In my view, September is even worse than January since that return to work comes after the holidays when almost everyone has taken some time off. And, of course, January begins with New Year’s parties, resolutions, start fresh budgets, and a new set of annual objectives, plus a full calendar year to complete them.

September sneaks up on us with a wallop! We have become accustomed to summer chilln’, and then… BANG! All of the strategy, budget, brand planning, end of year, early next year meetings that were pushed off until everyone “gets back” in September, hits our calendar. We have all those medical congresses and financial conferences in fun places like San Francisco, San Diego, New York, and Chicago and also prep for annual performance reviews which deserve our full attention!

This resurgence, at the exact same time as kids are transitioning back to school. You know, those institutions that think nothing of holding numerous daytime and evening sessions that really do require parental presence, let alone the logistical challenges of providing for the kiddos who need supplies, cleats, lessons, snacks, and maybe some emotional support. If you’ve got teenagers at home, it’s all that plus the need for a foghorn to get them out of bed after waking up at noon for weeks on end.

And finally, don’t forget the traffic. Even with this summer’s BU bridge adventure, traffic into Cambridge, Waltham, and Boston becomes decidedly worse next month as we all get back in the commuting game. Load up on those podcasts and let that guy in — traffic is stressful enough!

So how do we enjoy the last few weeks of summer AND support our teams through the first few weeks of September? Some thoughts:

  • Acknowledge the September reality and have an explicit conversation about it with your team(s).
  • Immediately after Labor Day, identify the priorities for the remainder of the year and map out what has to happen when. Be realistic, but motivated.
  • Share tools that will help your team improve efficiency and eliminate waste. A few oldies but goodies:
  • The Eisenhower matrix, as described in this blog as well as in numerous apps online, will help focus priorities and manage personal and professional tasks;
  • BLUF — bottom line up front in emails, as shared in this HBR article regarding military precision in email communications;
  • ELMO — enough let’s move on, a tool for keeping meetings/conference calls focused on the most relevant content
  • Be kind to yourself, offer and ask for support from one another. This is the premise of servant leadership.