Summer has ended, and despite a few pockets of warm weather, autumn is taking hold.
This transition period has traditionally meant a slower workload—until the realization hits you and your colleagues that there’s a lot to do by Dec. 31.
Here are six things you can do to kick it into high gear, keep pace and even get ahead:
1. Evaluate your professional and work goals. If you haven’t made serious strides in accomplishing the 2016 goals you’ve set for yourself, it’s crunch time. Evaluate what you wanted to accomplish at work and in your own professional development. Also, think through how you’re going to achieve these goals from now through December.
2. Start to plan for the rest of the year. The coming months will be particularly busy with the elections, evolving medical stories and the holiday season (which seems to sneak up out of nowhere). If you’re trying to get a story out there, it’ll be more crucial than ever to communicate it strategically. Start planning the timing for the initiatives you have to get through, and ask questions regarding which ones you can push back and which you’ll have to accelerate.
3. Reconnect with contacts. “Hey, readers! How was your summer? Do anything exciting?” Now is a great time to get in touch with friends and colleagues, because you can talk about what you did over the summer. Because everyone is trying to get back into the work grind, a “hello,” coffee or lunch can be easier to plan than a major meet-up.
4. Look for learning opportunities and to do something different. It’s convenient that autumn coincides with the start of a new school year. Spark inspiration by going to a talk, panel discussion or networking event. If you work in a city or near a college town, there will be plenty of opportunities to learn about or do something different.
5. Ask clients/teams what they have on their radar screens. Not everyone will be ready to get back to work after the lazy days of summer. Asking clients and teams about their year-end priorities or activities is a good way to make sure everyone is thinking ahead—and avoiding a mad sprint to the finish line.
6. Evaluate challenges from the past year, and identify the workplace tools you need. For many professionals, autumn means budgeting for next year. Ask yourself about the challenges you’ve encountered in the past year(s) and what you need in order to resolve them and advance the work you and your team are doing. Then you can put together a list of desired resources as you go into the year-end planning sessions.
How have you eased back into work this fall? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.
Julia Sahin works in financial communications at a top PR firm in New York. Connect with her on Twitter. All opinions are her own and do not reflect her employer’s. A version of this article first appeared on Muck Rack, a service that enables you to find journalists to pitch, build media lists, get press alerts and create coverage reports with social media data.