflection. What went well this semester, and why? How can you carry these positive experiences into next semester?

Then, think about what didn’t go so well. Maybe the beginning of the semester was chaotic and you didn’t prioritize making time for your team, or for yourself. Maybe you burned out because you were taking on too much of the workload, and could have delegated more. What can you do differently going into the next semester that will make it better for yourself and your department?

The end of the semester tends to be a stressful time for everyone. But a bit of planning and intention can help set yourself up for a positive, productive, and stress-free year end. Try these tips to set yourself up for success as we head into the final month of the year!

University Leadership Roadmap

Looking for additional resources to help you navigate senior leadership in higher ed? Download our free University Leadership Roadmap: 7 Steps to Jumpstart Your Leadership Journey for Women of Color in Higher Ed.

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