31 August 2007

Summer's over?

Summer's over, time to hunker down

Ignacio Oreamuno says he thinks that Canadian summers are kind of weird. Born in the perpetual summer atmosphere of Costa Rica, Oreamuno finds himself frustrated that very little gets done around the office when so many people are off on vacation. “For the last two months, no one has made any decisions, no one has written any e-mails back, no one has called me back,” says Oreamuno, who runs the ad industry website ihaveanidea.org in Toronto. “It's like all of Canada just stopped.” Ah, those lazy, hazy days of summer. But they're coming to an end. Labour Day signals the start of a busier pace around the office, with more people back at their desks and projects put back on the table for the final sprint to the end of the year. And like many managers ready to kick-start their teams, Oreamuno is set to send an e-mail to his staff that says: “Hey! We're not an vacation any more! You've actually got to get things done!” But adjusting to that sudden seasonal switch back to hunkered-down work mode can be difficult. So what can employees and managers do to avoid a post-summer slump and find motivation to get back into gear once Labour Day rolls around?

Career coach Nina Spencer, president of Nina Spencer & Associates, says to start preparing for the change of pace by looking forward to what autumn brings. For example, Spencer says that she eventually tires of the laziness that takes over her body in the summer months, and looks forward to shaking it off. She suggests workers focus on what is good about that little bit of healthy stress that helps keep your work ethic in check - “that little positive tension that spurs you on.” She also suggests making a list of 10 things that you love about your job. That, she says, can help get you in the mood to let go of the vacation mindset, and get back to work. Renewed vigour means autumn is also the time to put your summer dreams into action. “If you've got a desire to do something, then now is the time to act on it because it's still fresh in your mind,” suggests career coach Randall Craig, president of Pinetree Advisors. Managers can help refocus their teams by setting clear deadlines and specific goals so that everyone knows what the expectations are and how to meet them, the pros say. Craig adds that holding on to a little piece of summer is another great way to help the transition into fall. He suggests finding a way to incorporate summer habits, such as jogging with your spouse or reading novels, into your year-round schedule.
(Globe and Mail 070831)

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