Let's be honest: for most of us, August isn't the best month for focused productivity. Thanks to vacationing colleagues, restless kids, and hot weather, now generally isn't the time for buckling down and ploughing through important projects.

But just because summer isn't always excellent for short-term productivity, doesn't mean you can't put the period to use ensuring much greater long-term achievement. By taking this down time to really reflect on the course of your work and life, you can ensure that when you're back up to full speed you're actually running in the right direction.

How do you do that? Writer Alexandra Franzen has a great template to get you started. Her list of ten questions for a life check-up are intended for use at the half-year mark, but can easily be adapted to suit a bit of summer self-reflection.

They'll help you adjust your goals, rethink strategy, and ponder what really matters, so that in September you're all set to get off to a productive and happy start to the final stretch of the year:

  1. What were my goals at the beginning of this year?

  2. Are my goals the same--or have things changed?

  3. Is there something I've been doing lately--like a writing project, a business project, or any kind of project or commitment--that's not feeling "right" anymore? Do I need to keep doing it? What would happen if I just stopped?

  4. What's something I'm sick of hearing myself say, over and over? Like, "I really need to start..." "I really need to stop..." "Seriously, for real, this week I will..."

  5. What's something I definitely want to create, achieve, or experience before the end of this year?

  6. Who are some people I feel jealous of right now--and why? What do they have--or appear to have--that I want?

  7. Who's someone who's been an important part of my life this year--like an amazing friend, mentor, or colleague? Have I said "thank you" to that person recently?

  8. What's something I see out in the world that breaks my heart? What could I do, say, create, or contribute to be "part of the solution"?

  9. Fill in the blank: "This year, one of the best decisions I made was _______."

  10. And lastly: Fill in the blank: "This year, I feel proud of myself because _______."

Published on: Aug 7, 2017