Another Labor Day holiday has come and gone and with it, I’m reminded of my childhood when the dreaded thought of going back to school after a long and lazy summer was kind of depressing.

First there was the need to get some new clothes and shoes, followed by buying my No. 2 pencils, black only ink pens, rubber eraser, and other required supplies. My lunch box with a thermos to hold our milk or Kool-Aid was probably the only item that I really enjoyed shopping for.

Many decades later, I still get a little sad to see the summer go. Since winter’s grip stays with us here in our neck of the woods from around mid-December until the end of April, summer is when I can get some warmth back into my bones. In addition, early September feels more like the new year to me and that’s because I do more strategic thinking about how I want to finish off the year.

Here are a few suggestions on how you can head back to work from a long summer and have a successful fall. 

1. Focus on staying positive – Whether you’re a business owner or a member of the team, from time to time you can start feeling stale about your job and what you’re doing, especially when you’re returning to work from a long vacation. Remind yourself what you wanted to accomplish, what you wanted to build, and how you wanted to grow as an employee or entrepreneur.

2. Think critically – In the same way that you should reflect carefully on all the things you love about your business and/or what you are doing, it’s also important to think about what you don’t like and what isn’t working? What’s making you unhappy and maybe holding you and your team back.

Is it a process that needs to be implemented or just tweaked? Do you need to hire someone to take on something you don’t like so you can concentrate on what you’re more productive at? Do you need to let go of any bad apples who might be giving off bad energy. Look at what’s not what’s going well then figure out what needs to happen to change it.

3. Look at the numbers – When you get back to work, it never hurts to revisit your financial goals against your current status. September is often included in the final quarter of the year so it’s a good time to reevaluate your projections, examine your expenses, and make a plan for how to make this quarter count.

But don’t stop there. The fall is also the time to start planning your financial goals for next year, looking at what you need to do to get where you want to be. Will you require outside investment? Where will that come from? You need to start preparing and pitching for that now.

4. Meet with your team members – Remember when the school principal started the year with an assembly? Since most likely the whole team has not been in the office together at the same time over the summer, this is a good opportunity to bring everyone back together and remind them of the game plan.

During the meeting, remind everyone of the great things you’ve accomplished together during the year, encourage participation, and stay on topic. 

5. Find your stress releaser – Let’s face it, work is stressful. Even if you love what you do, there can be some difficult days that take a toll on your spirit.  

While you can’t always control what happens to you at work, you still have to make time for some activity that will clear your head and get you reconnoitered. Think about signing up for that recreational pickle-ball league, pottery class, or Zumba session. 

6. Get back to eating better – Notice I used the word “better,” because we are constantly bombarded with ads for products that tell us to be gluten free, sugar free, and all that other stuff. Now, I’m certainly not going to judge anyone who wants to have a lot of BBQ sauce on their full slab of ribs, but where you can, try to reduce portion size and go for more greens, fish, chicken, and fruits. 

Again, I’m not telling you to eat your “best,” but try to eat “better.” 

7. Find the right pillow – I always had a hard time sleeping on Sunday nights as a kid because I was worried about going to school the next day. As a result, I was really dragging all day Monday, and sometimes into Tuesday. Unfortunately, that carried over into adulthood. For the longest time I worried about so many things that I could not and cannot control right before going to bed. I was disaster. 

Fortunately, between my wonder pillow, sleep music, comfy pajamas, and a completely dark room, I’m getting some good sleep. When I wake up and feel refreshed, the sky is the limit for what I can accomplish during that day. It can’t be overstated how important a good night’s sleep is.  

So, now that summer is over, grab your new lunch box, put on your thinking cap, and let’s go get ’em!

Nancy Seiverd, President, CMI Credit Mediators, Inc.

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