On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!

Posted on January 3, 2017 by Robert Ringer



The New Year signals the start of a five-month period that I like to think of as the Window-of-Opportunity Sprint. If you’re serious about accomplishing great things in 2017, you’d be wise to come out of the starting gate fast today — and keep going at full speed through at least the end of May.

If you don’t make meaningful strides toward achieving your goals from January through May, you’re going to be playing catch-up the remainder of the year. Then, once June arrives and the kids are out of school, most people go into their summer swoon. That’s when it seems as though everyone you need to talk to has left for Europe, Disneyworld, or a Caribbean cruise for two or three weeks. It can be maddening for those who choose to work year round.

Much of my experience with this problem has been in the book-publishing world. I’ve long said that if I’m reincarnated, I want to come back as a high-level publishing executive. These guys have lunch and dinner at the finest restaurants with agents, authors, and fellow publishers, and most of the tabs for their “business” lunches and dinners are picked up by their companies.

Then there are the sales conferences two to four times a year in such work-conducive environments as Las Vegas, Hawaii, Miami, and Puerto Rico. Throw in the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany and the London Book Fair in the UK and it’s a pretty great life.

But summer provides publishing bigwigs with the biggest perk of all. Beginning in early June, higher-ups at the major book-publishing houses prefer to work from their “weekend homes” in The Hamptons … between trips to Europe, of course. Even rank-and-file book-publishing personnel often head for their Westchester County and Long Island homes at noon on Friday.

If you call someone at 12:01 pm on a Friday in June, July, or August, you’re probably too late. Just forget about it until Monday. Unless, of course, the person you need to speak with decides to take another one of those long weekends that publishing executives are so addicted to — in which case he/she may not be back in the office until Tuesday or Wednesday.

Given all this, if you’re planning to do business with a publisher, particularly one located in Manhattan, you’d be wise to make certain that it happens before the temperature hits 75 degrees in New York City. Otherwise, get in line with everyone else and wait patiently for the return of The Hamptonians in the fall.

In all fairness, however, I must admit that it’s not just the publishing business that hibernates in the summer. Regardless of what industry you’re in, it’s wise to participate in the Window-of-Opportunity Sprint from the first workday in January through the end of May so you’re ahead of the game when summer arrives.

But even if you excel in the Window-of-Opportunity Sprint, don’t make the mistake of joining other labor fakers in a long summer’s nap. Instead, use the period of June through August to plant seeds for the fall. It’s a great time to strategize, plan, and create new products.

Fall is the second-best time to do business, but it’s a window of opportunity that closes much more quickly than the January through May period. It begins the day after Labor Day and comes to a gradual halt just before Thanksgiving.

Unfortunately, when most people return to work the Monday after Thanksgiving, their colons are so bloated with overdoses of mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, and pumpkin pie that they aren’t in much of a mood to make decisions.

Instead, they focus on clever methods for stalling their way to the mid-December slowdown for Christmas shopping. And once they reach that point, they can easily bluff their way through Christmas without having to do any meaningful work.

After that, of course, everything comes to a halt once again until the first workday in January, so you can forget about doing any serious business with anyone until then. It’s amazing how many people live for the slowdown periods and fail to take advantage of the January-through-May and Labor Day-to-Thanksgiving windows of opportunity.

It’s worth repeating: If you’re serious about accomplishing great things in 2017, you’d be wise to come out of the starting gate fast early in January. Then, other than a slight pause for Easter, maintain your forward progress at a relentless pace and be prepared to turn on the afterburners around the first of May. I’ve been operating this way for years, and I can tell you from firsthand experience that it pays huge dividends.

Enough said. Now it’s time to get down in the starting blocks and get ready for the five-month sprint ahead. On your mark … get set … go!

Robert Ringer

Robert Ringer is an American icon whose unique insights into life have helped millions of readers worldwide. He is also the author of two New York Times #1 bestselling books, both of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time.

27 responses to “On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!”

  1. Thanks for your judicious advice about goals

  2. Matt says:

    Hey Robert- do you have any job-hunting advice for a recent college grad (BS in Economics and BS in Finance)?

  3. Jurgy says:

    "I’ve long said that if I’m reincarnated, I don’t want to come back as a Jewish housewife." … oh, I didn't know you are a Jewish housewife, you don't look like a Jewish housewife, you don't write like a Jewish housewife … but I have been wrong (and surprised) in the past when I made generalizations about various ethnicities, so please forgive my ignorance …

  4. theczech says:

    Thank you for the encouragement. I am cautiously optimistic about 2017. My slogan this year is "make my family, business and me great again!"

  5. Here's something my daughter says has made her so efficient: http://www.popsci.com/bullet-journal-guide

  6. larajf says:

    I wrote down my big goals for 2017 and then broke them up into months and am working on weekly goals. They're achievable…and definitely a stretch so I'm excited.

  7. Scott McKinney says:

    I don't know what to do though, if Robert reads this or some of his fans do, can you advise on what someone who wants to help other people grow and prosper should do? It is a vague question without any background from the questioner but I still don't know exactly what to do, I have a lot of free time but not sure what to do with it ~

    • Jean says:

      What are you good at doing? What skill(s) do you take for granted? Those are the very things that you are gifted with and that others are not – many times to their dismay. Think about any way in which you could "package" your knowledge and skill and market it (or give it away if you prefer) to those who may appreciate learning something new. For instance, long ago I found a VHS series on 'how to clean house' at the library. Now, you'd think that cleaning is so mundane that this wouldn't be useful, but the lessons helped me shave hours off my housekeeping chores and my house looked better as well. With the ubiquity of podcasts, YouTube and other digital media, your options for marketing your expertise are virtually limitless.

  8. Sheila says:

    "I’ve long said that if I’m reincarnated, I don’t want to come back as a Jewish housewife." What exactly does that mean? What is your problem with Jewish housewives? I'm very curious as to what is behind that characterization and stereotype you've presented here. I've been reading your columns for years, but I've never read anything like that comment. It's a disgraceful comment.

    • Robert Ringer RJR says:

      It's called "a joke," and it's been around for decades. I'd apologize, but I honestly don't know what the problem with it is. My mother was a Jewish housewife, and I remember her laughing at it.

      In any event, political correctness is something I can't relate to.

    • Jay says:

      Being offended is just an excuse to abuse others. And it is the true crime. Jesus Christ was nailed to a wooden cross because he offended people. Your comment is abusive, abusive and abusive.

  9. Sheila says:

    P.S. on that: The entire anti-Jewiah woman comment was unnecessary, and your article actually reads very well without it. Hope you shed some light on what otherwise would have been a good article. Do you have a problem with Jewish women? And yes, I'm Jewish, and a housewife, and I do have a small business. But my primarily role is "housewife." There is nothing wrong with being a housewife, as you put it. I am offended by your remark.

    • Guido says:

      Sheila, you're right. Robert's post does read very well without the "Jewish housewife" comment. In fact, it read that same way when he first published this post…on New Year's Eve 2013.

      Perhaps you could ask him why he chose to add this "joke" to his post more than 3 years later.

      • Paul Herring says:

        This is a re-run and Robert says so, Guido. This is the third time since I've been getting Robert's posts that you've taken him to task about re-runs. Why is this such a problem for you? If you don't like reading them then why bother doing so? Why not simply opt out and let other readers reflect on his posts without your negative remarks?

  10. Robert Ringer RJR says:

    Again, sorry if I offended you, but I didn't mean to. I would have made a lousy Don Rickles.

  11. Rick D'Amico says:

    You wrote a similar essay a few years ago and I have observed it, laughed a lot about it and abided by it every since. So true.

  12. Paul Anthony says:

    It has been my experience that the only productive time to reach out to business people is between Tuesdays and Thursdays. Too many leave early on Friday to start their favorite form of binging and waste Mondays recovering.

  13. Serge says:

    Great article depending on the kind of goals. When real estate investors slow down in Oct, Nov and Dec. I will run circles around them earning profits. If you are too drunk during the Holiday season and not showing up, I will be there with my best job interview or performance. Don't follow up and I will gladly steal your customers. I love easy competition during this time. Then again, Summer and the Holidays are also a great time for family goals, and personal goals.

  14. Rock Roach says:

    Kind of fits my philosophy.I have always believed the first five months of the year are the best time of the year to
    work,make money,get yourself back in shape if you need to,etc. simply because it is the worst time to vacation.
    Who in the heck wants to go anywhere when its zero degrees in half the USA?Heck even baseball pitchers in the north are wearing long sleaves at the end of April.
    Personally if I have to pay a little extra in taxes (which will be done in late March),I would not want to take a vacation until IRS man has collected his (Fair) share.

  15. Guido says:

    Funny Tortoise! Thank you for the added introduction to your post. See, truth-in-posting isn't so bad.

  16. Jose Jackson says:

    The New-year upon us and I got some loser that was hanging around to take a hike and no longer see that clown 9 to 5. Seems she had some creepers eavesdrop on me for most of the last year and they were rather smug about it. Of course the piece crap and her clique friends are still pissed about even today. Such lowlifes. They even try to bully me to shut up about making any sort of commentary such chumps these people are. I guess they forgot we live in USA freedom of artistic expression.

  17. Jose Jackson says:

    I won't say what choice words I described of her and her wussy and assorted dumb butt idiot friends and other ilk behind such nonsense. However, I am a huge hit in the area I live at. The loser that left is working on her duh gree at the local university, I guess in Chumpology 101.

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