We can all tell that fall is coming, and it has nothing to do with the calendar. The signs are starting to appear all around us. The sun has been setting closer to 8 p.m. than 9 p.m. Maybe you feel cold at night with the windows open. If you haven’t seen your first Halloween display in the grocery store yet this year, you will any day now. And everything’s starting to smell like pumpkin spice.  

The transition from summer to fall happens every year, and we can always see it coming in advance. And yet somehow the shift still takes people by surprise every year. They’re totally overwhelmed by the second week of September.  

I say “somehow”––but in reality I know why people feel like the fall transition sneaks up on them.  

It’s a combination of things. First, people are enjoying the summer so much that they want to stay present and not think about the end of beach-and-barbecue season. 

Second, the shift into fall tends to change people’s schedules and routines. When you’re already overwhelmed by a packed schedule and struggling with time management and productivity, a shift in routine is the last thing you need. It can feel a little like you’re barely keeping a bunch of plates spinning and someone throws another plate at you. 

There might be any number of other factors happening in your life that affect how you think about the transition from summer into fall. These next few months might be your busiest time of year, and that will change how you approach time management and productivity planning for fall. Or maybe you’ve spent all summer driving a kid around for travel baseball and you’re looking forward to your schedule actually calming down in fall.  

Everyone’s different—but whatever your life looks like right now, I know that there are both challenges and opportunities ahead for you this fall.  

September can be a really powerful time for growing your business and making progress on your goals. If you’ve had enough time off during summer to rest and recharge, you can dig into work with renewed energy and fresh eyes. I’ve noticed that my clients often have really high hopes for fall. Like spring, this time of year feels like an opportunity for a reset. Maybe you tell yourself, okay, I didn’t accomplish XYZ over the summer like I meant to—but everything’s going to be different in September. 

I love that optimism and excitement! The problem is that life tends to get in the way. You get so busy and distracted dealing with day-to-day stuff that you forget to actually make a plan for September. Without a plan, you keep doing things the same way you’ve been doing them. So the things that you meant to get done in summer still don’t get done in fall. The time management challenges that have kept you feeling overwhelmed and constantly stressed in the past keep happening.  

The bottom line? A productive and joyful autumn won’t just happen to you. You have to plan for it. And that planning has to start in August so you can hit the ground running when Labor Day is over.  

3 Tips for Setting Up an Amazing Fall 

  1. Answer this question: What do you REALLY want for fall? Get clear about what an “amazing fall” looks like for you, specifically. Imagine yourself at the Thanksgiving table this year, reflecting on the past few months. Are there specific goals you want to have accomplished? Certain experiences you want to have enjoyed?  
  1. Revamp your working space. Colder weather and less sunlight drives us to spend more and more time indoors as fall progresses. If your workspace is cluttered, dusty or otherwise neglected, you’re not going to feel excited or engaged when you sit down to dig into your tasks. Taking an hour to clean and rearrange things can have a big impact. Bring in new fall-scented candles, artwork and music to make your office feel like a place you want to be.  
  1. Create routines for outdoor time and exercise. Spending time outdoors and moving your body are both critical for mental and physical health, so they’re also tied to good time management and productivity. Don’t let these priorities fall by the wayside when the cooler weather begins. Make sure your weekly and monthly plans for September and beyond include built-in time for things like walks, yoga, bike riding or whatever physical activities fuel you.  

Every autumn I hear from busy professionals and entrepreneurs who feel like they’re barely keeping their heads above water.

The transition from summer to fall throws off their routines, makes time management, planning and productivity challenging which generally creates added stress that no one needs.  

Sound like you? I’m here to support you.

One way I’m working to help people like you prepare for fall is with a free masterclass: 5 Steps to Bust Through Procrastination and Overwhelm. Join me on August 25th to learn actionable steps to break through and move past the overwhelm that keeps you from getting everything done. It’s a free one-hour training that can help you start gathering the tools you need for the fall you crave. Click here for more information and to register.  

Sarah Reiff-Hekking