Miss That 'Back to School' Feeling? Here's How to Get It Back
Remember that old back to school feeling? A little bit of apprehension, a touch of excitement and even a little relief that a summer that was starting to get a bit boring was coming to an end. Whatever the academic merits of the traditional American school calendar, it does serve to break the year up and offer a period to refresh, re-experience boredom (and by doing so remind yourself of the benefits of work) and reflect to prepare for a new push of activity ahead.
Most of us workers with our far more meager vacation allowances have no such luck. Sure, parents may be caught up in their kid’s back-to-school preparations, but is there a way for all business owners to capitalize on the rhythms of the school year and recapture a bit of that back-to-school bump in energy?
A Shiny New Pencil Box?
One way, according to author Pamela Slim is to follow in the footsteps of five-year-olds and take advantage of the excitement of new supplies. Just like a trip to pick up new binders, colorful highlighters and crisp, untouched loose leaf paper sparks the imagination and enthusiasm of students, adults can create a bit of fresh start at work simply by investing in simple but satisfying changes to their workspace or supply cabinet.
Hang up a new picture, add a few potted plants, indulge in that fancy coffee machine or break down and finally by that gorgeous new tablet you’ve been eying. It might be a little bad for the budget, but in this video Slim reminds up it can do wonders for our productivity, mentally marking off the end of one period, hitting a sort of reset button and giving us a clean start for the busy fall period.
Buying new stuff may seem like a shallow way to reset your mentality, but look back on years of back-to-school shopping and you’ll see that paired with a bit of reflection on the value of the work ahead and limits of leisure and it can be a surprisingly effective ritual.
The Cold-Hard Cash Approach
If it’s less of a boost to your energy levels you need and more of a boost to your revenues, then back-to-school offers other opportunities, according to a recent post by Barry Moltz.
Sure, if you’re in the backpack or notebook business, you’re going to do bumper sales in August and September, but even if your company has nothing directly to do with back to school, the new academic year and the impulse for a new beginning it brings (see above) can probably be leveraged for marketing purposes.
"If your business does not directly provide products for this industry, tie content marketing and promotions to some type of ‘higher education’ or ‘fresh start’ for the consumer. For example, this can be learning a new skill (yoga, Latin dancing or French). September is also typically a time to restart and learn a new way of solving a problem. This can be buying a new car, remodeling the kitchen, changing vendors or planning the next vacation," he writes, adding that "any marketing promotion can become relevant by using the traditional grading system like 'an A+ deal.' Content marketing with targeted landing pages can also be used by your company so buyers searching for back to school keywords will find on your content."
Want to read more of Moltz’s ideas? Check out the complete post.
How do you reset and refocus at the end of summer?
JESSICA STILLMAN | Columnist
Jessica Stillman is a freelance writer based in London with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM, and Brazen Careerist.