Hello, my friends.
This week, we continue our Productivity series. These are lessons from our archives that are tied to the subject of productivity. In this lesson, we talk about the seasonal productivity lag that happens during the holiday season or the summer, for example. But it can also happen in the spring, as “spring fever” kicks in. The same principles apply, no matter what time of year your productivity lags. Be sure to leave a comment (like many did on the last lesson), because at the end of the series, I’m going to choose one winner from the commenters who will receive my Top 10 Productivity Tips mini-course absolutely free (a $47 value).
One of the most common subjects is “productivity,” with the questions centered on the idea of those who are getting the most done (and how), and what sets productive individuals apart from the rest of the crowd?
So the question is, “Are You Heating Up?”
It comes out of an observation I have made, and perhaps you have noticed this as well. Particularly in the United States – at least in North America – people tend to slow down during two times of the year: summertime and the holidays (especially Thanksgiving and Christmas).
Do you slow down when the temperatures get hotter? Do you get tired from the heat and find yourself just wanted to enjoy the “lazy days” of summer?
Or maybe for you, it’s the holidays that bring on the slack. There are many people who essentially shut down mentally a week or two before Thanksgiving and don’t do anything constructive in their work until after New Year’s. Though I am certainly a proponent of celebrating the holidays with family and taking time off, taking off the whole season means losing 10% of a productive year.
At the time of this writing, we are nearing the fourth quarter of the year, and for many, seasonal slack will begin to kick in within a few short weeks.
There are two points here: (1) Enjoy summer vacation and the holidays with your loved ones. (2) Don’t take the entire season off.
I’ll never forget, I was speaking with a client about an engagement that we were pretty close to finalizing. It was in the middle of October. Her response to one of my messages was, “Let’s get together after the holidays.”
It was mid-October, so I was thinking, “What holidays?”
I thought maybe it was Halloween, because Halloween is the last day of October.
It turned out she wanted to restart our discussions about this program in…January!
So there went half of October, all of November, and all of December because of the “holidays.”
Needless to say, given that the customer is always right, we didn’t do anything until January. But in the process, we lost a whole quarter of momentum and opportunity.
The same thing is true during the summertime. Some people go to the extreme and shut down their business, either officially or in practice. They shut down their development, and their relationship building and networking of any kind for all of June, July, and August. And then they enter the “September frenzy” where everyone is re-engaging and trying to make up for lost time.
Seasonal slack is a momentum killer. (Click to Tweet)
Opportunities are missed, simply because so many people slow down during these seasons.
Now the advantage to non-slackers during this time of quiet in the business world is that your voice can be heard more easily. You’re not just reaching out to people during the cacophony of everyone else during the go-go-go times. You are also nurturing those relationships during the quiet times.
Again, I am not suggesting you don’t take any time off. I’m a big fan of rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation. But…
Here are five things you can do to avoid the effects of Seasonal Slack.
- Take time off, but do it during a short and defined time period.
- If you have to be gone for an extended period of time, have processes and systems in place to ensure your work continues without interruption. One business owner was gone for an entire summer, but her systems were so well considered that her business continued and, in fact, grew by 10%. She spent the summer working on her own personal development, spending time with family, and actively gaining clarity on her business plan for the next year.
- Delegate your work so that your business keeps things rolling forward with no loss of momentum. I actually enjoyed the benefits of this once. I had to be away from my business for about six weeks to deal with some very important matters, but because of the efforts of my team, no one even noticed. To my great satisfaction, people were helped by the online materials I had prepared ahead of time and that were posted in my absence.
- Prepare now for these seasons. Pull out your calendar and decide when your time away will be. Block it off. Then decide that you will work when it is time to work, and be away during those times.
- Ask yourself what needs to be in place for your business to run during those times without you, and prepare for them now.
Why do all this?
One, because you will not lose momentum or opportunities.
And, two, because you will enjoy your time away even more if it is defined and prepared for in advance, with no worry or guilt of lost time upon your return.