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From Downtime To Go-Time: Tips For Transitioning From A Mellow Summer To A Focused Fall



How much fun did you have this summer? We hope you took some time out during the hottest months to relax, recharge and reboot. If you’re a parent as well as a business owner, we know it’s pretty likely you put your regular work schedule on hold (not always an easy thing, of course) to keep your kiddos happy and entertained.


But let’s face it: We’re already counting down to the first day back at school. That means you’ll soon be deep into your crazy, caffeinated, 24/7 routine, too. The transition from downtime to go-time isn’t always easy. Instead of wistfully watching the leaves begin to turn, consider these tips from your fellow entrepreneurs on how to jump back into a routine that can help you stay motivated, productive and organized – in winter, spring, summer and fall.


Routine matters


Have you thought much about how you start each busy business day? Our sources (that’s all of you!) swear their first-thing-in-the-morning routine is critical for getting the day’s tasks, projects and goals under control -- and staying that way. Ariane Scholl, a candle-maker in Batavia, IL, tells us:


“When I’ve got a lot going on, I get organized by writing down the top three things I need to get done that day, and I try not to get distracted. I’m not the most organized person, but creative people are supposed to be messily organized, right? Having deadlines and small targets keep me in line.”


(Ariane shares more ideas about staying organized here.)


Online marketing and web design expert Skip Blankley begins his day by taking a close look at his project- and sales pipeline. Using Pipedrive, he knows at a glance if he should be developing a proposal, researching project or following up on a lead. Skip admits he wasn’t always so committed to keeping a strict routine.


 “For the longest time I wasn’t measuring anything,” he admits. “But time is the most valuable asset we have, so you need to track how much of it you’re spending and where.”


Not quite convinced of the power of a routine? Here’s a step-by-step article to guide you through a daily writing process to help you stay organized, focused and on track. The accompanying PDF shows you exactly what to do!


Beyond routine: ritual


San Francisco product design- and branding guru Sarah Harrison advises entrepreneurs (and everyone, really) to begin each day with an activity that “centers and inspires you.” We couldn’t agree more! Here are five tips and insights from Sarah about having a morning ritual that’s both precious -- and critical to her success.


  • Sarah’s morning ritual begins the night before, when she pulls out her planner and maps out the next day. As a result, she’s free to have sweet dreams before getting up and following the plan.
  • Sarah loves her morning ritual (and you should love yours, too!). Here it is: She gets up at 6 a.m. and does some light exercise and stretching. Then she does a short meditation. After that, she takes a shower, gets dressed, walks her dog, takes her vitamins and eats breakfast. Only after she's finished her morning routine does she tackle the task of looking at her inbox or checking social media.
  • Sarah fiercely protects her morning-ritual time. She doesn’t let a client or a deadline ever interrupt it. Not easy -- but worth it.
  • She avoids morning distractions at all cost. Sarah created a general rule for herself that she doesn't look at email or social media until after she's dressed for the day. 
  • She writes down everything. Over time, Sarah has discovered putting things in writing is key to having a morning ritual that sets the tone for a successful, productive day.


Want to learn more? Sarah shares tons more valuable information about creating a powerful morning ritual in this great interview.


Sip some inspiration with your morning Joe


 There’s something wonderful about easing into your day with a solid dose of positivity. Turns out plenty of you hard-working self-starters set yourselves up for a great day ahead by reading a few moving, inspiring or challenging quotes. We’re sharing just a few:


  • “I don't have to. I get to.” (Shared by Robert Hernandez in Henderson, NV.)
  • “If the door won't open, it’s not your door!” (Shared by Maura X, an author in Boston.)
  • “One day or day one? You choose.” (Amarpreet Singh, an entrepreneur in India, adds, “I love inspirational quotes from the Instagram channel brandlitic.”)
  • "Challenge, accepted!” (Shared by Rebecca Violette, a trauma performance-improvement coordinator in Westbrook, ME.)
  • “No one is famous for what they were going to do.” (Shared by Palo-Alto-based designer Thomas Aaron.)

Goals welcome (lofty and otherwise)


There’s no need to wait until New Year’s Eve to set goals for the year ahead. Instead, think about projects or ideas you’re excited to start tackling right now. Whether you set out to achieve your milestones by the end of the day, the week, the month or even the year, clarifying goals and setting intentions in writing gets you a step closer to making them a reality. So dream small – or big!


Gary Donald, a civil engineer in Las Vegas, wrote list of seven goals he wanted to cross off his list by year's end:

  • Write a book or create a series of video tutorials. I want to share my career experiences and guide those who feel trapped.
  • Read one book every month.
  • Take an executive management course from a reputed B-school.
  • Make more “me” time, just meditating or doing the things I love.
  • Spend more time with my mother, who is getting old.
  • Give to the poor and needy.
  • Enroll in more skills-based courses online (Coursera, Udemy).


In District Heights, MD, professional life coach Athena Thomas set (and began achieving) these short- and long-term goals: “I want to write and build a following for my blog. I know I am very late answering this. But that is exactly what I did this year. My goal was to have 100 followers by the end of the year. I am six people away.” (Go, Athena!) 


Bruce Marmy, an expert in electrical installations, shared this from Sabinal, NM: “I want to build my company and get some new customers.” Oh, and don’t forget this: “Stay alive.”


Thanks for keeping our priorities straight, Bruce!


Now it’s your turn!


QB Community members, if you’ve “chilled out” during the hot summer, how do you gear up for a busy and focused fall?


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