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Use the Summer to Focus on Personal and Professional Goals
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 7:00 AM

Like the old song says, “summer is here and the living is easy.” For a lot of people, summertime evokes images of warm and lazy laid-back days, extended family vacations and treats like ice cream and watermelon.

But Mark Arnold of On the Mark Strategies says summertime is also a great time to stay focused on professional goals.

“While the temptation during summer is to take it easy and let things slide, people that want to get ahead and make a difference in their jobs are keen to use these precious weeks and months to their advantage,” he says.

Below are a few tips that can help you better use the summer months to develop yourself personally and professionally.

  • Make time to read. Reading is critical. Those that read tend to get ahead. Make the effort to read at least one business book this summer (notice that I said a business book and not something like Fifty Shades of Grey or the latest popular spy novel). Some terrific business books to look at might include Grow, Leading for Growth and Onward.
  • Make time to unplug. Get away from all those electronic gadgets and devices we seem enslaved to these days. Don’t catch yourself on the beach with your iPhone checking emails and voicemails — get away from that electronic leash and take a real break. You will find that this will help you focus and get more done when you return.
  • Make time for people. Take an extra-long lunch with some of your top people. Treat your best like the best — reward them with extra time with you in a casual setting. Show that you care by putting a project aside temporarily to focus on the people.
  • Make time for strategic thinking. Summer is a good time to check the status of current strategic plans and also look forward to the fall planning session. Spend some time this summer thinking in broader terms about your business plan and model and maybe even set up some sort of special off-site brainstorming session with your team.

“Summer time is a great time to relax, make memories and grow closer to friends and family,” says Arnold. “It’s also an excellent time to adjust the focus on your professional development and goals. Use this time wisely. There are only so many summers in a lifetime. Take advantage of summer 2014 and make it the best it can be for you, both personally and professionally.”