Getting into the Spirit of the Season

I’ve got a rhythm in how I handle my day, which I’ve put plenty of thought into. But I’ve only recently started thinking about what the seasons mean for me. Sure, on the surface, I know that I have plenty of seasonal habits — during the winter, I make pots and pots of soup, while it makes much rarer appearances on the dinner table in the summer. But what do the seasons really mean for the way I work?

It’s Like Summer and Winter

Do I work differently in the summertime than during the winter? In college, I had some pretty obvious difference in my work habits — unless there was a very good reason otherwise, I practically turned into a vampire. I worked evenings and nights by preference and tried very hard to avoid seeing the sun. Of course, in Oklahoma, that’s more out of self-defense than anything else. Sleeping through 110 degree temperatures (Fahrenheit) is the only way to handle them.

But when I don’t have the excuse of living in an area with overbearing summers and a college student’s schedule, my seasonal habits are a little less obvious. It’s taken years of observation, but I have noticed some patterns.

  • In the fall, I tend to look for new projects to start. Maybe this is a matter of making sure I have excuses not to go outside in the cold weather, but it seems more likely that years of starting school in the fall have taken their toll.
  • In the late spring and the summer, I seem to have a harder time focusing on big picture items. I can grind through administrative and repetitive tasks on hot days, but my brain doesn’t seem to handle certain levels of creativity quite as well.
  • Rainy days, no matter when in the year, make me want to nap all day. But snowy days energize me: I’ll throw a couple of snowballs and then get down to working.

All of these patterns are fairly general — that’s one reason it’s taken me so long to realize them — but they hold true enough that I’ve tried to plan big projects to take them into account. I may not be able to push off a big project’s start date from summer to fall, but I can add a little extra time for working if I’m going to need to be particularly creative on hot days.

Building Rhythm into the Calendar

Having a rhythm to your work is necessary — but should your patterns be the same in summer as in winter? Perhaps not. Something as simple as preferring to shift your work schedule into cooler parts of the day during the height of summer can make sense. After all, for generations, our ancestors did something similar, shifting their schedules according to daylight hours as well as when weather made it easier to work. If we didn’t have access to air conditioning and other environment controls, who would ever be willing to work during the hottest part of a summer day?

How do your work rhythms differ during the various seasons? When is it easier to work and what extra steps do you need to take?

Image by Flickr user Lee Cullivan

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One Response to “ Getting into the Spirit of the Season ”

  1. Travis says:

    Interesting observations. I’ve been thinking about this aspect of my life as the seasons change from summer to autumn. Last year, I got into Ayurveda and its approach to eating and behaving differently depending on the season. This year, I’m not so sure.

    One thing I am sure about, however, is that fall is a season for renewal. I’m hard-wired from years and years of school to associate it with “going back to work.” As a result, I am feeling very goals-centric and focusing hard on specific things. The summer vibe of going with the flow just ain’t there no more.

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