I hope you have had the moment to rest, relax, enjoy and recharge your batteries, as the fall season is always a wonderful time to innovate and create.
In this post, I would like to plant some seeds around how to launch yourself successfully into this fall, with maximum effectiveness and minimum stress.
Let’s start by being honest…
The end of summer and vacation time is daunting for many. Whether or not you have had the chance to get away, summertime usually represents a more easy-going, festive season where even the most hard working may find themselves feeling “less serious”. Not to mention, that this period often coincides with a loss of motivation and as result, productivity, driven by the body’s natural calling to slow down and recover from the demands of the first six months of the year.
So we let ourselves disconnect only to come to September intimidated by the myriad of personal and professional demands and preparations for the year’s last trimester.
But it’s ok. And it will be ok. Moreso, it can be triumphant. Here’s how…
Many of you are already well into the seasonal transition, but if you’re still daunted and struggling to mobilize, try not to “create a story” around how hard or complicated or tiring it is. It may be challenging but many things may surprise you and go easier than you think. The others, once you are there, you will assume and manage as you go along. But if you build up a story of anticipated anxiety around what it could, should, or may be like, you will only stress yourself more and in bracing against the challenges you anticipate, may worsen or even create them. Just remember: some things will go well, others will be harder, but whatever comes, you are prepared to handle it and you will. Then celebrate your triumph afterwards!
The one advantage of your current state of mind is that you are now more objective and energized than before. Your time away and even small momentary diversions and relaxations have afforded you a cleaner perspective on where you are, what you want, and how to get there. Even if you never actually thought about it. Take advantage of that before you get caught up in the trenches again. It can greatly help you avoid your usual stresses and pitfalls and set you up in a more effective and efficient manner.
Strategize…and prioritize…yet again…
Your newfound objectivity – again it’s there, even if you’re not aware of it – gives you the perfect vantage point to review the key areas of your personal and professional life and revise your approach to each one. Give them some thought and whenever possible, write down your ideas to better clarify and deepen your ideas. Here are some questions to help you along:
- What is most important right now? What is truly your priority, whether you like it or not, and depends largely on you?
- What is the most important use of your time, personally and professionally? Many things take up time, but don’t actually yield results or benefits. Look to where YOU can make the most important, positive, and powerful impact and orient yourself accordingly.
- What do you want to adjust, clean up, or simply get rid of? As the previous, some things may be important, but can be delegated. Others are a habit but no longer relevant. Be strict!
- What difficulties might you be perpetuating by holding on to a story of how they are necessary, unchangeable, or someone else’s fault? It may be hard to see or accept but in many of our difficulties, we hold at least some responsibility – even just in choosing to keep accepting them and not insisting on finding solutions. It is not about blame, just making your life easier.
- Where do you want to be by year-end? Take away “where you should be” and center on “where you want to be” by the end of 2012 and you will identify only the most important things that will guide your focus for the rest of the year.
- What do you want to start next year? If you can clarify and visualize what you want for next year, it can greatly help you organize your priorities for the last months to come.
Organize and put it down on paper…
Once you have clarified your true personal and professional priorities, and the key factors and challenges for each, you can begin to structure your action plan. The achievement of objectives is not rocket science, just a question of designing and following organization techniques that truly complement your style of working. This, and finding incentives to keep you on track while giving yourself the necessary breaks to maintain your focus and productivity. Here are some helpful tools:
- Notebook – have one place that you carry with you always, to write down everything and anything that comes up. This can include ideas, shopping lists, journal entries, business notes, etc. Some prefer to have separate books for different categories but the key then is to remember to switch them out. The most important thing is to write things down because this has been proven to greatly help with organization, clearing the mind, and reducing every day stress.
- To-Do Lists – organize them in whatever way makes sense to you (by category, timeframe, etc.) and sometimes they may overlap if it helps you monitor the big picture (i.e. a monthly list) and then ensure completion (weekly lists) and thoroughness (detailed lists by category or project) during a shorter timeframe.
- Calendars – they can be hard copy, on your computer, on your phone, posted on your wall, color coded, whatever helps you track your daily responsibilities and the overall timeline of your objectives. Just make sure they are easily synchronized to minimize repetitive work (most handhelds sync with a computer which can later be printed) and don’t hesitate to post any and all accomplishments, even “hopeful” deadlines for your own projects.
As we already know, we are not the only ones going through this adjustment. But we are also all considering what is important and who we need and want to be a part of that. So reach out, directly, openly, to both your personal and professional contacts. Make official and informal appointments to check-in, review objectives, share updates and openly explore ways to help each other. Take advantage positively of each other’s refreshed perspectives and newfound opportunities ~ you never know what will come up. There need not be an objective – even a simple coffee or lunch can do wonders, perhaps even moreso than structured meetings with a prescribed agenda. Remember that connecting is how great things happen, and better yet when it’s authentic and natural.
Treat yourself and enjoy…
Summer and vacation time may be over, but enjoying your life is always a right and even a priority. Just because you have to go back to work, family obligations and certain adjustments does not mean forgetting to take good care of yourself, making time for stillness, your loved ones, and your joys, and enjoying the simple gifts we are given every day. Try not to rush when you don’t have to. Find time for a simple coffee or meal by yourself or with others, daily. Plan your weekends and days/moments off with as much enthusiasm and hope as ever.
We have one life to live, so we might as well do it well.
To your success!
And stay tuned for our upcoming products and workshops!