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BLOGThe First Day of School

by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Motivational, Time managementTagged as: ,

Remember your first day at school, after a long summer holiday? You looked forward to seeing friends again, while at the same time felt sad about leaving the summer behind. However you felt back then, today many people use the summer more actively, and also to explore professional and personal changes.  Perhaps this is you.

You may have resolved to change your work habits, change your exercise regime, or treat people differently. Or, you may have decided to change your image, your professional goals, or your personal relationships. Whatever your decisions, the trick is to keep these commitments beyond the summer.

The challenge is when we return to the same environment after the summer, we often revert back to our “old” habits. Here are some ideas to prevent this from happening:

  • Change your morning routine: instead of buying coffee from the same vendor, try a new coffee shop. Instead of drinking it with the same people (or reading the same newspaper), do it somewhere else.
  • Work in a different spot: Remember how it felt when the teacher changed where you sat? You met different people, noticed different things on the walls, and had a new vantage point when you looked at your teacher. While you might not be able to change your desk or office so easily, often you can take your work into a conference room, library, or other special place.  Or, with so many people working from home, a different room.
  • Change how you use technology: If you are one of those people who has avoided using certain technology (Zoom, Slack, etc), then find someone new to teach you. Not only will you learn a valuable skill, but you will develop another good relationship. On the other hand, if you use technology for everything, ask whether it is actually reducing your productivity. (One way to tell: set your email to check for incoming messages every two hours, instead of every 5 minutes. We are far  more productive without the constant interruptions…)
  • Change your work-life balance: Especially if you started a new hobby or sport, schedule it in your calendar throughout the fall and winter. Beyond the benefits of stress-reduction and exercise, continuing it through the “off” season means you’ll be that much better come next summer.


While the first day of school brought you your friends, the year of school brought you learning, maturity, and opened your eyes to the world. While you don’t have a teacher to do this for you anymore, you can easily make it happen yourself. This week, think about the one thing that you enjoyed most over the summer, and work to make it stick beyond September. Change provides new perspective – and increases both your value, and your motivation.

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