From September to Christmas is the busiest time of the year in many organisations. So how can you clear the decks in preparation?
Summer is traditionally a time when activity quietens down in the build up to the autumn rush, offering a great opportunity to recharge and prepare for the final months of the year.
September is a testing time in many organisations. Some of the busiest periods in the working calendar are in the run-up to Christmas so it’s crucial to take stock, reflect and set new priorities to maintain focus and motivation in the months ahead.
So what steps can we all take to adopt better ways of working as we head into the autumn? Here are some top tips:
1. Make time to take stock, reflect and set new targets
The end of the summer can often trigger anxiety; it’s the point where we realise that only one third of the year remains. But rather than dwelling on all those things we’ve yet to achieve, use this time to review all the progress that has been made and plan a clear set of priorities for the rest of the year.
It’s also a good time to catch up on the more mundane aspects of working life: filing, admin and reports. Since August is a traditionally quieter month, it provides a good opportunity to work your way through that long to-do list that’s been building for so long. Use the quieter period to tie up loose ends and ensure that you have a clean slate for the start of September.
2. Think outside of the office space
Being desk-bound in summer makes us more prone to distraction than at other times during the year, especially when workloads are lighter and there are fewer people around. To help combat procrastination, consider encouraging colleagues to hold weekly meetings outdoors. This is an easy way to escape the confines of the office and the change in surroundings can stimulate creativity.
Warmer weather also provides the perfect opportunity to encourage social activities with colleagues outside of working hours. Whether this is a picnic afternoon, evening drinks or a lunchtime outing, making time for those you work with can help everyone to relax and recharge. Organising something simple like a lunchtime run or game of rounders is also an easy way to improve energy levels and physical fitness, which has a positive impact on mental wellbeing too.
3. Shift your working patterns and routine
Flexible working can also be a good way of maximising productivity. For increased energy and better concentration levels, try shifting your traditional working routines, for example by starting and finishing the day an hour earlier. Given the time of year, this allows us to make the most of the longer evenings, which can help with relaxation and boost concentration levels during the day.
4. Cut down on email contact
After their holidays, many people face vast backlogs of emails, overdue requests and piling workloads. Some have taken new and innovative approaches to this problem, making August an ‘”email sabbatical” and deleting all messages received across the month. While this isn’t feasible for most of us, we can cut back on email contact and be stricter about switching off our phones in the evenings and at weekends. This ensures that we can become more energised and invigorated, which will ultimately have a positive impact on our working lives.
5. Try travelling to work more sustainably
Walking, cycling or jogging to work will not only make you fitter, but, depending on where you live, tcan often reduce commuting time and travel costs. If you live close to colleagues, pairing up to make the journeys together is a good way to keep motivated while building friendships.
Some companies encourage employees by offering walk or cycle-to-work schemes, with the opportunity to earn additional holiday time for each journey travelled.