Since graduating from college back in 2019, I’ve noticed that I consistently forget that school is still a thing for many people I know. Or, if they’re older adults or fellow semi-recent grads, they’re equally baffled by how to focus in their professional life (or lack thereof) in the fall season. The problem with this time of year, is that from the time we’re old enough to remember, we associate a feeling of obligation and structure with September. And that doesn’t magically wear off after we graduate. To me, fall feels a lot more like a fresh start than New Year’s does. Suddenly, it’s back to the grind and back to the beginning.
So what I’m trying to say is, how do we, as professionals, find a renewed balance in this season of heightened scheduling and more responsibility? If you figure it out, can you let me know? Just kidding – mostly. After having been out of school myself for a couple years, I’ve figured out a few tips and tricks that help me stay focused. But I’d also argue that these ideas are important and work well year-round. Regardless, hopefully these help you find your stride as we slip into one of the milder seasons.
Find your rhythm.
Do you prefer to wake up with coffee and your laptop? Or want to stay up later at night to get those deadlines in? Everyone is different, and finding your strengths are crucial to thriving throughout a faster-paced time of year. Honor your mindset and whatever your body needs to succeed.
Indulge in fall fun a little bit!
Are you into all things pumpkin spice? Want to freshen up your living space, or vacuum out the last remaining bits of beach sand out of your car? Now is a great time to do that. Crossing stuff off your to-do list that makes you feel good will help you feel motivated to conquer bigger projects. For more help feeling motivated, read this recent article HERE.
Prioritize what must be done first.
Can that larger project wait until next week? Great – use this week to get some smaller things done first. This mindset allows you to hyper focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking is great – don’t get me wrong – but it can also be super draining. Refer to the previous two points for more about honoring who you are and what you need.
As things are finally settling down, make use of the opportunities you have now to visit with friends and family! I’m hoping for a back-to-normal holiday season this year, so what better reason to take time for hayrides, apple picking, and all the other fun stuff we had to back-burner last year? I always say that fall and spring are my favorite seasons, because they’re considerably more relaxed than their radically hot-and-cold cousins. But seriously – taking time away from your work to be with friends and loved ones has been proven to make significant improvements on accuracy and focus.
Try new things this fall!
Maybe it’s a new food, or a new professional opportunity. But whatever it is, use this season as your personal fresh start. Reboot your life, and make it exactly what you’ve always hoped it would be. Maybe this time next year, you’ll even be able to look back and smile at all the new things you learned. After all, just because you’re not enrolled in college anymore doesn’t mean the school of life ever stops. Welcome the new ideas in with the old, and find your new stride alongside the lofty goals you are destined to achieve.