In academia, the year is clearly dictated by what needs to happen for students: teaching, exams, grading. Although for most grad students and postdocs the most noticeable thing is how busy it is in the lab (depending on whether you're in Europe, where in vacations it's peacefully quiet in the lab while in the US there might be summer students joining the lab.
Before joining a company, I hadn't realized how different the yearly cycle is here. This was my first whole year here and this is what I learned: Here, in the beginning of the year people set objectives/targets/goals/
In reality, all sorts of ad hoc tasks and things that have not been defined as targets come up during the year. Obviously progress is monitored during the whole year, but I discovered this year that I find it hard to say no to things that seem fun to do or useful for me or the company (or both - best case scenario), like new experiments, new collaborations, guest lectures and what not. However those things distract from finishing your actual targets, which in reality means that the next couple weeks will be filled with finishing things before the end of the year in order to meet all the expectations. So if you're wondering why things are quiet around here, it's because I need to type all the things before Christmas!
What is the busiest time of the year for you?