It’s not always easy to embrace back-to-school time. While this time of year does carry with it an air of excitement and promise, kids often have a hard time getting back into the routine and structure that a school schedule offers. The good news is that September is the perfect time for adults to channel that back-to-school energy into their own productivity.
As summer comes to an end and we move into the fall with anticipation for a new academic year, let’s keep in mind that back-to-school time isn’t just for the kids. Right now we have a unique opportunity to embrace organization and enhance productivity in several ways in our own lives. In this post, we’re exploring the compelling reasons why adults should seize this time of year and providing some practical tips for making it a highly productive period.
Autumn: The Most Productive Time of Year
The fact is, this back to school excitement isn’t just a matter of opinion. Autumn - commonly known as the general “back to school” season - tends to be the most productive time of the year for most people. In multiple surveys, respondents said that people feel their concentration is highest and that they are more energized and productive in the fall.
We’ll dig into the specific reasons below, but generally speaking, humans are most productive after a period of rest. Just like you’re more energized after a good night’s sleep or a vacation, you can take advantage of the rest and respite that summer likely offered you. Most people take at least a little time off in the summer and tend to work shorter days and spend more time with friends and family, and enjoy their hobbies and the outdoors. Chances are, we’ve felt more joyful over the summer months and had a chance to really recharge our batteries.
Then, as the season begins to change, we feel a renewed sense of energy and excitement. We come back to work ready to recommit and invest this newfound energy into our goals. Overall, this phenomenon points to the importance of work-life balance. It’s essential to get proper down-time and invest time outside of work so that you can approach your job with a healthy attitude.
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Why is the Fall the Perfect Time for Productivity?
- A fresh start brings renewed motivation - It’s easy to feel nostalgic when this time of year rolls around. Remember the feeling of shopping for new school clothes and looking forward to seeing friends again? Back to school season signals a fresh start and often leads to renewed motivation for students - and adults should help themselves to some of that energy as well! A return to a more structured routine can inspire individuals from all walks of life. It’s the perfect time to set new goals and start making positive changes. By taking advantage of the momentum your family is likely feeling, you can harness that special back-to-school spirit into getting more organized and productive.
- It’s the perfect time to reinforce time management skills - Whether it’s intentional or not, many people fall into a more relaxed schedule in the summer. During the summer months people tend to enjoy a less structured routine and build in more down time and vacation - which is a ton of fun, but not the best for productivity. However, as the academic year commences and children return to school, a more structured schedule develops. This shift in timing - plus a shift in mental energy - offers an ideal opportunity to refine time management skills. By aligning their schedules with those of their children, most adults are able to better optimize their time. This allows for increased efficiency and productivity. Additionally, many parents are having discussions with kids on how to best manage their time. Set a good example by implementing new time management strategies, whether that looks like filling out a family calendar, setting aside time to create a daily schedule, or studying up on time management methods. Turn this time of year into a bonding experience by making the effort a family affair. Whatever you decide to do to put a renewed focus on productivity, try doing it alongside your kids and setting a good example for getting into smart habits.
- Enjoy access to educational resources - This season brings a wealth of educational resources that adults can leverage to boost their own organization and productivity. Many schools, colleges, or other organizations offer initiatives aimed at improving skills like time management, goal-setting, and other areas that can help with professional development. You can take advantage of workshops, seminars, and online courses that happen to kick off this time of year. By tapping into these resources, adults as well as kids can gain valuable insights and techniques to enhance their own abilities. If you want to explore classes or certifications that can ultimately lead to a more productive or organized lifestyle, try browsing this list of free college courses and other educational opportunities. Have a family member getting ready for college? Why not sit down together and pick out a couple courses together?
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Maximize Productivity During Back to School Time
Feeling amped up and totally ready to take on a new year this fall? What’s the best place to start? Here are some tips that experts say can help adults to be more productive in this time of year.
- Pick clear goals and prioritize - Start by reflecting on what you really want to achieve during this school year period. What is most important to you over the next 9 months to one year? Establish real goals and document them (it’s always best to write down goals). Then take the time to prioritize them according to their importance and urgency. You’re more likely to meet goals when they are actually well-defined objectives. Then you can focus your efforts and channel your energy into ensuring maximum productivity. Again, this is a great exercise to do alongside your family as your kids gear up for a new school year. Talk about which tools you’ll use as a group and which new habits you are going to work on over the next few months. Make sure your goals include real time frames so that you can check in at certain intervals and track your progress.
- Focus on a structured routine - The best way to embrace the school routine is by creating your own schedule. If you have kids in school, you’ve probably spent time explaining to them that things will be easier if they embrace their new schedule and focus on the positive. You can do the same by setting specific times for waking up, working, workout, hobbies, taking breaks, etc. Include all of the most important parts of a usual day and then stick to the routine consistently to establish good habits. Remember to include time for relaxation and self-care to nurture a healthier work-life balance.
- Organize and declutter your environment - A too-busy environment can hinder productivity and add to stress levels. Take advantage of the back to school season to go through a decluttering phase and organize your workspace. Whether you work in a corporate office space, from home, or even in a shared or digital workspace - cleaning and organizing will add to your motivation and make it easier to find things, allowing you to work more quickly. Things like sorting through paperwork, cleaning up your computer files, and creating designated areas for essential items can streamline the way that you work and actually put you in a better mood. In fact, research has actually proven that a clean and organized workspace can have important effects on employee morale and productivity. That goes for your digital workspace, too. Taking a day to clear out your inbox, create a new file system, and archive things you no longer use is well worth it. Working using your new, more organized system will improve the way you communicate, allow you to find things more easily, and reduce your overall stress level. This early fall season with kids returning to school is the perfect time take some decluttering initiative and create a cleaner, more organized space
- Try out productivity tools and other apps - You don’t have to do it all alone. In today’s digital landscape, there are nearly limitless productivity tools and applications that are available to streamline tasks and manage time more effectively. Explore options like task management apps, digital calendars, and note-taking tools to boost your effectiveness. Experiment with different tools to find what will work best for your typical workflow. Pro tip: make sure to follow our blog to learn more about various tools and techniques that can help you make the most of your day. We’ve shared powerful insights on everything from innovative email platforms to time management apps and collaboration tools. And of course, we suggest implementing Shift and using it to limit logging in and out of your various accounts, saving valuable time and reducing headaches.
- Learn better time management techniques - As we mentioned, during this time of year the world is full of educational resources that can help you to implement new techniques. Methods such as the Pomodoro Technique, Eisenhower Matrix, or traditional time-blocking can help you to prioritize tasks, manage distractions, and allocate your time more wisely. Spend some time researching and see which technique might be the best for you, and the way that you work. Experiment with various techniques to find the ones that resonate most with you and start incorporating them into your routine. Don’t be afraid to mix things up if one technique isn’t particularly helping - rest assured there is something out there for everyone, no matter how they prefer to work.
- Get moving - The days will become shorter and shorter, but right now there is still more sunlight than in the winter. Get enough sunlight by shifting some of your indoor activities outside. If you need to catch up on email, can you take your laptop to a nearby park? Or perhaps start your day with a brief walk before settling in for your work. It’s also a good practice to keep some curtains open and let the natural light in. Additionally, as temperatures drop, your home is going to feel cozier and cozier - but don’t be tempted to stay tucked inside. In the fall, before things cool off for good, use the time to get outside and add some exercise to your day. There is a lot of research that shows that fresh air and movement can have a powerful effect on your attitude and your workday. Take advantage of both now, while the weather is cooperating.
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Try Shift for Added Productivity
Remember those productivity tools we mentioned? Shift is an innovative productivity tool that proves useful to anyone who uses multiple platforms on their desktop - which is almost anyone with a computer! With Shift, you can organize and manage the following:
- Mail - Connect all of your Gmail, Outlook, and Office 365 accounts and manage everything from one centralized workstation.
- Apps - WhatsApp, Slack, Messenger—we have everything you need to get it done. Browse our Apps Directory, connect yours, and switch between them easily.
- Search - Save time and find exactly what you're looking for across any of your Mail, Calendar, and Drive accounts.
- Chrome extensions - Enjoy access to Boomerang, Grammarly, LastPass, and many of your other favorite Chrome Extensions.
- Focused web tabs - Access the web from inside Shift. Manage your tabs and organize them by account for a better browsing experience.
- Workspaces - Create a Workspace with the exact apps, tabs, and bookmarks you need, then share it with your team to get the job done.
- Account management - Toggle between your most-used accounts, check notifications and streamline your workflow.
Download Shift as part of your back-to-school season efforts, and start finding new ways to do more with the time you have.
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Back to school time isn't solely for children; it offers adults an invaluable opportunity to enhance their organization and productivity. By throwing themselves into a fresh start, reinforcing time management skills, and accessing educational resources, professionals can make significant positive change in their lives. Implement the tips provided to seize the energy and structure of this time of year and create a more organized, productive, and fulfilling lifestyle. Take advantage of that back-to-school spirit and have your most productive year yet!