For the last few months, hopefully, most of us have had the chance to take it slightly easier with our work tasks and enjoy the beautiful Nordic summer. As we all know having a holiday is not something “nice-to-have”, according to many studies “unplugging” for a few weeks has a remarkable positive influence on our health, stress level and overall productivity. Now is an excellent time to get busy again and focus on business and productivity. Just before you jump into your busy Autumn, here are some tips on how to get super-ready.
Set (your own) goals for next few months
Before we all start with strategies and plans and meetings and tremendous workload, take a few hours and think about the goals of the job/project in hand. After a summer holiday, when your mind is clear and rested, it is an excellent opportunity to evaluate and reevaluate your work so far. Analyse, if your job, your project or business is going towards the desired direction, what changes might be useful, and how could you get closer to your goal within the next few months. Also, besides your work-related goals, think about other goals in life – maybe there is a new hobby you could take up or go back to university? Or perhaps you would like to work out regularly or spend more time with your close ones? Take all these elements into account when making an action plan for the rest of the year.
Figure out your routine
The sunny summer months might have messed up the daily routines. All the gatherings in the evenings, trips to the countryside, long sunsets and more have had an effect on us. To set your focus back to work, start out with a daily routine. Spontaneity has its place in our lives, but a good routine and well-composed schedule are a great foundation that reduces stress as you do not have to spend so much time on planning. It also creates structure, making the days much more efficient and helps to get the most important things done.
Everyone has to find a routine that is suitable for them and easy enough to follow. There is no point to “agree” to a schedule that is difficult to keep – no need to create anxiety and extra stress. A typical schedule could mean waking up at the same time each morning, exercising, having a healthy breakfast, focusing on work between your most productive hours be it 9-12 and 14-17 or something else, keeping evenings or at least weekends work-free. If you are a morning person, maybe it would be a good idea to start working earlier, plan the meetings for the early afternoon and have more time for hobbies and family in the evenings? Or if you like to burn the midnight oil, visa-versa?
Set up your perfect workplace
To get in the zone, set your office in order. The working environment has a significant impact on our efficiency. For example, set up an additional screen to your laptop, so it would be more comfortable to work behind the computer for long hours and if possible, make your desk clutter-free.
To keep stress level under control, bring in some greenery and place a plant to your working area. Researchers at the University of Exeter state that enriching a plain and minimal office setting with plants increases productivity by 15%. Several studies also find that personalising workspaces, especially in an open office, helps people to cope with distractions and stress, gives more control and establishes a positive relationship between our identity and our workplace. So having a personal item on your desk motivates you to work harder and focus on the task on hand.
Do not pass on paying attention to lighting and a proper chair. Lighting has a massive impact on our mood and productivity. Pay attention to what kind of light keeps you most “in the zone “and use it to your benefit. Your chair is also something to keep in mind – you are spending most likely 6-8 hours in it, right? There is a clear link between productivity and uncomfortable office chairs, so it is reasonable to choose the most comfortable solution for your workspace.
If you are working solo or in a small team without an office, you can find a supportive work environment in coworking spaces, where there are private offices, dedicated desks and hot desk solutions for your convenience. In addition to comfortable chairs, (also standing) desks, meeting rooms and coffee-machines, the coworking centres have all that is needed for inspiring working environment.
Study something new
For many people, September brings back memories about going to school. Even when you have finished your studies a while back, learning something new is always a good idea. Studying keeps our mind sharp and offers opportunities to meet new people. If you’re not into getting another degree or meeting people psychically, there are plenty of online courses available. Learn about setting up your website, marketing, finance or start with a new language or write the first novel you have always secretly dreamed about. Why not study new skills you would later implement at your job or that just bring you joy. Either way, learning or having some time for your hobbies every week helps to keep your mind balanced and lead to better levels of productivity and creativity.
End of the holiday season and getting back to work mode doesn’t have to be overwhelming nor sad. It could be an inspirational new beginning filled with excitement and enthusiasm.