The Life

It’s September and I’m Not Going Back to School…What Do I Do?

For almost twenty years of your life, September probably meant back to school, which was often a stronger reset than the beginning of a new calendar year. The summer after graduation, the toughest part was getting my mind to wrap around the fact that I wasn’t going back to school in the fall, and it took me a while to get back into the flow of the ‘fall grind’ (as I like to call it).

Fall is the perfect time to be productive, for a dozen reasons not relating to school. First of all, most of us spent the summer travelling, going out with friends, sunbathing, or a little bit of all three. What better way to dive into our goals than when we’re recharged from a fun summer?

Secondly, the weather starts to get cooler, so we tend to stay indoors instead of embarking on adventures. This gives us the time and energy to buckle down and get things done. Don’t believe me? This study by Harvard Business School indicates that a decrease in sunny weather improves worker efficiency (sorry, Californians!).

Finally, if we look at some data, the later months of the year have the highest amount of new years resolution tasks accomplished from the entire year! While January is more focused on setting the goals with a 7.2% of tasks completed, we accomplish an average of 8.8% in September, 9.5% in October and 9% in November. What does this mean for you? Just because school’s out for good, doesn’t mean your productivity should end with it. Here are some tips on how to fall into action this fall:

Start With Some Goal-Setting

The first thing to do is to either revisit some goals you made at the beginning of the year if you haven’t already, or create new ones now that you’re out of school. Goal-setting can be so much fun if you choose to make it fun. You can work backwards by making a 5-year plan and then following it up by creating short-term 3-4 month attainable goals to get you there. These can be work-related goals, fitness goals, relationship goals, activity-related goals, etc.. My next tip is to break down the goals into smaller tasks that you can tick off every day. This’ll help prevent you from getting overwhelmed and burnt out – it’ll instead get you more motivated as you knock off the little guys on your road to success.

Do The Hard Stuff in the Morning

I like to start my day with a workout, because that’s the toughest part of my morning (#bootcamp). If you knock off the hardest parts of your day first thing in the morning, you tend to breeze through the rest of the day. You also have more mental energy and stamina in the morning, and I’ve found that I have more patience and focus for challenging conversations and action plans before lunchtime than I do in the afternoon. So I usually make a to-do list the night before, and tackle on those pesky tasks first thing.

Have Fun With it

This is the most crucial step. Many studies show that the reason people are more productive in the fall is because they want to finish their goals in time for the holidays. However, I don’t completely agree with this state of mind, and here’s why.

We need to learn to enjoy the journey, and not just chase the destination. I want us, as graduates, to enjoy our grind from September to November just as much as we enjoy our time off in December. If chasing your dreams isn’t fun, maybe you need to rethink if it’s the right thing for you. Goals shouldn’t begin and end with the prospect of a financial payout – enjoying the process and spending quality time with loved ones should be just as important. So, it’s September and you’re not going back to school? The only thing that changes is that you probably have more flexibility with your goals – instead of them being academic, they can be literally anything you want them to be. My question to you: what are you going to do with this newfound freedom?

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