When it comes to fall, it can easily be seen as the “middle child” of seasons.
With winter, sure the weather cools down, depending on where you live, but there are the holidays, if that’s your thing, and hope in the form of a new year come January.
Spring is an energizing season because you’re still feeling pretty motivated with your “new you” attitude and goals, not to mention the promise of brighter days.
And summer? Well, summer is just awesome, ’nuff said.
Then fall comes and it’s like what the hell?!
Suddenly you realize how far away you are from the motivated person at the beginning of the year and you only have a couple of more months until the year is over.
The fall season is always weird for me because I’m still marinating in summer mode and in complete denial that it has to come to an end–even as the days get shorter and colder. It’s almost like a period of mourning where I’m not as productive and it gets really really hard to get back to the grind.
Anytime I catch myself swerving off track, I go to my always reliable method of snapping out of the noise: create a plan. Yes, I talk about planning a lot not because I’m a Virgo and a perfectionist (okay that probably has a lot to do with it). But, neurosis aside, having a plan really does help you recalibrate which we all need to do from time to time.
With that being said, allow me to share my plan that I use to get focused around this time of year. It may also help you snap out of it if you need to get your groove back too. Let’s take a look at how to survive the next couple of months.
Think of this as a professional development month. If you have not already done things like update your LinkedIn profile and resume, rework your website content or start thinking about your next move, then now is the time. It’s never too late to make tweaks that will put you in a better position–even if they’re small!
Ask yourself these questions to prioritize and reflect on what’s important to you right now:
1. Finish this sentence: if I can complete one goal this year, it would be to…
2. What objectives do I hope to accomplish before the year ends? (Focus on the things that you can realistically get done). Here are some examples:
- Complete a certification
- Attend a networking event or workshop
- Apply for X number of jobs in your desired field
- Reach out to three past colleagues or clients that you’ve lost touch with to check in on them and talk about what you’ve been up to. (Just remember, this is NOT the time to ask for favors. Don’t be that person, okay!).
This is a tough month because in many cases it can be your last-ditch effort to connect with recruiters and business connections because now we’re approaching the holiday season. Even though people are focused on finishing their own priority projects, there’s still room to carry over some of your October goals and be productive.
- If you slacked off in October (because life happens), you can still reach out to people and work on building relationships.
- Don’t try to jam everything you want to accomplish for the rest of the year into this month. You will get discouraged and burned out and that’s counterproductive.
- People will start to mentally check out once the holiday season officially starts. If you’re not getting results, reevaluate your objectives as you see fit.
Honestly, I call this the month of surrender. It’s easy to get stressed with all the holiday madness that brings on more social invitations, more money to spend, more worries and even times of sadness (especially if you’ve lost a loved one who is not there, in the physical, to celebrate with you and your family). Instead of using this month to go full speed ahead, do the opposite: slow down.
- Do things that make you happy: If this means being around people you love, make time for them. If this means having more time to yourself, say “sorry, I won’t be able to make it” more.
- Find time to reflect. Write down what you learned from this year and what you would like to build on more next year.
- Let go of all the things you didn’t do or should have done. You can’t rewind time and start all over again, but you can move forward and commit to not giving up on your goals.
Whew, I hope you took the time to think through these tips and the questions. And you know what else? I want you to customize a plan that will make YOU feel good because that’s when you’ll find the motivation to do more.
There’s no cookie-cutter solution to getting through the year because life simply is not straightforward. You can, however, plan to make the best of today and strive to do better tomorrow.