5 Business Things to Do During the Summer
Something I love about business is the way it has its own seasons, each with its own rhythm and its own activities. A discrete, specific project can be exhilarating and intense: when it’s over and you have moved on to the next big project, you might remember that time fondly. The intensity of the experience makes that period memorable, and you get those whiffs of memories, as if you were transported back in time.
It is the feeling I get when I think back to the time when I was writing each of my three books, studying for CFA or the start up momentum that was the first chapter of the #SavvyTeenAcademy story (If you are interested in crafting your own three-month project, I structured The Savvy Guide to Making More Money around just that).
I love being in business, I love aggressively going for growth, and I love that I feel so alive doing something I love. So what do I do during a quieter business period, like the summer or Christmas? Do I pace my office like a tiger in a cage?
#1 business thing to do during the summer: make
the summer busier!
Would you believe it, I actually relish those quieter periods. Well, of course, me being me, I try to make those periods less quiet by looking at my sales cycle well in advance and brainstorming ideas or contacting clients to take bookings as soon as I see a quieter period looming in my diary.
My first strategy to deal with a quieter period is to try and make it less quiet – this year it worked so well that June 2015 was the busiest month in my business, ever! In early July Monica Murphy and I led the very first Savvy Teen Academy course, and it was one of the most memorable experiences of 2015 (more about that in another post!).
But when that activity slows down, I get to do other things I love in my business. Things I don’t often have time for during more hectic months.
#2 business thing to do during the summer: make
sure to recharge
It’s a personal thing, but I don’t really long for a two- or three-week holiday. I get restless if I’m inactive for more than a couple of days at a time, so I don’t plan to go away for long stretches. Still, I make plenty of time to nourish myself. I’m taking a couple of days out of a few different weeks to do that!
I took my mother and her sisters to wonderful Harvey’s Point for a treat, to enjoy their Summer Cabaret. My husband and I are going over to the UK for a long week-end, to visit friends in Nottingham, and I’m just back from a road trip with a friend from the US discovering the breathtaking Burren. In between those two- or three-day breaks, there are lots and lots of business activities that I’m looking forward to.
#3 business thing to do during the summer:
cultivate your motivation
Do you remember what it was like to go back to school in September? You would get giddy with excitement looking at your brand new, pristine stationery and crisp uniform. Everything was fresh, and even if you didn’t like school you were looking forward to seeing your friends again.
Very often what we enjoyed as children is a very good clue to what we still love as adults, if only we listened to our quiet inner voice. Being in business means I can recreate all the positive associations at will: I can engineer my days to recreate that exciting sense of anticipation.
And this sense of promise, of a blank canvas, that you get when it’s “back to school” time, is a wonderful motivator. It’s a bit like the “First of January” syndrome. It seems the air is brimming with a sense of possibility. We want to set new goals and reach for the stars. Motivation can ebb and flow, but when it peaks, you want to ride that wave as much as you can. And if you can recreate inspiration at will, this translates into heightened productivity.
#4 thing to do during the summer: plan ahead for
the last quarter and the next year
And this is the reason that I want to make sure I recreate that sense of “back to school” excitement in my business. This is something I often mention when I speak to business audiences: July is the beginning of the second half of the year. August is the prelude to the last business quarter. If we can get excited now, there’s nothing we can’t do between now and Christmas, when another quiet business period starts.
And the next time period I’m looking at is 2016. Every day of the year is of course great for sales, but I find that the summer is particularly great. People have a little less on their proverbial plate and so will get back to you more quickly. Calendars are not filled to the gills yet, so calling a client to see whether they would be interested in working with you secures you an “early bird” spot in their schedule.
So I start to plan my year as early as the summer before: the summer is ideal for that, in fact it’s how Microsoft do it. Most people plan the next year at Christmas, but I find that this is less good (not to mention a bit late). It’s the heart of winter, people are tired and both nature and their bodies are inviting them to hibernate, while at the same time it’s one of the busiest social seasons as we catch up with friends and family. At Christmas I prefer to reminisce and recharge, and sow the seeds of inspiration and future dreams.
#5 thing to do during the summer: say goodbye to
the old, brainstorm the new into existence
Now that we are in the heart of summer I am in the second phase of my strategy: harness the quiet.
Now is an ideal time to do some office housekeeping, to sort, put away or throw away old files, go through my Trello boards and take care of things like cancelling subscriptions, changing providers for better value and generally getting things organised. As you know, decluttering physical or digital space also clears your mind. One by one, you take care of loose ends in a wonderfully calming ritual of saying goodbye to one time period and welcoming the next one.
Summer on the other hand is one of my favourite times of the year for content creation. I find that I’m in a zone where longer, quieter days invite me to sit in a café with my favourite Americano and write, write, write away. Your mind is less caught up in urgent matters; it overwhelms you with a constant stream of ideas: if I’m not writing, I’m recording these ideas into a voice recorder. It’s a wonderful time to spend hours on things that are important instead of urgent, to do what you like to do instead of what you need to do, and to discover new things about yourself, your direction in life and where you want the next stage of your journey to bring you.
That’s it! My top five things to do during the summer. That way, when things pick up again in September, I feel recharged and relaxed, ready to jump into the fray again!
- Make the summer busier
- Take time to recharge
- Cultivate your motivation
- Plan ahead for the last quarter and the next year
- Say goodbye to the old, brainstorm the new into existence
And how about you: do you go incommunicado during the summer and prefer to forget all about business matters, or do you have a set of strategies specific to the season? Tweet me @SusanHayes_ !
Are you on the list?