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Summer is rapidly coming to a close. Labor Day, which typically heralds the (unofficial) end of summer, is early this year. That means even sooner than usual, we’ll have to make the annual transition from laid-back, low-pressure August to nose-to-the-grindstone, time-to-get-serious September. You may have taken a vacation this summer, but business challenges, customer demands, and year-end sales goals didn’t. Time to shift your brain from standby mode to “all systems go”…and it’s not always fun or easy.

“You can’t change the calendar,” says Keith Harmeyer, coauthor along with Mitchell Rigie of SmartStorming: The Game-Changing Process for Generating Bigger, Better Ideas. “But you can change the way you think about the calendar. And when you do, you’ll be shocked by the difference it makes in your work life.”

“Many people have a deep belief that summertime is great and going back to work is not so great,” adds Rigie. “But that’s just an assumption we probably picked up in childhood when it was time to go back to school. What’s great is that you can clear out that negativity simply by choosing to view the situation differently, and thereby allowing yourself to see new possibilities.”

Here are a few examples of how you can think differently in order to get a jump on things, plan ahead, engage in a little pre-autumn creative problem solving, and make your “chill mode” to “work mode” changeover as positive and productive as possible.

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