Right after Memorial Day, I begin to dream about my upcoming summer; vacation, some days at the beach, and all the things I want to accomplish when my schedule lightens up. I feel energized and excited for the months ahead.
Then before I know it, it’s August and I realize half the summer is gone!
On one hand, I fearfully watch the warm days slipping away. On the other, I moan about how slow business is. Then I begin thinking about all the tasks I promised myself I would complete and haven’t even begun to work on.
I think I am in the drudges of the “summer slump!” Can you relate?
What is the summer slump?
This is a funny time of year for us entrepreneurs. Our networking groups and association meetings are on hiatus, many clients are on vacation, and so schedules are lighter than usual. Add in the heat and humidity, and it’s no wonder we feel lethargic and lacking in motivation.
It’s really no surprise that we end up feeling a bit out of sorts. Most entrepreneurs are hard-wired to be busy all the time, thriving on the adrenaline rush that occurs when juggling all our tasks and clients. We are goal oriented and geared towards productivity. We believe when we are busy our income is growing, and when we are not, our income is plummeting.
When we are not working full speed ahead, we worry that we are not doing what needs to be done for our businesses to flourish and grow.
How can we pull ourselves out of a slump and make the most of the rest of the summer?
This is not the first time I’ve experienced the summer slump. As a matter of fact, I think this happens every August post vacation. So I laugh, remind myself I always feel like this, and that there are many weeks left to this glorious season.
Here are some ideas that help me re energize, and might work for you.
Change your mindset. Accept that summer is different and enjoy it. Think of summer as a time to reorganize, recreate and rejuvenate.
Plan activities so that when you look back you can say you had a wonderful summer. What are the things you look forward to that can only be done during the summer? Schedule them into your calendar right now before the summer slips away.
Do an income analysis. Check back to July and August income of past years. Did it slow? Did it even out throughout the rest of the year? Learn to anticipate and plan for the months when income is less. Remember a business usually slows during the holiday season as well. However, we are so immersed in holiday festivities (both personal and business related) that we don’t notice the slump.
How many times during the year do you say, If only I had the time, I would…fill in the blank! Take advantage of your lighter schedule and do it now!
Spruce up your office. Clean out file cabinets, bookcases, and desk drawers. Decorate and make your office more appealing.
Clean up your computer. Delete old files and clear out that email box. Read or just delete those emails and articles you’ve kept for so long.
Interview and hire an assistant or VA. List all the tasks you really hate to do, and begin delegating them come the fall.
Implement systems that can make your life easier or improve managing your tasks. If you don’t already have one, choose an email server. Create a newsletter or begin a blog. Update your bookkeeping system or software programs.
We so often complain that we are so busy working in our business that there is no time to work on the business. Summer can be the perfect time!
Evaluate the first half of the year. Look back at the business goals you set in January? How are you doing with them? Do they still make sense and resonate with you? Should you create new goals for the second half of the year, or devise a plan to meet the goals you set in January?
Design a marketing plan for the second half of the year. What new programs do you want to offer in the fall? What do you need to do now in order to get it off the ground come September?
Consider going to summer school. There’s still plenty of time to sign up for a few educational programs. There are tons of webinars or teleseminars offered daily to learn new business skills, or improve your computer skills.
Is there something you have wanted to do that but can’t ever find the time for?
Get in shape by signing up for an exercise class. Start that weight loss program you’ve been thinking about while you have the extra time to cook and take advantage of summer fruits and veggies. Reignite an old passion by taking a class in photography, art or sport lessons.
Take a vacation. Whether you can get away for a week, a long weekend or even a day, make it a true vacation. Put an away message on your answering machine and an auto respond message on your email stating you are on vacation and will respond upon your return. Shut down your computer.
Shorten your workday or workweek. Consider ending your day early and spend the late afternoon at the pool, or in the backyard reading a great book. Or perhaps work a four-day week, and give yourself extended weekends.
Spend more time with family and friends. Plan the time to hang out with those you love. Soon enough everyone will be back to the busyness of the rest of the year and scrambling to make time for each other.
Summer is a special time of the year that comes and slips away very quickly. You work hard all year long and should not feel guilty about slowing down, relaxing and enjoying this time of year. Come September when you are asked, “How was your summer?” your answer will be an emphatic “Great!”