Summer is a slow season for many companies. With people away on summer trips, there are fewer orders, meetings, and new projects—and the weeks can begin to crawl by. But a slow season is the perfect opportunity for new beginnings! Take advantage of your newfound breathing room to reorganize, innovate, and refocus. Read on to discover a few ways to further your career this summer.
Declutter and Reorganize
You “spring clean” your house; why not “summer clean” your office? According to Lifehacker, having clutter in your workspace can be distracting, and even lower your performance! In fact, 83 percent of people reported feeling more productive in an organized workspace, according to the Huffington Post.
When you’re swamped, it can be easy to let disorganization creep in. You might have stacks of documents from finished projects lying around, a helter-skelter inventory, or a disorderly desk. Now’s the time to create a system that will keep you organized—even when things pick back up. Start writing detailed to-do lists, so you’ll be in the habit of using them by the time peak season arrives. Try ranking your tasks by priority, placing the most important in Category A, the next in Category B, and so on.
Tip: Set up a meeting once per quarter to thoroughly clean your workspace. Treating this task like an important meeting will prevent it from falling by the wayside.
Tackle New or On Hold Ideas
When the tyranny of the urgent hits, it can be easy to put off tasks without concrete deadlines. Take on those projects now. For example: maybe you wanted to contribute a blog post to your company’s website, but never had the time to write it. Now is a great time to get the ball rolling! Sit down and write out your thoughts and ideas. Pick one that seems promising and develop three main points you’d like to cover in your blog. From there, it’s just a matter of fleshing out your ideas.
You can also use this time to take control of your development. Schedule time with your manager to go over feedback and your aspirations within the organization. If you aren’t sure what your aspirations are, ask for clarity about the paths available to you.
Additionally, this is the perfect time to experiment with new ideas. Maybe you wanted to expand your company’s online presence by creating social media accounts on sites like Snapchat and Instagram. If your business has a retail space, test new events that could attract customers. You could run an open mic night, an auction, or an art show! No matter where you work, this is the time to try new, out-of-the-box ideas.
Have you ever wanted to step up your skills by attending a seminar or conference? During peak seasons, it can be tough to get away from the daily grind. But a slow season is the perfect time to learn new skills and keep up with what’s happening in your industry. Start by looking up professional organizations in your area. Many host their yearly meetings in the summer. You could also visit iLearn and master a new skill. Pick up a trade publication and get inspired by the innovators in your field. The opportunities are limitless!
Strengthen Your Network
While you’re focusing on self-development, take some time to get educated about your coworkers, too! A strong network is a powerful tool for any professional. Connections can help you get jobs in your industry or gain buy-in for a project you’d like to undertake in your current role. Remember: if summer is a slow time for you, then it probably is for your coworkers, too. Use the extra breathing room to forge some team spirit. Invite coworkers out to lunch, coffee, or happy hour. If you’re nervous about making small talk, prepare a list of questions to get the conversational ball rolling.
You can also schedule a group activity for your whole team. This is a great way to show initiative and introduce fun into the workplace. It can be daunting to plan something on your own, so send out a survey asking coworkers what they’d be interested in doing—chances are, you’ll probably see some common ground for a fun group activity! For example, if members of your team like bowling, you can schedule a group trip to the alley.
A slow season isn’t the time to slack off. It’s the time to plan, create, and reprioritize. Look back on what you’ve accomplished in the last year and consider whether you’ve neglected anything because you were just too busy. Whatever you decide to do, don’t waste time. Now is the perfect opportunity to start fresh and make things even better going forward!