Will you try a simple word association game with me? (I’m going to pretend you’re nodding yes right now.) I suspect that your gut reaction to this one particular word says a lot about you and your priorities. So here’s my question: What do you think of when I say the word September?
Specifically, what are the three or four words you’d use to sum up what September means in your life? I think there are a few common answers to that question. What the idea of September conjures up for you might reveal some useful and maybe even surprising things about your priorities.
What Does September Mean to You?
First, let’s get technical: “September” comes from septem, the Latin root for seven, because it was the seventh month in the 10-month Roman calendar. But, I’m guessing that’s not the meaning you connect to this word. I’m guessing you’re more likely to have one of the following associations.
- Ugh, summer’s over. Does the idea of September arriving feel like a loss to you? Maybe you adore the summer and being outdoors and having fun, and find the start of fall depressing – you have to get back to work mode and you won’t have the freedom to take vacations or have short Fridays.
- Yes, fall is starting! Maybe you’re someone who dislikes hot weather and loves autumn, so September is the start of your favorite time of year. Hopefully you’re moving into this next season feeling excited, invigorated and ready to make the most of the upcoming months.
- Kids go back to school. If you’re a parent of school-age kids, September might bring a lot of upheaval. Your family’s schedule probably changes, and you have to find time to attend school functions and oversee homework. You might already be feeling overwhelmed, or relieved that the kids are back on a structured schedule, or both.
- The year is two-thirds gone already. If this is your association with September, I wonder if you feel like you’ve been scrambling to keep up with everything on your plate, and worrying that you’re falling behind in some ways.
- I love Earth, Wind & Fire. “Do you remember, the 21st night of September?” If your automatic association with the word September is the earworm of a song from 1978, you’re probably the first one out on the dance floor at every wedding reception. This doesn’t really tell me anything about your time management needs, but it probably means you’re fun to hang out with 😉.
Transitioning Your Time Management Approach
Here’s the takeaway: September is a month of transition. Transitions are often challenging, but they’re also opportunities. A transition can wipe the slate clean. Maybe you set out to have an amazing summer but it just didn’t turn out that way. Maybe you set professional goals for this summer that you didn’t achieve. Or maybe you’re doing great right now but are worried about how your productivity will change as we get further into autumn.
It’s important to be mindful of those transitions in order to set yourself up for success. The time management strategies you used during the summer might not work as well during September or October. Now’s the time to assess how you’re doing and make a plan to optimize your productivity going forward.
To me, September is the start of my son’s senior year in High School and a brand-new session of my Time Matters Boot Camp. This 90-day virtual program gives you the structure and support you need to create lasting change, and to find more time for all the things you love (including improving your bottom-line AND having fun outside of work or doing whatever it is that YOU are ready to do).
I hope you’ll join me for boot camp! I’m always amazed at how people just like you start the program feeling stressed, overbooked, and frazzled and end feeling calm, focused, and in control. Will you join me?
In the meantime, crank up the Earth, Wind & Fire as you celebrate this month of transition. Here’s the official video if you’re curious: