Magazine article USA TODAY

Pump It Up Post Labor Day

Magazine article USA TODAY

Pump It Up Post Labor Day

Article excerpt

THE ARRIVAL OF LABOR DAY typically heralds the (unofficial) end of summer. That means we will have to make the annual transition from laid-back, low-pressure August to nose-to-the-grindstone, time-to-get-serious September. You may have taken a vacation this summer, but business challenges, customer demands, and year-end sales goals did not. It is time to shift your brain from standby mode to "all systems go." That is not always easy or fun.

However, it is possible to cushion that jolting reentry to professional reality. All it takes is rethinking some long-held assumptions and exploring new ways of tackling old, familiar challenges. Certainly, you cannot change the calendar, but you can change the way you think about the calendar and, when you do, you will be shocked by the difference it makes in your work life.

Many people have a deep belief that summertime is great and going back to work is not so great, but that is an assumption we probably picked up in childhood when it was time to go back to school. You can clear out that negativity simply by choosing to view the situation differently, and thereby allowing yourself to see new possibilities.

Here are a few examples of how you can think differently in order to get a jump on things, plan ahead, engage in a little pre-autumn creative problem solving, and make your "chill mode" to "work mode" changeover as positive and productive as possible,

Ease into it. Your mind still may be on baseball, snorkeling, and suntan lotion but, it is time to start thinking about what lies ahead. No need for heavy lifting here; just imagine what will be going on in the coming weeks with your coworkers, boss, team, clients, and customers. What kinds of tasks will you all be working on? What types of meetings will take place? The idea is to get motivated, even excited, about being productive. Just taking this mental journey through future-gazing can help ease your transition.

Set some goals. Now take it one step further and actually identify some things you would like to get done? Take a few minutes; clear your mind; and create an aspiration list of things you want to accomplish during the last four months of the year. What changes would you like to make in your work routine? How can you inspire and coach your coworkers or team to be more productive and successful? What personal and organizational goals would you like to put in place? Think big and make it real. …

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