Fall brings change. The kids are back to school, the leaves turn beautiful shades of red and gold before they fall from the trees, the barista at Starbucks gets to know your usual hot beverage order all over again and night seems to creep a little earlier as each day goes on. It becomes hard to keep on top of your daily to-do’s without feeling a little saddened by the change of season and a little fear in what is to come in the next few weeks.
This change, surprisingly, seems to get our butts in gear here at NMI. We see it as an opportunity to amp up our game plan, to work harder and to get back on track (Okay, I admit it… we have a hard time staying focused for extended periods in the summer months – too many patios and craft brews calling our name).
Here are our tips for bracing the cold and taking advantage of it for the next 7 months (welcome to Canada )
Get Out – yes, that’s right. Even on those brisk days where the more appealing idea is to snuggle up and read. It is so easy to get into a routine of staying in the office and staring at your computer screen, which for us just brings on the “cabin fever” feeling. We make a habit of meeting at coffee shops, shared work spaces or restaurants a minimum of two days a week to force us to change our pace and surroundings. We tend to get more done because we know there is a time limit on how long we can be there which is just an added bonus to the warm atmosphere, free wifi and fancy drinks.
Consider This the Start of a New Year – we have never felt like the year kicks off on January 1st. It’s the dead of winter, nothing really changes in your day to day. You probably go to a great party and make a bunch of personal resolutions that are forgotten at the first sign of a good time. Consider the first day of Autumn, the first day of your new year. Make the adjustments you need to in your day to day, set yourself up for success and hit the ground running so as the season changes, you can change and grow as well.
Set Goals – this ties into starting your new year in the Fall. There is some feeling of accomplishment in crossing things off a to-do list that motivates and drives you to cross off more. Every Monday morning we prepare our own “weekly to do” lists to get us prepared for tackling the week. We prioritize by day and importance for the task and we include EVERYTHING because it feels so good crossing off items even if it’s as simple as “reschedule doctors’ appointment”. It is also easier to recall what you have got done and makes it harder to forget tasks that you need to get done.
Get Moving – sounds dreadful, doesn’t it? However, that endorphin boost mixed with a little unwinding makes for an incredible, untouchable, warrior feeling. How do you not get stressed when Summer turns to Autumn? Kids are back to school, the holidays are quickly approaching, you have a calendar full of upcoming events but when are you taking time for your wellbeing? We find that actually scheduling ourselves for some kind of physical activity a few times a week has helped us to loosen, destress and get focused again. For some of us that is pick up hockey, a yoga session or just going to lose yourself at the gym for an hour – anything that will allow us to be in the moment and focusing on us.
Network and Be Social – we find this one so much easier in the colder months because people are back from vacations, its miserable outside so you can’t opt out for an evening in your backyard oasis and a ton of AGM’s and events kick off. Take this as your opportunity to attend one new event a month and meet new people! Hand out business cards, gather information, make some new business connections and enjoy an evening surrounded by like-minded people.
Take Breaks – renew, energize and come back strong. It becomes easy to over work because now your patio and barbeque aren’t calling your name at 4pm on a Wednesday afternoon, it’s dark and cold anyways so you might as well stay late and get stuff done in your warm office, right? We see a lot of people bank their vacation time for the summer months and burn out during the winter because they over work or end up ill because they aren’t taking care of themselves. Recognize the importance of taking a break. A weekend away, even at your in-laws house an hour away or the summer cottage to spend some time doing anything but work. Down time is key in being able to stay focused, productive and motivated.
The count down to warm weather is on!