Here we are, full bodied summer. Facebook is alive with golden sands and jubilant families, the light is bright, the sun is (mostly) shining and the days are long enough for life after work.
As nature luxuriates in its fertile peak, what time could be more sublime in the northern hemisphere? (Oceania readers count your perennial blessings as you bask in your kinder mid winter!)
Summertime, and the living is easy...or is it?
NOT REALLY when your own two week break resulted in such an accrual of email that you are still catching up, one month on;
NOT REALLY with half the team on holiday and the remaining crew run ragged filling their gaps;
NOT REALLY once your own vacation has expired and you've nothing to look forward to except a shortening of days and a descent of temperature.
Welcome to the insidious side of summer!
Of course, there are practical things you can do on the organisational side to lighten the load: reduce email volume with a cheeky 'out of office' message requesting a re-send after your vacation return date; take a working-from-home day to get on top of the backlog, to plan and prioritise; manage your deadlines with smart delegating and sharp scheduling before you leave the office, and make sure the rest of the team do the same.
But none of this practical stuff alleviates the sinking feeling of having passed the peak of the year; it can seem all downhill from here, looking forward to long nights, long hours and the heavy, grey, winter workload to come.
Time for a Reframe...this is how I do it
Much as I appreciate the natural assets of the holiday months, I also love the autumn or more eponymously, the fall. Synonymous with back-to-school, fresh starts and new beginnings, I've started to positively pitch high summer as the lead-in to a new term. So when the office is seething with embarking and returning vacationers and I'm buried under my own return-to-work detritus, I make sure I take a little time out to focus on the forthcoming cycle in my personal and professional life.
My antidote to August is to be mindful of the here and now, keeping one foot in the present, appreciating the riches of the season's peak but also begin to turn out the other toe to the next stage of the journey and start to look ahead.
Now is the time to review the calendar year to date; that's work-task-wise as well as appraising your professional performance and progress against your personal aspirations. Just like strategic business planning, this is part of the regular process of taking stock at pivotal points in the year, evaluating progress, checking that you are on track, making a plan to course-correct if appropriate and contemplating what is just over the horizon that you might need to start pre-planning for now.
It takes just a few 20-30 minute sessions, journaling, spreadsheet planning or talking with my own coach, to lift me out of the post-holiday rut, spur me on to the next cycle and rev me up for the rest of the year.
Please, please try it for yourself and refuse to endure the old refrain 'there ain't no cure for the summertime blues'!