Ahh…the end of summer. Vacations, staycations, and long weekends made possible by glorious Summer Fridays will soon be but a distant memory. In its place are year-end deadlines, 2019 planning, and if you’re a working parent, the yearly attempt at navigating your child’s school and sports schedule alongside your own.
But never fear! The start of a new school year and the end of appropriately playing Childish Gambino’s “Summertime Magic” on repeat should not be cause for alarm. The Back-to-School mindset can be incredibly empowering for inspiring a renewed focus on your career that more commonly comes in the New Year. So, let’s review today’s lesson on Back-to-School Career Domination:
Lesson One: Get Your Time Management Skills in Check
During the summer, time seems to be more expendable. When September comes around, we can’t seem to figure out what happened to our days. Time management is the foundation you establish in order to see your goals come to life. Are you carving out time each Monday to map out what important items you want to accomplish, along with ways you will get there? Or are you chasing email fires all day; responding in real time to unimportant items and expecting it to move you up the ladder? Make your priority list of the top few items you want to achieve each week and then fill the rest of your time with your more tactical to-do list. If you don’t carve out dedicated time to work on what is important to you, someone else will take those precious moments.
Lesson Two: Set Expectations and Communicate
During the summer, it is expected that most people are going to be kicking back and cutting loose! As a leading public relations agency, we communicate that intention to our cherished team through our Summer Friday program. Once school is back in session, it’s not uncommon for the summertime blues to kick in. But who says the party needs to stop just because it will soon get dark at 4:37 pm? The need to set clear expectations and vocalize our intentions for dopamine-making moments could actually contribute to increased productivity. Doing something creative, making or listening to music, meditating, getting a massage, or trying something new can all help to increase dopamine levels in the brain. More dopamine in your system can help you to stay focused, productive, and motivated. So, let your colleagues know that each Wednesday, it is vitally important that you attend kickboxing. It makes you happy and sets you up for success and a right mindset for the whole week. But don’t stop with the fun; keep teams informed that while you might be heading out a bit early to attend class, you plan to be back online and available when the sweating stops.
Lesson Three: Look the Part
There are few things more synonymous with Back-to-School, than shopping. Yes, the time-held tradition of new school clothes. The smell of new shoe leather. The feel of not-yet-worn-in jeans. The anticipation of showing up on your first day in the new stylish outfit you deliberated about for 45-minutes the night before. You knew how important the first day of school was to make an impression on your classmates and teachers to portray the exact embodiment of how you intended this school year to go. “This year will be a success!” is what your new denim jacket, daisy-printed shapeless babydoll dress, and Doc Martens were trying to communicate (if you were a teen in the nineties like me). Well, that feeling doesn’t change. Don’t show up to work looking like you’ve been cramming all night for the science test and expect your clients and colleagues to think you have a handle on that new social media strategy. Executive Presence matters; so, when you’re dressed like you’re ready to take on the world, you will.
The best part of a new school year is the hopefulness one has for all that could be; and the idea that there is actually time to make those goals happen. This feeling is pretty amazing when compared to the enjoyment of a time that we all know will come to an end.
May you live these lessons while enjoying “Summertime Magic” from the comforts of your cubicle.