If you’re like many individuals across the country, the fall season represents an exciting time each year. You’ve made it through this year’s version of the summer doldrums, and thus have recently concluded what friends, family, and envious neighbors can only concede has been a highly productive few months. A typical you has successfully met the challenges of the finer points of lawn maintenance, planned and executed the “best ever” family get-a-way, and completed an astounding 93% of the significant other’s to-do list. You’re riding high – and after one last celebratory barbecue, it’s time to map your strategy to keep it going. But don’t worry – as the premier organization for the development of individuals 18 – 40, the Jaycees are ready to help prepare you to end the year strong. Whether getting involved in an exciting project to help the community, learning new business skills from your local chapter’s guest speakers, or making sure you get a solid start to the last three months of school or work for 2014, there are a few simple reminders to help you stay on a productive track through the end of the year.

First, set reasonable goals for your achievements. There’s no point in creating a list of tasks that would challenge your ability to accomplish them in the first nine months of the year, much less the final three. Overestimating your available time and rate of progress can not only lead to inflated, unreasonable expectations by your colleagues and associates, but also destroy any positive momentum you have made during the first three quarters of the year.

Second, be the first to fall. While sounding like a recipe for disaster, the context is much more positive – get enthusiastic and embrace post-Labor Day productivity. Start planning as early as you can and hit the ground running after you’ve enjoyed a nice, relaxing holiday. While others are slowly working their way up to full speed, you’ll be performing in high gear – and seeing the positive results!

Finally, make new connections. For many of us, once September rolls around there is a tendency to focus on our specific tasks or projects that must be accomplished by year’s end. Unfortunately, this often leads to an inward focus that ignores potential resources that could play a role in improving results. Don’t be afraid to explore previously untapped human and organizational resources to support your specific efforts. Your fellow Jaycees, for example, offer an abundance of previous experience and fresh ideas that you can take advantage of…not just to help solve problems, but also overcome these challenges in new and improved ways.

We’d love to hear from you about your plans for the fall. Are you considering launching a new project? Are you wrapping up an existing one? Let us know what you’re up to on Facebook and Twitter, and make inspiring other Jaycees one of your “must-dos” by the end of the year!