Tips to reset and refocus after Summer

Productivity expert Moira Dunne discusses the importance of a September reset to help stay calm and be productive. Read on for four key reset tips.

After the distractions and downtime of summer, September offers a chance to reset and refocus. There is a ‘back to school’ feeling as we settle into our work routines. It can feel like a mini–New Year and we often vow to make changes or try new things.

It doesn’t take long for business and work life to ramp back up and before we know it, we are back on that busy treadmill. Our relaxed ‘summer vibe’ disappears and stress can kick in as we consider all the things we need to get done.

“Be realistic about the time available for extra projects. Q4 is always a busy time when it comes to service or product delivery”

In this article, we discuss the importance of a September Reset to help stay calm and be productive. Read on for 4 key Reset tips.

Tip 1: Reset your Mind

Before proceeding into the busy months ahead, it is important to reset your mind. This means, taking stock of where you are and how you feel. Review the year to date and consider if anything needs to change to boost your productivity:

  • What is working well for you in work, business or personal life?
  • What has prevented your progress so far this year?

Consider September as a clean slate, a time to reset. Don’t dwell on things you haven’t done. Use any frustration as a motivator to reset and reboot.

When you identify what is preventing your progress in business or life in general, what can improve this?

  • Outsourcing work
  • Additional resource
  • Additional childcare support
  • A more productive routine

Assess your mindset and energy levels. Do you feel motivated and energised for the busy months ahead? Or do you feel exhausted? What is this telling you? What can you change?

Our motivation can be boosted with simple changes like a new exercise routine or a different office layout. Even new stationery can help, as we all remember from our school days! Or maybe you need some personal motivation like a new hobby or signing up for a new course.

Tip 2: Reset your Goals

Next review the business goals you set at the start of 2023. Have new ones emerged since? Can others be removed as they are no longer relevant?

To help prioritise, project forward to the end of the year and ask yourself, “what will make this year a success?” What are the most important things to achieve? What will make a difference in my business between now and the end of December?

Be realistic about the time available for extra projects. Q4 is always a busy time when it comes to service or product delivery. Is there any time left when you and your team deliver the day-to-day tasks?

Narrow that project list down to the most valuable goals for delivery by the end of 2023. Anything else, can be replanned for Q1 2024.

Tip 3: Reset your Plans

“A goal without a plan is just a wish”*. This is one of my favourite sayings as it is so true! Things happen when: 1) we make a plan and 2) follow through on that plan.

This doesn’t have to be a complicated exercise. Simply ask yourself, “what work needs to be done to deliver this goal”? Or brainstorm with your team to get their ideas.

You are drilling down the high-level goal into sub-goals or actions. With a list of actions, you can add target dates and who’s responsible for delivery.

People often find it difficult to break a goal down into actions. So here is an approach relating to a personal goal, that works for business goals too:

A. What is your goal?              

I want to improve my fitness this year

B. Why do you want to do this?

For health benefits, to eat and sleep better

C. When do you want to achieve this?

I want to get fit enough to run a 5km race by the end of the year

D. What do I need to do? List the tasks…

  • Buy Running Shoes
  • Download a running app
  • Look up race dates
  • Register for a race
  • Make a training plan
  • Exercise each week
  • Run the race
  • Review and plan next race

Now you have a tangible Task list that you can action straight away. The vagueness is removed and, as a result, you are less likely to procrastinate.

To use this approach in business, have a planning session with colleagues to brainstorm ideas. Capture the tasks with flipcharts or online collaborative tools like Whiteboard or Trello. Then transfer the tasks into a project plan.

If you need a planning tool, you can download the Q4 2023 Planner Template from the Resources section of our website.

Tip 4: Reset your work routine

Now you have a prioritised plan of work that is actionable. Finding time in the work schedule can be hard during the last few months of the year. Be proactive and make changes ahead of time.

A good weekly plan helps people be productive. Here are some key time management and planning tips:

  1. Each Friday afternoon take 10 to 15 minutes to look ahead at what is coming down the tracks.
  2. Anticipate issues and plan ahead for the important things. This helps you take control of your time and gives you a greater chance of switching over the weekend.
  3. Identify up to 3 key things to get done the following week. This can include some work on your goals or important operational tasks.
  4. Don’t leave it to chance. Proactively block time in your diary for this work. Label each time block with your target task.
  5. Protect this time as other requests arise, particularly new requests relating to less important work.
  6. If you need prioritise something new, make sure you reschedule the time block that week, so you don’t lose momentum.

This is ‘Time Blocking’, a productivity technique that allows you make progress with your planned work while still being available most of the day for your clients or colleagues.

Be Productive in Q4

How great would it feel to finish the year on a high? Now is the time to reset your focus for a productive Q4.

Best of luck and if you need any help planning your goals just contact me at

Develop Your Productivity Skills

At we recommend that you: 1) tweak these productivity tips to find what works best in your business and 2) stretch yourself so you can achieve more.

We help people in business develop productive working routines to enhance personal and team effectiveness through our Productivity Workshops, Seminars and my signature Productivity Course.

* “A goal without a plan is just a wish” is attributed to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a poet and hero fighter pilot in World War II.

Main image at top: Photo by Matt Ragland on Unsplash

Moira Dunne
Productivity consultant Moira Dunne is founder and director of