[Tweet “”Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.” – Sam Keen”]
Summertime, and everything’s easy. The sunshine brightens everyone’s mood. Vacations are a chance to chill and drain away all the stress. Barbecues and cocktails, hanging out at the beach, swimming at the lake. Good times all round.
What’s not to love?
Even when you’re not on vacation, there’s often less work to do in the summer. Your customers and suppliers slow down for the vacation season.
Short of twiddling your thumbs, how can you use the space in your schedule to your brand’s advantage? What can you do to bring the sparkle back to your business?
1. Embrace doing nothing
The strongest brands are the most creative.
How does creativity always start? With a blank canvas. Downtime is an opportunity to embrace doing nothing, to let your mind run amok, to see what sprouts from your imagination when you give it the slow, gentle space it needs to grow.
This might sound like arty-farty creative woo-woo. After all, you’re not expecting to be the next Van Gogh. All you want is to create a nice nest egg for your grandchildren’s inheritance.
But you don’t have to take it from me that doing nothing is good for business.
Instead, look to Warren Buffett. In the early ’90s, Buffett met Bill Gates. During the meeting, Buffett brought out the small black date book he carries with him everywhere.
Inside there was almost nothing. Buffett’s schedule is empty of meetings and to-dos so he has the space to think.
Infographic courtesy of Islam Abudaoud.
2. Rediscover the importance of rest
Make sure you take a vacation. By all means, spend most of it with your family, but if your partner lets you, take a day for yourself, away from your kids (and your parents!). Rest time is vital for recharging our batteries.
While you’re away on vacation, unplug from all responsibility. Schedule your social media updates. Put an auto-responder on your emails, and turn off the email function on your smartphone (or, even better, leave your phone at home).
Also, observe how you’re bursting with energy when you return to work after you’ve rested. And if you’ve got in tothe bad habit of working weekends, realize how important it is to cut it out.
Working weekends isn’t only bad for your health and your relationships. It’s also bad for your work.
Research shows that people who unplug at the weekend are better able to detach work from their personal life. This skill of detachment makes them better performers in all areas of their life. At home, they have stronger relationships. At work, they have more energy, more creativity and they’re more productive.
As Fast Company starkly puts it, Unplug your weekend, or ruin your life. Yes, it is that serious.
3. Put on your dance shoes
Summer’s the most relaxed time of year, so have some fun with your brand. Let loose with a quirky ad campaign. Organize a festival in your city, or take part in festivals that are already happening. Host a Twitter party.
You can even make work into a party too. Increasingly, tech firms are organizing hack days or hack weeks for their employees, where a party atmosphere is interspersed with intense periods of work to come up with new ideas or start work on difficult projects. Whatever your staff team and whatever your niche, you can take a week to do something similar.
Talking of difficult projects, you can also use the summer to…
4. Dredge up the sludge
What work have you been putting off or avoiding all year? There are always projects that we avoid because even thinking about starting them ties our stomach in knots. Summer’s when you can start to untangle those knots. When work you’ve been putting off gets done, it feels great.
So, use the extra time on your schedule to tackle a project you’ve been dreading. It will be a weight off your mind, giving you more energy for the fall and winter season.
Infographic courtesy of Nice.
5. Catch up on your reading
As much as we entrepreneurs like to think of ourselves as lone rangers, pioneers and mavericks, none of us can go it completely alone in business. We all need the support, advice and wise us words of those who have been there before. There are few better ways of picking up this wisdom than delving deep into a good business book.
Find a business classic, take a pen and notepad, and spend a day in the sun reading and learning. There’s not much better you could do with your time. Except perhaps…
6. Catch up with old friends
Business is, at heart, all about people. Use your downtime as an opportunity to reconnect with friends, acquaintances, and anyone who’s been out of your loop for a while. To make it interesting, you can play Rolodex Roulette, and give a random contact a call to say hi. Ask how they’re doing and what’s been keeping them busy lately.
Summer is also the conference season, so print off a new set of business cards, brush up your networking skills, and get out there learning and meeting people.
If the summer’s looking busier than expected, you can still get out there from the comfort of your desk. Strike out on LinkedIn by joining groups in your niche, or even better, set up on your own group.
Every person you meet has a story to tell, and every story is an invitation to join with someone on their journey. Who knows where the journey will take you?
7. Tone up your website
Did you slim down before the summer to get your beach body ready? Well you can use the summer as an opportunity to slim down your website or blog.
Give your website and blog an audit and see if they’re in perfect shape for success. If not, then use your summer downtime to get your online marketing fighting fit.
Infographic courtesy of LemonGraphic.
8. Plunge into your passion
We’re all in business for different reasons. Some of us get our buzz from the challenge of selling. Others are utterly in love with our products. For others, business is a means to an end, a way of providing for their family, or of funding an extravagant lifestyle.
Either way, the day-to-day minutia of meetings and spreadsheets and angry customers can leave us scuffed and weary. We lose our sparkle and our passion. We forget what really matters.
However you use your summer – whether it’s for creativity, catching up with old friends, or with your nose in a paperback – take some time to reflect on what really matters to you. Is your business helping you achieve your dreams? Or is it starting to get in the way of what you want from life? Does it just need an injection of energy, or a complete rethink from the ground up?
3 Mistakes That Sink Summer Productivity
For More Tips + Tricks
- Duct Tape Marketing
What are you planning this summer? How will you use it to reinvigorate your business?
[Tweet “”In summer, the song sings itself.” – William Carlos Williams”]
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