After the distractions and downtime of the summer months, September offers a chance to reset and refocus. There is a ‘back to school’ feeling as we settle into our work routines. It can feel like a mini–New Year and we often vow to make changes or try new things. It doesn’t take long for business and work life to ramp back up and before we know it, we are back on that busy, busy treadmill. Our relaxed ‘summer vibe’ is soon eroded. Stress can kick in as we consider all the things we need to get done. In this article, we discuss the importance of a September Reset to help stay calm and be productive.
Here are some tips on how to do that.
Tip 1: Reset your Mind
Firstly, it is important to reset your mind. By this I mean, taking stock, reviewing the year to date and then making some decisions or changes before proceeding into the busy months ahead.
Here are a few questions to get you started:
- Have you made progress with your 2022 goals and resolutions?
- What is going well that you should continue to do?
- What has stopped you from making progress?
Also, assess your mindset and energy levels. Do you feel motivated and energised for the busy months ahead or do you feel exhausted? What is this telling you? Maybe you need to achieve a better work-life balance or find a more productive routine.
Consider September as a clean slate. Don’t dwell on the things you haven’t done. Use any frustration you feel as a motivator to reboot and be productive in the coming months.
Introducing something new can help your motivation. Perhaps a new layout in your office or new stationery for your desk. Maybe a new course or simply a new weekly work routine.
Tip 2: Reset your Goals
Next review the goals you set at the start of 2022. Have new ones emerged since? Can others be removed as they are no longer relevant?
To help prioritise, project forward to the end of the year and ask yourself, “what will make this year a success?” What are the most important things to achieve for my business? What will make a difference between now and the end of December?
Be realistic because Autumn is always a busy time when it comes to service or product delivery. Will you have time for extra projects while delivering your core business tasks day-to-day? This helps you narrow the list of goals to prioritise the most valuable ones to deliver at this point in time.
Tip 3: Reset your Plans
“A goal without a plan is just a wish”. This is one of my favourite sayings as it is so true! Things happen when we make a plan and then follow through on that plan. And planning doesn’t have to be a complicated exercise. Simply ask yourself, “what work needs to be done to deliver this”?
This question helps you drill down the high-level goal into sub-goals or actions. Once you have a list of actions, add target dates for each one. Consider the end date for the overall project or goal and then work backwards. This helps you spread the work over each month.
People often find it difficult to break down a goal into actions. So here is an example of a small project plan (i.e., a list of actions) developed for a personal goal:
What is your goal?
I want to improve my fitness in 2022
Why do you want to do this?
For health benefits, to eat and sleep better
When do you want to achieve this?
I want to get fit enough to run a 5km race by the end of the year
What do I need to do?
- Buy Running Shoes
- Download a running app
- Look up race dates
- Register for a race
- Make a training plan
- Run the race
- Review and plan next race
This approach can be used in business too. Have a planning session with colleagues to brainstorm your ideas and capture the actions using flipcharts, whiteboards or online collaborative tools like Teams Whiteboard or Trello. Then transfer all the tasks into a project plan.
If you need a planning tool, you can download the Q4 2022 Planner Template from the Resources section of our website.
Tip 4: Reset your Work Routine
Now you have a plan of the work that needs to be done. But how are you going to find time in your busy schedule?
My tip is to take control of your time by implementing a weekly and daily planning routine. Look at your current approach and refresh it. Here are some ideas.
- Each Friday afternoon, take 10 to 15 minutes to look ahead at what is coming down the tracks.
- Make a plan in advance for the important things you want to get done. This helps you take control of your time before everyone else does! It eases your mind because you feel ahead of yourself. It also helps you wind down and switch off for the weekend.
- Identify up to 3 key things to get done the following week. This can include some work on your goals or projects or important operational tasks. Then proactively block time in your diary to get this work done.
- Label these time slots with your target task or action. Then protect this time if other requests arise, particularly if the new requests relate to less important work. This can be hard to do especially if the new request seems urgent. If you need to drop your planned work, that’s ok. But make sure you reschedule the time slot. Remember your goal is to achieve it by the end of the week.
This is a productivity technique called ‘Time Blocking’. It helps you make progress with your planned work while still being available for a large part of your day to your clients or colleagues.
- A daily planning routine helps you keep your week on track. At the end of each day, review your progress, assess the new things that arose and make a quick plan for the next day. This helps you switch off and refresh each evening too which of course helps wellbeing and work-life balance. It also sets you up for a productive start the next day.
- Develop a good morning routine to get into a productive mindset. Try doing the same activity every day – a ‘commute’ to work. This helps you create the separation between work and home life, even when working from home.
You can read more tips on daily routines in our ‘Commuting to Work’ blog here.
Be Productive in Quarter Four
How great would it feel to finish the year on a high? Now is the time to reset your focus for a productive Quarter 4.
If you achieve your goal, celebrate. If you reach the end of Q4 without completing everything, you still have a good plan in place to take forward into 2023.
Best of luck and if you need any help planning your goals just contact me at [email protected]
Develop Your Productivity Skills
At beproductive.ie we recommend that you: 1) tweak these productivity tips to find what works best for you and your business and 2) stretch yourself so you can achieve more.
You can access lots of productivity articles on our website on a range of topics including Tips for Hybrid Working, Managing Email, Reducing Stress and Saying No.
Should you wish to develop new skills and habits in your own time you can book our online Productivity Masterclass. To discuss any of these options, contact our Productivity Consultant Moira Dunne.
* “A goal without a plan is just a wish” is attributed to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a poet and hero fighter pilot in World War II.
Written by Productivity Consultant Moira Dunne, founder and director of beproductive.ie