Cap and gown ceremonies, bridal bouquets, and the telltale absence of school busses on the roads tells me it must be summer again . . . or at least we’re getting mighty close. Summer officially arrives on June 21 at 1:04 a.m. EDT, but already the days are long and warm.

While the winter was long and harsh for many in the northern climes, and spring hasn’t been too much of a friend to those in the south- and mid-west (what with flooding and deadly tornadoes), I can’t help but feel buoyed by the return of summer. It’s like a welcome friend you’ve been looking forward to seeing again. It’s both comforting and energizing. It’s a time for reflecting and for looking forward.

Of course, business must go on, even in the summertime. Last year at this time, I wrote a blog about how easy it is to get distracted by the good weather and all those outdoor activities. I also suggested some common sense approaches we can all take to foster a more summer-friendly work routine that helps us keep our heads in the business game and in the sunshine.

Enjoy the read and be sure to take time this summer to stop and smell the roses, or the beach, or the pine forests, or the mountain air, or the desert, or . . . you get the picture!

Summer-Friendly Routine Does a Body (and Your Business) Good

(Originally posted on July 10, 2012)

There’s something energizing and renewing about the long daylight hours of summer. Sure, if you were among the unfortunate millions in the mid-Atlantic recently basting in the blazing sun as utility crews worked to restore electricity and air conditioning, you may think otherwise. But I know for me that come the long days of June, July, and August, there’s usually an extra bump in my step and a bigger smile on my face (if that’s possible).

Health experts will say there’s a medical reason for it—that the body craves and is nourished by life-giving sunlight, and that in the shorter days of the winter months, especially in the northern climes, we all suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or “SAD” (I ask, is there a more apt acronym than that?). Well, if that’s the case, bring on the sunshine.

Of course, with increased daytime hours come increased outdoor activities, vacationers . . . and opportunities for distraction. Whether you find yourself living in a tourist haven or not, you’re likely to find your attention meandering this way and that as you think to yourself, “I’d much rather be at the beach right now” or “A hike in the mountains sounds nice.”

Last December, I wrote about keeping the business fires on simmer over the holiday season despite all the distractions, so that post-New Year’s you weren’t faced with needing to jumpstart your business back from near death. You have to have the same mindset during the summer. It’s far too easy to let off the gas and apply the brakes this time of year, especially if you’re in a business like mine where clients typically take advantage of summer’s offerings and wing off on vacations and planned downtimes.

Now, I’m not saying you need to put on the blinders and ignore all that summer has to offer. Hardly! Even busy monkeys need to chill out now and then. What I am suggesting, to the extent your type of business allows it (this is especially true for solo professionals and entrepreneurs), is to adapt to the season by switching up your daily business routine so that it’s more “summer friendly.”

Here are some ideas:

  • Attend networking events. Many groups and organizations hold summer get-togethers to maintain momentum and help members make new contacts. Here is just a sampling of the groups I belong to/participate in: San Diego Sport Innovators/ CONNECT (SDSI), Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, 6 Degrees, USD Alumni Association, Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG), Southern California Venture Networkers (SCVN), Orange County Product Managers (OCPM), Le Tip of Culver City, California Beach Volleyball Association (CBVA), and North Coast Cavalry Church. And if there’s nothing happening in your own backyard, consider securing a space and holding your own networking event. Beach and mountain locations are always nice. (I’m just saying . . . )
  • When and where appropriate, hold client meetings at summer-friendly venues. Think seashore, beachside, the park—or any quiet little cafe or nook near an outdoor venue. Before the meeting, take a stroll to clear your head and prepare; afterwards, celebrate by enjoying the sun, the beach, the mountains, etc.
  • Take a road trip to meet with your clients at their places of business or to go prospecting for new clients. There’s nothing better to get you stoked for a business meeting than playing tunes on the radio, sporting your best sunglasses, and enjoying the sun on your arms as you cruise down the highway.
  • Get out of the office every now and then. Whether you work at home or rent office space, change your business scenery. Find a coffee house or even an outdoor venue with free Wi-Fi and great cell phone coverage . . . or just move outside to the back deck of your own place. You might be surprised how focused and productive such a change of location will make you because you won’t be wishing you were somewhere else—you’ll already be there!
  • Get up earlier. There’s nothing better than being up hours before the rest of the world. In the quiet, waking moments of dawn, the new day seems to burst with promise and possibility. I get some of my best ideas at this time and do some of my most productive work . . . plus, later on, I don’t feel so guilty taking a few hours of down time midday to enjoy a stroll on the beach or the park, a swim, or an extended workout.
  • Shift your work hours if you can. Who says you have to put in all of your 8 or 10 or more hours during daylight hours? Take advantage of the sunshine and do more work at night.

I know I get distracted when the sunshine calls to me all day long and I’m toiling at my computer, taking calls, thinking “Geez, I’d like to be outdoors right now, enjoying this weather.” The last thing I want is to be regretting not having taken advantage of summer come the cooler, shorter days of fall and winter.

Do you adapt your business routine to a more summer-friendly schedule? If so, share some of what you do here. Busy monkeys want to know!