If there’s one thing I can count on about this season, it’s the fact that it flies by every single year. Seriously, where did August go?
But this is not the time to lament the end of summer and long days at the beach; after all, who doesn’t love the fall?! This is the time to prepare for the hustle and bustle that is waiting to resume in our jobs and lives. If September is when things start to pick up, then the end of August can be a great time to transition from summer brain to busy, go-getter brain.
Here are 10 tips for making that transition go a little more smoothly.
☐ 1. Stock up on new supplies.
Think about that busted stapler that always gives you grief, and when was the last time you had a box of pens that worked? Get your office ducks in a row and stock up on the things you need to be effective – before the swell of the Fall season hits.
☐ 2. Put your systems in place now.
Prefer to do your work on paper? Get your folders, binders, and filing cabinets ready. If you’re planning to experiment with a new task management system, sign up for that account and start entering your deadlines. Schedule calendar holds for major project dates. These are tasks that don’t impact the outcomes of your work, but can make the processes a lot easier and more organized when you find yourself in the thick of it all.
☐ 3. Get clear on your work priorities.
If summer was your time to reflect and goal-set, then the end of the summer should be spent preparing to execute. What are your priorities for the coming quarter and what level of planning is required to make each of those things happen?
*Tip:* If you haven’t defined your priorities yet, this is a great week to get the ball rolling. If you don’t have any ideas, try to think if there are any emails, campaigns, events, or special initiatives that make sense to run in the Fall months.
☐ 4. Get clear on your professional priorities too.
Your organization may have its annual review process in December, but that isn’t the time to start thinking about what you want to accomplish in your career. Consider the projects and work tasks that are coming up. How do those things align with (or contradict) the skills you want to develop? What will it take for you to get to your desired level one year from now?
☐ 5. Bond with your colleagues.
The summer is a great time to get to know the people you work with; not only are the summer months usually slower, but folks just tend to be in a better mood when the weather is great and they’re on the heels of a vacation. You can connect with coworkers at any point during the year, but if you tend to be swamped yourself, aim for at least one group lunch or after-work happy hour activity by September.
☐ 6. Browse for relevant training and PD opportunities.
Unless you’re on a lot of email lists, attending a webinar or workshop depends on your ability to find it well enough in advance. While you still have the time – doesn’t have to be more than an hour – identify any events or trainings that can make you better at your job. (My go-to for this are websites like Eventbrite, but your state’s nonprofit association, chamber of commerce or even the public library, are other options to consider.)
*Tip*: If there’s a major conference you’ve set your sights on, better to know as far in advance as possible so that you can make the case to your manager about why they should have you attend.
☐ 7. Reach out to your mentors.
If you didn’t get the chance to reconnect this summer, it’s not too late to drop a line! Better to do this now before things get too crazy on both sides. A greeting and simple “hope you had a great summer” is enough to put a good taste in anyone’s mouth!
☐ 8. Go shopping.
It may not be necessary for the job, but remember the feeling of getting a new backpack or pair of jeans for school? It’s that mental reset – that “new year, new & improved me” energy that can come from a new set of digs, or even a haircut.
*Tip* If you’re deliberately looking to get ahead this year, this may be part of your strategy. Invest in pieces that are going to help you to look the part of whatever you hope to be (and you don’t even have to pay full price for them!).
☐ 9. Plan one last summer hoorah with friends and family.
It’s good to make time for friends & family throughout the year, but summer is usually easier on the schedule. If you don’t have any labor day plans coming up, schedule that end-of-summer beach trip or even a simple dinner outing.
☐ 10. Get outside as much as possible.
This ends up being the thing I regret most when winter finally descends. If it means working from your backyard, eating lunch in the park or going for a bike ride instead of the gym, get outside as much as you can to enjoy the great weather while it lasts.