Aaaahhh summer. Time to kick back, take time off and enjoy. If you’re an entrepreneur, solopreneur or petpreneur, you may want to rethink that.
Imagine this scenario: You “take the summer off,” you stop marketing, you don’t attend networking events and you stop posting on your own blog. You reason that “everyone is taking summer vacation” so you can relax as well. What if your competition isn’t taking the summer off? You may want to rethink your dog days of summer plan.
The urge is strong to slip into summer vacation mode, but as an entrepreneur, your business is 24/7. This isn’t to say that you need to work 24/7, but if you want to run your business like a business you need to treat it as one. Not many business owners that we know take the summer off. They may have shortened work schedules. They make take half-days on Fridays. Entrepreneurs may not work on Saturday and Sunday in the summer, but they are working and nurturing their business.
Stay Motivated During The Dog Days Of Summer
How can you resist the lure of the pool and the urge to take the next two months off? Here are my best tips.
Power through. It is so tempting to take the summer off, but consider this: Someone out there wishes he or she were in your shoes, being an entrepreneur. They may be working on the “next big thing” and you don’t want to lose your edge… or your clients. Keep working. Stay focused. Remain at the top of your game.
Lethargy breeds lethargy. Taking the summer off won’t necessarily help you recharge your entrepreneurial batteries. If you take the summer off, you may find it difficult to even get back into the groove once summer’s over. Stay focused on your business growth. There are times in the winter here in New York where there are days of no sun, frigid temps and mounds of blowing snow, and I simply don’t want to get out of bed, let alone get dressed to face the day. I have found that if I let “getting dressed” slip for a few days, it’s easy to not want to “get dressed” at all. It’s a bad path for the work-at-home entrepreneur to slide into.
Set “summer hours.” I am not saying you need to continue to put in the hours that you do when it’s not summer. You can certainly set summer hours. I currently take Friday afternoons and Sundays off. I work a half day on Saturday if I have tasks I didn’t get to. I look at Friday afternoon and Sunday as a reward for a job well done! Look at your schedule and see if you can batch tasks, batch write blog posts, arrange your client calls and meetings so they can all be done in one or two days rather than spread out over the entire week. Give yourself some grace and take a half day when you can.
Make an attainable to-do list. Is it possible to do fewer tasks during the summer while still keeping your eye on your business and your clients? If that’s possible, make your to-do list or schedule your time blocking at a less frenetic pace than you would in non summer months.
Embrace the summer sun. Get out of your home office and work in a coffee shop on the patio. A small change in your routine can lift your spirits. There is no law that says you have to toil away in your office, right? If you have a portable business, grab your laptop, order a cup of your favorite summer drink and embrace the vibe of working outside of your home.
Take a day off. If your friends are heading out to the beach or to an amusement park, join them. No one says you can’t take a weekday off. Sure, you may need to work a few additional hours either before or after your day off, but that day off will bring such joy that it won’t matter. Schedule one full day off a week and indulge in a fun summer activity.
Slip on your “thinking sandals.” As a blogger I spend quite a bit of time pondering client blog posts and developing marketing strategies and implementing social content. My pondering typically includes making notes and lists. In the summer, though, I gather Henrietta and leash her up, slip on my sandals and grab my phone. I think much better when I am walking and my phone allows me to either jot down a note or record a message that I can transcribe when I get home. The pleasure of getting exercise and spending time with Henrietta in somewhere other than my hot, humid office gets my creative juices flowing.
Remember why you’re on this crazy entrepreneurial ride. Some days when you’re distracted and feel like you’re getting off track you need to look at your vision and your mission and your WHY. A quick review just might energize you.
Fifteen minute sprints. Okay. Okay. You’ve tried it all and just can’t stop staring out the window and the bright sunny day. I get it! Grab a timer, grab your to-do list. Set the timer for fifteen minutes and work diligently. Once the timer goes off, get up and take a sunshine break for a few minutes then come back, set your timer and repeat.
How do you stay motivated during the dogs days of summer? Share your best kept secrets!
Robbi Hess is an award-winning author, full-time writer, newspaper columnist, writing coach and time-management guru. She works with bloggers and solopreneurs and blogs at All Words Matter. I spoke at BlogPaws on: Overworked & Overwhelmed? The Four-Step Process for Reinventing Your Writing. If you couldn’t attend, email me for free a copy of the e-book I offered. (Robbi AT AllWordsMatter DOT COM)