The first Monday of each month, I dust off a favorite post from the Bennis Inc Blog archives and give you another chance to enjoy the wit and wisdom that’s been shared. Enjoy this month’s treasure – and if it inspires you – be sure to share it with family and friends!
Should your workflow change with the seasons?
It’s an interesting question. So often when it comes to workload and efficiency, we feel like consistency and stability should be the goal. These are certainly good things to have in your career, but I want you to consider why allowing your work to ebb and flow with the seasons (and your mood and lifestyle) can be the best thing you will do for your overall work ethic and productivity.
Not convinced that allowing “seasonality” to your workflow will result in a more productive year? Consider the impact of these points.
Different seasons bring out different strengths and weaknesses in our personality.
I often joke that I’m a better person in the summer months. What I really mean is, summer is when I come alive. I have certain strengths in my personality that are more prominent in the summer months because I am someone who appreciates ample sunshine, the sound of birds singing, longer daylight hours and warm (even hot) weather. I feel a surge of energy in the summer that’s different from any other season.
I can’t fail to mention that there are some weaknesses that emerge in the summertime that stand to impact my workflow as well. I don’t have the same drive to seek out new clients or projects, rather I prefer to maintain the workload I have for a while, while enjoying more leisurely activities. And that’s okay! The more we are in tune to the strengths and weaknesses that are amplified in each season, the better we can give ourselves grace and also work with ourselves, not against ourselves.
Changing seasons breathe new life and creativity into our work.
I think, for the most part, we can all agree that we feel different in each season. For some, it’s subtle, hardly noticeable, but it’s still there. For others, it’s a prominent difference that may cause you to make major changes in your job or life. Wherever you land on the spectrum, the best thing you can do is to learn how the seasons impact your creativity. Why? Because you can then apply this toward your workflow in that season.
Does winter make you feel serious, spring energetic, or fall emotional? Harness this and apply it to whatever project you’re working on at the time! If possible, be selective with the types of projects you take on in any given season and choose the ones that will thrive off of your mood.
We feel different in summer than we do in winter – work with it, not against it!
Inevitably there will be work tasks that must be completed year-round. If I’m being honest, I am never in the mood for accounting and invoicing. Changing your workflow with the seasons doesn’t give you a pass to be lazy or irresponsible with these vital work tasks. Rather, it should empower you to pay attention to your mood and prioritize projects that you’re most inspired to take on. Those reoccurring tasks, like accounting, still need to get done, but at least you’ll have passion projects lined up to inspire you to get them off your plate so you can then enjoy the tasks that align with your mood that season.
Vacations aren’t enough, sometimes we need a season to pause.
Finally and most importantly, we must come to realize that vacations aren’t enough. I (sometimes) allow myself a weeklong break from work, usually in the summertime, to visit the beach or simply enjoy a “stay-cation.” But is that one week really enough to provide us the rest of rebalance to get through the other 51 weeks in a year? Hardly!
I among not yet among those who are fortunate to take mini-retirements or sabbaticals from my workload, however I can still provide myself rest and time for reflection by choosing to decrease my workload in a season. Think of it like taking a boiling pot off high heat and allowing it to simmer for a while. If you’ve been “boiling” in your workload for months on end, you are overdue for some time to “simmer.” And to continue with that cooking analogy, simmering is when the richness of flavor really comes out. So just think what a season of simmering can then do for your creativity, focus, and inspiration!
Do you agree that it’s better to allow your workflow to shift with the seasons? Or do you prefer to keep things the same year round? Share your opinion and reasons by leaving a comment below!