8 Autumn Productivity Tips

A Dali Halloween Here in Korea, fall is finally sweeping the peninsula, and I think it’s time I made a confession: Everyday, I fight a battle to keep my morbid streak  at bay.

I don’t obsess over death, but occasionally, when I’m feeling particularly dark and lazy, I ask myself:  “if you died today, would you be satisfied with the things you did and the words you spoke to the people you loved?”

I know, that is pretty damn dark way to motivate myself, but it is effective. Never underestimate the power of guilt, shame and fear for getting things done.

If I haven’t scared you off yet, here are some less creepy tips for making the most of this beautiful, creepy time of year.

1. Stockpile the useful stuff In preparation for a long winter, squirrels  grow a layer of fat and stockpile nuts. I’m not suggesting you get physically fat, but think about the things that will sustain you. Do you have good books, a big list of ideas, projects, and goals to work on for the winter?

2. Get rid of the extra stuff At the same time, the squirrel can only fit so much stuff in his nest. Too many nuts and the whole thing could come crashing down. Everything, even ephemeral ideas, take up mental space. Now is the time to take a hard look at the things you’re doing and ask yourself if they can sustain through the winter.  This leads to the next point…

3. Let things die When the leaves fall to the ground and rot, they fertilize the soil, allowing other plants to flourish. Fall reminds us that some things die so that others  might live. Same with projects. I’ve had to abandon a music project I’d put a lot of time into in order to pursue other goals. While I’m sad to let this die, the other things I’m working on are keeping me satisfied.

4. Plant ideas for spring September is the time to plant tulip bulbs. During the winter, the bulbs rest, get comfortable, and prepare for a beautiful explosion in the spring.  Like planting tulip bulbs, now is the time to plant your own ideas about what you want to do in the spring. To develop a new skill, save for a trip, or get a creative project up and running, you’ll need several months. Start now and work through the winter.

5. Prepare for the End Fall is a great reminder that the year is coming to a close. If you want to finish the year with a win, you still have time to wrap up some projects and complete some goal you set back in January. You’ve got about ten weeks left in 2009. When you realize the end is growing closer, it’s hard to ignore those things you’ve been so diligently ignoring.

6. One Last Hurrah Just like the trees’ brief change, fall is a time for one last hurrah. Whether it’s a camping trip in the mountains, an outdoor art exhibition, or an impromptu outdoor concert, now is your best last chance for a big outdoor adventure. Enjoy the weather while it lasts; the one last hurrah is a good preventative for burnout and cabin fever.

7. Embrace the dark Let’s face it: fall is a creepy time. Around the world, different traditions honor or celebrate the dead. Some craft terrifying masks to scare bad spirits, some offer feasts fCreator their ancestors, and some burn money to bring comfort to the walking dead. If there is a spirit world and if there’s a veil that separate it from ours, it is definitely thin during fall.

8. Take Time to Play and Celebrate Traditionally, fall is a time for harvest festivals. After a hard, hot summer of working in the fields, people celebrated the fact they had enough food to survive the winter. They were happy because they knew they wouldn’t die of starvation. Talk  about appreciating the simple things.

While few of us are farm workers today, I have a feeling that, as humans, this need to celebrate the harvest is hard-wired into our brains.  If you’ve ever jumped in a pile of leaves, you know what I’m talking about. Plus, what other time of the year can you dress like a zombie and cover your house in macabre decorations?

Over to you: Let’s have your best high school essay thesis 😉 What does fall mean to you?

Photo Credit: Oddsock

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  • NunoXEI October 21, 2009, 10:56 am

    Great list. I’ve been finally letting certain projects die officially the last 2 months. It hurt to see them go after years of involvement, but they were just taking up too much time to sustain in their “dying” moments. Clear the palette and move on to new things!

  • Leighann Garber November 3, 2009, 6:39 am

    Great article. I like these ideas. I love analogies!

    Number 8 really goes along with my article I wrote about the harvest season (and this also answers your question of what fall means to me):