This month rivals January as the year's biggest caffeine high. All that energy to get back on track and make new commitments. A switch goes off and suddenly out comes the planner, diet tracker, gym membership, resume. In the Northeast where I live, it's often accompanied by the first crisp day of fall. There is nothing quite like it.
It's also a month of extremes. If you're not careful you can go from the buzz of activity to the overwhelm of how to get it all done.
How to stay focused, driven and balanced in September:
1) Know the warning signs of a September slide
Just the right amount of caffeine and you plow through your to-do list. One too many and you get the jitters. It's the same right now. The best way to maintain balance is to know what the extremes look like for you.
Helpful Energy: A happy buzz that propels you out of bed in the morning. The confidence and clarity to start a project you've been thinking about for a while. A voice inside that says, "You can do it!"
Hurtful Energy: When the buzz lasts too long and anxiousness sets in. A voice inside that says, "How will I get this all done?"
You have probably felt both before and will again. Our goal is to help you be more aware of what's happening. So, pay attention. When "I can do that, and that, and that!" starts to happen, you'll know your September buzz is a bit too high and it's time to take it down a notch. [See #3 for how to do that.]
2) Keep a running tally
The ideas that flood your brain in early September can seem like they are the best ever, and like they have a time limit. "These are so good, I should do all of them as soon as possible!"
It's just not true. It's just September talking.
Rather than have an argument in your head and not get anything accomplished, keep a notebook handy or create a second page of your Today list. As soon as a new idea comes to you, write it down. Then go back to the original thing you were working on.
**Don't do anything about your new idea for at least one hour** and up to a week. That includes the email you think you should send right now because the words just came to you in a moment of genius. Write it all down and sit on it for a while.
Forcing yourself to take time is how balance happens. When it's too late you'll be desperate for it, so think of this as doing your future self a favor.
3) When anxiety strikes
It happens. The cappuccino was so good you had to have a second. People responded so well to your presentation, you had to accept two more immediate requests. Yesterday, I had five people contact me about meeting and I thought I should try to schedule all of them for this week.
It's a good problem, right? Only after do you realize what you've done to yourself. Your heart races, jaw clenches and you have no idea what to do.
That's why the first step was to recognize what your version of overwhelm looks and feels like, and why the second step was to build in time buffers so you don't commit to more than you can reasonably accomplish.
Doing those channels your newfound energy into brainstorming big ideas (write them down!) and finishing what's already on your plate while you determine what is really worthwhile to pursue. Slow and steady, slow and steady.
When you notice you're saying yes to every opportunity in front of you, matters need to be taken immediately in order to prevent the full slide.
- Stand up.
- Deeply inhale and exhale five times.
- Take a walk.
- Drink a glass of water.
- Take a nap.
Add in others you know help you. Play with your dog. Buy yourself flowers. Look up at the clouds. Sing a song in your car. Window shop. Clean your bathroom (surprisingly cathartic). Turn Off Your Phone.
How do you tame your September buzz? Post your ideas in comments!
Wishing you the perfect combination of energy & balance. You can do it!