Autumn can be a new start
I’ve always liked September. In its way it provides just as much of a new start as January, but with much more pleasant weather. When you think about it, some of the biggest changes in your life tend to come in September: you only have to stand outside any school gate at this time of year to be reminded of that. I also got married in September, 15 years ago now, which was nothing if not a new start. Nowadays, as well as celebrating our anniversary, of course, I find it a wonderful month for making changes and getting things done before all good intentions are swept away in the pre-Christmas rush.
Sometimes riding this wave of energy just helps me continue in the same direction. For example, I’m going to maintain my efforts to increase the proportion of work I do within my specialisations, turning down other jobs unless really necessary. At the beginning of the year this was a target I set myself and so far things have been going well. In fact, I’m currently working on not one but two large history-related projects – my favourite area of all – and, as one of them in particular has a long deadline, it’s going to be quite easy to pick and choose the other work I do until the end of the year.
Away from the computer, I’m determined to keep up the regular exercise I’ve discussed in a previous blog post, going swimming several times a week in a local pool. This has lapsed somewhat over the summer because it’s more difficult to keep going when my son is on holiday from school, but it was such a positive change (one I in fact made last September) that I would be crazy not to continue it.
Then there are things I want to do differently. Readers of this blog will know that I still have the feeling that I’m not doing enough in terms of active marketing to maintain the good progress I have mentioned in attracting work in my specialist areas. So, I have decided to make a commitment to researching and approaching one potential new customer a week between now and Christmas. Watch this space for more blog posts about that.
I’ve also been meaning for some time to get some training about the latest version of my CAT tool, MemoQ. I’ve now taken advantage of the September impulse and signed up for a webinar in a couple of weeks on advanced use of the program. I’m hoping improved knowledge of MemoQ’s capabilities could bring me some productivity improvements.
The September energy rush also leads me to tackle other problems, some of which have been dragging on for months. I am, for example, now finally changing my mobile phone to replace one that has been driving me mad for a long time with its inefficiency. I am also planning to replace the laptop computer I use to write this blog, which is also affected by various faults making it very irritating to use. (Incidentally, if someone can recommend me a good, reliable make and model of laptop I’d be grateful for the tip. I’ve never yet found one I like, and my wife and I have been through a few between us).
I’ve also bought a gadget to solve another problem in the small office I share with my wife – the fact we have to share a printer. Now we will be able to switch simply between one computer and another rather than having to unplug one cable and plug another one in. It’s not absolutely vital, but it’s a small inconvenience I could have resolved at any time. What was needed for me to take the step of actually doing it was the energy and determination I tend to feel in September. If I hadn’t ridden that wave, the inconvenience would probably have continued until another burst of energy I’m unlikely to feel again until January next year.
I should stress that I’m not setting myself up as an example on this point, simply observing the way I tend to operate. I don’t really know if its a good thing to do things in this way or whether I should be more constant. In fact, I’d be very interested to know if other people work like me, with bursts of problem-solving energy to change things at certain times of year. Or do you manage to even out your efforts over 12 months? Please feel free to leave a comment.