Reflect and Unwind Your Project
Winding down a long-term project is more than dotting the ’i’s and crossing the t’s of the completed work. The first step is to celebrate personal highlights along the journey, reconcile your lessons learned, request testimonials, and update your LinkedIn profile to reflect the engagement. Reach out to team members with your new contact information- ensuring connections with colleagues you now consider friends. Make it easy for them to find you for future opportunities. Consider sending hand-written notes to those who most impacted you and the project and express gratitude. Or one often-overlooked task is to polish up your templates and processes based on how you applied them or how the client received them during the engagement.
Working on a project can be an emotional roller coaster ranging from overwhelm to exhaustion to enthusiasm to anticipation to humility to disappointment to gratitude. You work hard to organize chaos and navigate ’others’ energy to work in lockstep towards the goal while staying one or two steps ahead of the work. So, when a project reaches the end, you may feel quite a wide range of feelings. While you’re relieved to reach your destination (or some variation of it) and comforted knowing your client is pleased – you may consider giving yourself space to be – to gather and ground yourself. You may want to write your emotions down and then burn the paper as a ceremonial closure or perhaps apply the energy of the feelings to do something extra special for yourself.
Now that you have processed logistics and emotions in winding down a project – you may notice how you feel enlivened as you integrate and apply your learnings, experience, and renewed energy to your next opportunity. Perhaps you notice how you show up with more grace and ease, and prospect conversations move fluidly. Catch yourself before slipping into old patterns. Bring the insights and lessons learned into how to navigate difficult situations differently and apply your proven tactics to move forward effortlessly. Perhaps convert accolades into personal mantras to further integrate that energy into how you work and show up for work.
Embrace the vigor of one door closing and another one opening. And as you step through that door, know that you bring more insights, depth, and tools to further your work and advance along your journey. Meanwhile, add this checklist detailing our 3-part self-care strategy to your project calendar. You will get the time and attention you need to fully absorb the personal benefits when unwinding yourself while winding down a project.
Some questions to consider: What is on your personal checklist for the wind-down period? How have you successfully implemented a self-care routine when winding down a project? What barriers keep you from doing this?
We welcome you to share additional items to consider amending to this checklist and invite you to connect with us (Erica Smigielski and Victoria Petersen) on LinkedIn. Click below to connect with Victoria Peterson or myself on LinkedIn. Remember to click here for the free checklist to reflect and unwind your project!