Longer hours of sunshine, Fridays free from work and an undeniable lift in spirits that are felt through the office. In most industries, summer is more relaxed, laid-back and carefree than any other season. Though the slower pace is welcomed by many professionals, deadlines still apply. So do proposals. And making meetings as requested. Not to mention your sales numbers or ensuring your clients are happy.
Many people, even ones who identify as ambitious, struggle to stay focused and on task during this time of year. However, career experts say you can take that free time and fill it with soul-inspiring and mind-enriching habits that will set you up for success once Autumn arrives. Here, easy — and fun! — ways to get inspired right about … now:
Brainstorm weekend projects
Even if your only goal for Saturday is to sleep in until 11 a.m. and then take a nap with your fam in a nearby park, it’s worth scheduling something productive for Sunday. The more you keep yourself active throughout your days off, the more engaged your mind will be, according to career expert Wendi Weiner. She suggests projects where you can turn up the AC, crank the music and dig in.
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Whether you reorganize your home office, clean out the pantry or finally get rid of those old magazines and books you’ve been holding onto, the act of ‘doing’ sets the tone for the following week.
Spend more mental time in your question marks
When you’re jetting off from one meeting to another one, answering emails sitting on the runway before takeoff and otherwise, overworked, thinking critically isn’t exactly an option. However, when work slows down, your mind doesn’t have to follow suit, according to career expert Michael Dermer. Though it can be a scary place for entrepreneurs and executives alike, the gray matter is where you’ll find and source plenty of inspiration for sunshine days.
“Summer hours are the time to unlock the potential of that gray matter. Ask yourself the hard questions about your business. Do I have the right strategy? Do I have the right people? What skills do I have to develop?” he continues. “With the pace a little slower, take the opportunity to unleash your talent and ask yourselves the critical questions that are the key to success.”
Get started earlier
By the time 3 p.m. strikes and you can taste the happy hour cocktail that’s waiting for you at 6 p.m., your attention span is well… what were we saying? In an effort to fight against the summer slump that’ll come up, career expert at TopResume Amanda Augustine suggests waking up earlier than you normally would. Even if you wouldn’t classify yourself as a morning person, you can take it step-by-step by waking up 30 minutes earlier than you normally would one week at a time.
“You may find unexpected inspiration — and increased levels of productivity —in the early, quiet mornings,” she continues. “Plus, getting an early start to your day will make it easier to leave the office earlier so you can enjoy those summer nights with friends and family.”
Improve and enhance your personal brand
If you’re in the market for a new gig, you probably hear — or um, don’t hear — crickets during the summer. That’s because the job search season slows down thanks to an influx of summer vacations and team members working remotely, according to Weiner. Instead of applying for this gig and that one, she suggests using the months between May and August as the opportunity to freshen up your personal brand.
This might be updating your LinkedIn or ensuring your Facebook privacy settings keep your personal info hidden. It could also mean combing through your resume or signing up for an online course to brush up or expand your skills. Sort of like using meditation as ‘me’ time, this is also an investment in yourself — and of course, in your future.
Clean up your website
Sure, you may not have a reason to send a huge amount of traffic to your site this summer — but when your back-to-school promotion opens up? Or when you launch a new product end of year? Perhaps when a client finally signs on the dotted line when they’re back from vacay in Italy? You’ll want to have a savvy, sophisticated dot com to show off. That’s why Dermer suggests diving into your website needs and functionality during this slower period. “Throughout the year, we just don’t get the chance to clean up the things that weigh on us,” he explains. “Imagine if you could emerge at the end of the summer with all the issues you have cleaned up. While others are sitting on the beach, you can be cleaning up the shop.”
Take a trip
We probably don’t have to twist your arm to entice you to hit ‘book’ on that flight alert to Greece, Colombia, Australia, the Cape and so on. But if you want another excuse, Augustine says traveling can work wonders for your creativity and fulfillment within the office. “Not only are these new experiences sure to increase your inspiration, but studies have shown that taking breaks from work help you regain your creativity, focus, and motivation when you return to the office,” she shares. Bon Voyage!