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One of the things I’ve noticed about myself over my almost fourteen years in business is that I’m gradually getting better and better at being a business owner.

One of the ways I recognize that is that I’ve become much more skilled at completions.

As entrepreneurs, we tend to get really excited about new – new ideas, new colleagues, new projects!

We want to throw ourselves into new! new! new! and not always consider about what we have ongoing.

What I’ve seen over time is that when I complete a year with a focus on grace, I’m much better able to welcome the new year.

So, what does completing a year with grace actually mean? I am sure it is different for everyone.

And here’s how I do it:

First, I try to complete my client calls and responsibilities at least two or three days before I’m leaving my business for the year.

This means that I have all my client meetings, return phone calls, answer emails, and schedule any appointments that need to get on the calendar. I also make sure my clients know when I will be unavailable and how they might get in touch with me if they need me for anything. (This usually doesn’t happen, I think it must be a holdover from my career stint as a practicing psychologist.)

So once my client work is completed, I then take a couple of hours and review my business billing, collections, and any financial issues- this would include tax planning, estimated tax payments, and the like. I double-check my budgeting for taxes and funding of my retirement plan. I also set a target date for when I want us to file taxes in the new year.

Then, after that, I go ahead and do some physical straightening and organization of my work space. I like to come back to a clean desk.

After that, I will often clean out my email inbox, clean off my desktop (as I’m famous for hundreds of files saved to my desktop). Once that’s done, I’ll take a look at the first two weeks of the new year and look at anything that is due that I need to be aware of.

All that usually takes about a day or so. On my final day in the office, I will spend some time thinking about my plans for the first quarter of the new year. I know that things can- and often do- change rapidly for me, so quarterly planning seems to work best.

Then, finally, I usually wrap up early the day before the holiday and use that time to run a few errands and start making the downshift into vacation time.

That’s what it looks like for me to complete my year with grace. Your plan and process might be different, but I hope you will join me in finding a personally meaningful way to end this year- and to thank it for everything. In that way, you’ll be ready to welcome in a new year- and all the freshness it brings.

Graceful endings make for fresh beginnings.