Some people talk about how September is the like the start of a “new year”. I look at it as a chance to do a fall reset. After a summer of pushing the schedule to the side, ignoring the last of the items on the to-do list, and burning the candle at both ends, it’s like Mother Nature gives us permission to wipe the slate clean, and get ourselves sorted before the craziness of the holiday season kicks in.
September came and went this year, and I still haven’t done my fall reset. Between my job and the start of grad school I just haven’t found the time to get it done. My schedule is a hot mess, my routines are practically non-existent, and thinking about the holidays raises my anxiety level about two notches. In the spirit of full disclosure, today is Thursday, October 5th and not only have I not done my planning for this week, I haven’t done my planning for October yet. Let’s not even talk about those fall goals, shall we?
After a really hard stretch of months at work, I planned for a long weekend starting tomorrow. Over the next four days I plan to indulge in some self-care activities, crank out some productive chores around my house, and get around to that fall reset I meant to work out at the start of September. Here’s what I plan on doing:
- Set my fall goals. What do I want to accomplish over the next few months at home, at work, and with my writing? Here’s where I have to be honest about what my time looks like and be realistic with my expectations. I might have a long list of things I want to do, but this season of my life may not allow for them all to get done. I like to have a top three list that answers this question: If nothing else got done this fall, what would need to happen for me to still consider it a success? I also figure out what my hard no’s are: what am I going to have to say no to in able to get through this season with my sanity in one piece?
- Have a fall business meeting with my husband. Every month my husband and I have what we call a monthly planning meeting where we sit down and talk about what is on our calendars so that we can each note the things that will influence our own schedule. Once a season I like to sit down and talk about our long term calendars: upcoming travel, work related things, kid stuff, family events, etc. This way we know what is on the horizon and it’s not a surprise at the last minute. During this meeting we also share our goals for the season, which includes our top three’s and our hard no’s.
- Revamp my daily schedule and create some new routines. I drafted new morning and evening routines over the summer to begin putting into place once fall began. Then my body went on strike and the stress-free summer I was supposed to be having to rectify that got hijacked by a super-stressful situation at work and it all went out the window. I know what I WANT to be doing, I just need to put it into practice.One of the things I am going to do to sort out my schedule is to track my time for a week. When Jessica Turner released The Fringe Hours, she talked about how you can find time for the things you enjoy by working them into the spare bits of time you have around the things you are already doing. (BTW, if you haven’t read her book, it’s excellent and I highly recommend it). On her website she has a free downloadable time tracker, and a brief video that talks about time tracking.
- Clear off my plate. As a recovering perfectionist, I’m bad at delegating. Like, for a lot of years I wouldn’t even consider it an option bad at it. I read a quote that said, “Delegation is not shifting the work you should be doing to someone else’s plate- it’s getting those tasks you shouldn’t be doing off of yours.” Here’s the thing that has taken me a long time to learn: I don’t need to do everything. So I’m going to be sitting down with my people and we will be having a conversation about what needs to come off my plate so that I can get through the next 14 months.
- Leave room to breathe. One of the things I realized in September, is that it’s not going to work out for me to have events scheduled every weekend of the month. Being gone all day one day and spending the entire next day (or the day before) doing school work does not make for an enjoyable weekend and after an entire month of that I was stressed out and irritable. So I’ve decided that I’m willing to do it twice a month, and that is it. I need to build margin for rest into my schedule and if that means having to say no to some things, so be it. It’s not forever, and that is what I need to keep telling myself.
Whatever this next season looks like for you (beyond just this fall), take time to regularly look at your schedule and routines and do a reset if you need to. I’ve decided I’m going to do one every three months. This will allow me to continually revisit what is and isn’t working, and make adjustments as needed.
Did you do a fall reset this year? Do you plan on doing one? I’d love to hear what types of things you include in yours.
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