Back-to-school season signals the end of summer. It’s an opportunity for all of us to pause and hit a proverbial reset button as we settle into a fall routine. I am a teacher, so back-to-school truly does require me to radically readjust my schedule. The summer luxuries of sleeping in and dedicating time to my reading list and home projects are difficult to let go (check out my posts about my summer reading list and tips for home renovation if you missed them!). However, I always look forward to the continuity of my teaching schedule and the chance to establish productive habits that I know will benefit me and my students.
Today I’m sharing my tips for settling into a new fall routine. These ideas will inspire you to create habits that will make for a productive and happy new season.
Prepare for the next day the night before
Summer work schedules are often more relaxed than other times of the year. So, finding time to accomplish menial tasks can be overwhelming once schedules start to pick up in the fall. For me, an early wake-up call means that I often feel rushed in the morning. Packing my lunch and choosing an outfit the night before are seemingly small tasks. However, they make me feel more prepared for the next day and give me a more enjoyable morning. I plan to make enough food for dinner to take leftovers to work the next day. I also like to keep groceries for making sandwiches on hand for nights when we don’t have leftovers.
Set productive before and after work habits
Here’s a common scenario for me: I hit the snooze button two or three times in the morning. Then, I rally to wake up and get ready for the day. Because I’ve snoozed, I’m crunched for time. I barely have a moment to grab a granola bar and the coffee cup Bertie has waiting for me before I’m out the door. After work, I sit on the couch exhausted. A Netflix show comes on and it will automatically begin playing the next episode until I peel myself off the couch to do something more productive, only to find that the bed isn’t made and the kitchen is a mess because I left in such a rush. I’m left feeling overwhelmed and in a perpetual state of “busy.”
For those of you who resonate with even a part of this scenario, I can help. Let me share some parts of my routine that have helped me accomplish more yet keep from feeling too overwhelmed.
- I press snooze once at the most and take two minutes each morning to make the bed. Coming home to a tidy room surprisingly helps me maintain a productive mindset for the rest of the day.
- Instead of turning on a television show after work (that can be oh-so-easy to let roll into the next episode!), I take a few minutes to make a cup of tea, relax, and maybe read a magazine to decompress.
- After work, I set one goal I’d like to accomplish. Completing that task is manageable and helps me feel productive.
Plan time in your routine to do something you enjoy
While setting goals, I also make it a habit to stop and do something I enjoy at the end of the day. It’s definitely been such a pick-me-up in creating a fall routine! Bertie and I love to make dinner together and watch a show after we eat. Sometimes we’ll pick up books we’re reading and sit in our new library room side-by-side and just enjoy our books and each other’s company. Other times I’ll enjoy catching up on my favorite blogs or do some online shopping. Whether your time is spent with your family or doing something peaceful on your own, I recommend setting this time aside and allowing yourself to use it!
“Life starts over again when it gets crisp in the fall,” writes F. Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby. Like Gatsby’s narrator, Nick Carraway, I’ve always agreed that fall is just as much a time for renewal as springtime. I hope you enjoy the transition to the fall season and take some time to create some intentional habits that will fit your lifestyle!
Jordan is a writer, educator, artist, and all-around lover of words. An English teacher by day, she is also a classically trained singer and pursues creativity in many forms—from singing and writing, to creating artwork and designing spaces to host family and friends.