Welcome to Mid-July, folks. We’re now officially knee deep in summer. That means along with the BBQs and sunburns, you’re probably also facing sluggish sales and a loss of in store face time with customers. As happens every year, warmer weather means people are spending more time at the beach and less time making heavy buying decisions. It’s the summer lull and there’s nothing you can do to combat it.
Or is there?
As an employee, I always loved summers in business because it meant the store grew quieter and the workload all but stopped. But as an employer, that same situation can be a little terrifying. However, it’s important not to panic. Instead, use this natural lull to revitalize, revisit and plan for the future.
Here are some ways to combat and tackle the quiet summer months:
Go to camp: The same way it inspired and changed you as a child, summer can change you as an adult. If the summer months are typically slower, invest some of that time elsewhere and in other actions that will help you to grow your business. Learn a new skill, take a class, find a barcamp to help immerse yourself in your industry, form a Tweetup to make new friends and strengthen industry ties, etc. The knowledge and connections you gain during these months will make you stronger and more powerful once the cooler weather hits and things pick up again.
Add a business book to your summer reading list. Choose a book that genuinely intrigues you and that will help you learn and grow while giving you skills or insights to help you move forward. Read it on the beach or while sipping a glass of rosé on your balcony. Another great way to build a new skill is through online learning. With fewer scheduled meetings, you’ll have time in your day to watch a video and ramp up your knowledge base. Commit to at least one new skill you’d like to add to your toolbox. Choose one that will enhance your visibility and your relevance for the next role you’re seeking.
When September arrives and school (along with everything else) is back in session, there will be just three months left to make your mark on this calendar year. Rather than ease into fall, you should be able to rocket back to work with a blast. Think about the major activities that happen in the fall – you know, the things that happen every year in Q4, such as budgeting for the new year, prepping for projects, and staff planning. Whatever those tasks are in your company, use the summer months to get a head start.
You know it’s going to happen: Most annual performance reviews take place in Q4 of the calendar year. Rather than dread the review or discount its value to your success, get ready for it. Do an inventory of all you accomplished in the first half of the year so you’re ready to tout your accomplishments. Identify your goals for your review. Document the three key messages you want to get across to your manager. Be prepared so you can ace your review and get the rating, raise, and promotion you’ve earned.
The best time to create a new habit is when other things are in flux. Summer is a natural time to discover a new habit that you know would be helpful to your success and happiness. Here are a few to consider:
That’s right. Relaxation is part of career success. If you’re already feeling burned out halfway through the year because the past two quarters were so stressful, it’s time to scale back so you can focus and feel energized by the end of summer. Rather than making it a one-season event, use the summer to find a de-stressing activity you can use in the workplace year-round. Explore meditation apps, try a yoga class, or learn stress-reduction techniques you can add to your daily grind with little time and effort. Here’s one of my favorites that takes fewer than two minutes. Make a commitment to return to the regular pace of work renewed, so you can strengthen your resolve.
Whichever activities you choose, sending your career to “summer camp” is a great way to transform your mindset. Just make sure to combine plenty of fun and relaxation with your goals for growth and change.
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