5 Lessons to Leverage “Back to School” Time

It’s back to school time. You’ve been bombarded with ads for sales on jeans, pencils (do they still sell those?), computers, and more. In my state, K-12 went back to school today and universities start next week.

I love back to school time. There’s a renewed energy and optimism in the air – a fresh start.

It’s time to leverage the same “back to school” feelings in your career and workplace. Here’s my five lessons to leverage from “Back to School” time:

1) New Clothes – New school year often means a few new clothes. My mom always gave me $200 and let me decide how to spend it across jeans, shoes, tshirts, and the boring basics (underwear, socks). Use this time to rethink your wardrobe – are you wearing the same suit you’ve worn for 10 years? Are your pants fading into misery? Do you look like a pro or schmo at work?

2) Pick Your Class Schedule – I loved picking my schedule in college. Hearing about what professors were good, what courses were interesting, and also hitting the mandatory requirements. Use this time to think about how you are spending your time at work – yes you have mandatory requirements (your explicit day-to-day) but what other elective courses can you pick-up (volunteer to be on a committee, tack a new training, etc)

3) Befriend Your Teachers – My wife is a professor and she always encourages students to stop by office hours especially at the beginning of the year. It helps put a name on a face and understand what each other are trying to learn. Most bosses (and bosses’ bosses) have a version of office hours. Use this time to make a concerted effort to stop by, say hello, introduce a new idea to your leadership

4) Reunite with Old Friends – During the summer, I got to spend time with my best friends but I rarely saw my casual friends. Going back to school was the time to reconnect with others & resurrect old friendships. Use this time to do the same at work – remember Bob on the 2nd floor who you haven’t talked to in 5 months, your former co-worker who moved on that you haven’t spoken to in awhile, Susan who was on the project committee with you but haven’t talked to since it ended.

5) Get Organized – As a parent, back to school means getting organized again – carpool routines, planning lunches, babysitting and after-care arrangements, and that’s just the beginning. Use this time to get organized at work – what’s your regular meeting calendars, is your to-do system working, any way to better be on top of emails and assignments?

What do you do for “Back to School”?

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