Summer 2020… wasn’t the best, for any of us. I still had a lot of wonderful days being outdoors and enjoying time with my family. Hopefully, there were a lot of bright spots in your summer too.  

But no matter how beautiful the weather was, or how much fun you had in your own backyard, there was a dark cloud over us all summer.  

While the pandemic isn’t over, and our lives aren’t magically going back to “normal” just yet, I think most of us are anticipating a better time this year. Fewer restrictions mean people are going to be able to more safely travel and gather with others. We’re going to have more choices around what we do and where we go. This automatically makes this summer look like an improvement over last year.  

A New Summer, a Better Outlook

We’re also better off now than a year ago because we have more information. Back then, it was clear that widespread vaccinations were still many months away. We knew that COVID cases were going to rise when the weather got colder. I remember a lot of fear around what the coming fall and winter were going to be like.  

Because there was so much that was unpredictable, it was really hard to plan ahead. There were probably times when you were just focused on getting through the day and not thinking much beyond that. Short-term survival became so urgent that the long term faded away a little bit.  

It takes conscious effort to shift out of that short-term thinking and back into long-term planning! We’ve all been changed by these last 15 months. It’s been really hard for most people to be productive and follow good time management habits, even successful professionals. If you look back over this period and feel like you didn’t accomplish much, I want you to know that you’re far from alone. The pandemic was a universal experience. Everyone was struggling. Some people are still really struggling.  

But you don’t have to keep struggling indefinitely. Now that COVID cases are dropping in the U.S., and we’re on the cusp of another summer full of potential, it’s time to make a fresh start.   

Time Management and Post-Pandemic Goals 

Remember your pre-pandemic goals (no judgement if the answer is “honestly… no;” it’s been a long 15 months!)?  

If you’re like a lot of my clients, your goals have evolved during this experience. Maybe a certain goal became obsolete because your circumstances changed. For example, if you were working toward a specific promotion within your company but were laid off because of the pandemic, you may have let go of that goal. Or maybe your priorities changed, and you’re no longer interested in the same things you were before. Some people have pivoted to entirely new careers since the pandemic began.  

I also know that the emotional toll has affected how people feel about their goals. We know that the pandemic has had a devastating impact on mental health. People struggling with depression, anxiety, substance abuse and other challenges may not be as interested in things as they once were.   

So, if you don’t connect to the goals that the February 2020 version of you did, I get it. In fact, I give you my blessing to let go of those old goals without guilt. It’s time to look forward. This moment in time might be an opportunity to discover new goals that reflect your priorities right now, and which will help you get closer to the life you actually want to be living. Or maybe you want to dust off some of those goals you let go of when the pandemic started, and recommit to them now.  

Planning Can Help You Obtain Your Goals

Here’s the thing: You’re going to need a plan. Few people have been operating at peak capacity these last 15 months, and 15 months of pandemic habits may be hard to break. Even now that things are getting closer to “normal,” it’s not like you can flip a switch and just shift back into goal-achieving mode.  

Plus, time management and productivity aren’t like riding a bike. They aren’t skills that rely on muscle memory alone. Developing good time management habits that actually support productivity is about creating a system that works for your specific brain and your specific life. It’s about setting up your environment to pull you into your most important tasks, and about anticipating the things that throw you offtrack so you can quickly refocus.  

Now more than ever, remember that this stuff isn’t easy. It was a huge adjustment to move into pandemic life, and it’s going to be an adjustment to move out of it. It’s easier when you’re not doing it alone. Keep reaching out for all the support that you need.  

With support and planning tools that are customized to your life, the coming year could be one of the best ones yet. My 90-day Time Matters Boot Camp is the next step if you’re serious about creating change and making real progress on your goals—whether they’re lifelong dreams, or a new part of your post-pandemic life. Click here for more information, and to sign up for a phone chat so we can determine whether boot camp is the right next move for you.

Gratefully, 

Sarah 

Sarah Reiff-Hekking
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