Stay Productive Despite Summer DoldrumsIf your business has slowed down during the long summer months, it may be tempting to mentally “check out” while you’re in the office.

But there are plenty of ways to remain productive, and check off some significant items on your annual “to-do list.”

Les McKeown, a contributor to Inc., outlines numerous suggestions to get more out of the summer months. Here are a few of his best tips:

Move Your Annual Review to the Summer 

Where is it written in stone that your annual review—reflecting on what you’ve learned, achieved, missed out on, etc.—has to take place at the end of the year? Remember, those end-of-the-year reviews coincide with the Christmas holidays, which only adds to the stress of the exercise.

If you reschedule the annual review in the summer, “you get to do it in a much less frenzied state,” McKeown says, “and with much more likelihood that you will actually implement the lessons you learn.”

Build in Some Reading Time

If you enjoy reading but can never find the time, the dog-days of summer are a perfect opportunity to open a book (or double-click on an ebook file). There’s a bounty of idea-generating business books out there, plus plenty of online recommendations to steer your intellectual pursuits.

“Read consciously, deliberately, and read to learn,” McKeown says.

Re-prioritize Your Project List

Which of your projects have you seen through to fruition, and which ones are currently on life-support? McKeown urges business owners to make a brain dump of every project they’re involved in, and reprioritize according to principles he’s outlined elsewhere.

Go for Inbox Zero

There’s probably no better time than now to conquer email overload, and free yourself of this particular mental burden.

Reset Your Single Most Important Goal

All business leaders who achieve greatness are driven to achieve one “pre-eminent goal,” McKeown says—the “clear, unambiguous deliverable [that] dictates and prioritizes their activities” every day of the week.

Use this time to re-examine your most important goal, and take steps to bring yourself closer to its ultimate completion.

Improve Your Work Environment

Most of the time, we’re far too busy to look objectively at our work environment, even if it’s cluttered, riddled with distractions, and non-conducive to creative thought. What better time than now to clean it up?

It’s a safe bet you’ve accumulated a lot of stuff you can toss out. Be ruthless in your quest to improve your work environment and make way for greater productivity.

Give Back to the Community

There are many ways to give something back to your community. McKeown suggests leaders offer “what is most valuable to you: Your time.” Volunteer with a charitable organization. Mentor a promising young entrepreneur. Coach a Little League team. “I guarantee that you—and therefore your business—will be the better for it.”

If the summer months offer you a chance to catch your breath, seize the opportunity to improve yourself and your business. Come September, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running.

How are you being productive this summer?

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