Jumpstart Your Productivity in September

a September calendar, a to-do list with items checked off, and a red pen

Write down your goals and action items!


It’s amazing how the yearly routine of going back to school can become so deeply ingrained in the brain. We get used to it as children, then do it all again as we raise our own children.
My children are done with school now, but I still feel an instinctive boost in motivation coming on every fall, and I always end up becoming more productive.

If you get that back-to-school feeling too, take advantage of it!
Now is a great time to form new habits that will help you boost your productivity.


  • Get up earlier each morning! You can use those extra hours as a time to be productive with no interruptions — enjoy a healthy breakfast while you plan out your day. 
  • Write out your goals! What do you want to get done today, this week, this month? Get them on paper (or a screen if you prefer) so you can see them laid out in a concrete form.
  • Write down your action items — things you need to do in order to accomplish your goals. Tasks, appointments, calls, and more can all be counted as action items. Break larger action items down into multiple steps as needed; being able to check off these smaller items will make seemingly major tasks less intimidating.
  • Once you’ve written down as much as you can, organize your action items by rewriting them in your calendar and/or planner.
  • Aim to complete 3 to 5 action items every day — whether they’re big or small, every action item you complete is another step closer to your goals! As you become more efficient over time, you may be able to fit more action items into your day, just don’t put too many.  You want to feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of your day. 

It doesn’t have to be all work and no play, though — remember to reward yourself for staying focused by making time to do what makes you happy! Plan at least some off-time to be exclusively for your favorite hobbies, quality time with loved ones, or whatever else helps you relax and recharge. 

Also, you may find it helpful to plan a larger reward for yourself as an incentive to finish a larger goal. So, the more productive you become, the more you get to treat yourself! You can look back on your list of completed action items and feel even better.

Make a commitment to yourself to stay on track with your goals every day, and you may just surprise yourself with how much you can accomplish!


Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.

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