Back to School and Work


Anyone else notice something different in the air at the office? It might be the first whiffs of the famous/infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte filling the air, or it might be the buzz of kinetic energy signaling that we have just started to enter the most productive few weeks of the year. And I think I finally know why…

For years, I was mystified as to why the Thought Ensemble “Bat-Phone” would start ringing more frequently right around Labor Day – kicking off our busy season. Back in our early days, we mostly did strategic planning, so we believed this increase in calls to be the result of a combination of people finally getting around to strategic projects late in the year and others getting moving on planning for the following year. Our work is steadier now that we do a broader set of services, but I still see a pickup in the frequency of requests to help with strategic work in the fall and find it fascinating.

But now, I think I understand. With a kindergartner and a first grader, this whole “back to school” madness I saw advertised on TV for years is suddenly very real for me. Like others through the summer, I wanted to maximize the precious time I had with my kids by going on vacations, taking late afternoons at the pool, and enjoying late nights at the movies. But now that the summer is over, I feel the collective exhaustion, and sigh of relief, from parents, students, and colleagues ready to get back to their normal routines. I can’t tell you how many moms (and some dads) shared with me how on edge they were by the end of the summer and how happy they are now to be on the other side of the transition into the new school year.

I feel it. I have been totally strategic, but also laser focused, through the last couple of weeks. I see it at our clients as well. There’s a flurry of concentrated activity as people gear up to finish off the year strong, while also getting motivated for 2019 and thinking about how to get out ahead of it. And,  according to this Forbes study, we haven’t even quite hit the peak yet, with October tending to be the most productive month of the year.

The best thing to do is to run with it and channel this precious time for all it is worth. With the holiday decorations already on display at Costco, Halloween will be here before we know it and then the turkey coma will kick in and it’ll be all downhill from there…