10 Ways to Be Productive in the Summer

Lazy days ahead? Not this summer. Here’s what you should be doing to stay productive in the dog days of summer.

This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources, and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

During the dog days between Memorial Day and Labor Day, most of us become accustomed to the inevitable summer slow-down. Key people aren’t available (holidays); projects stall, waiting for Fall to roll around, and a general sense of lassitude begins to creep in.

Summer doesn’t need to be a write-off however. Here are 10 ways you can use those months to get ahead of the game:

1. Conduct your personal annual review.
There’s something seemingly magical about the calendar year end that has us all trapped in its spell. We see the turn of the year as a time for reflection and a time to plan the year ahead. But the reality is, the calendar year-end is an entirely mechanistic construction.

An annual review (looking back at what you learned, what you achieved, what you missed out on, and rearranging priorities for the incoming year) is an incredibly useful exercise, but there’s absolutely no reason your need to conduct it in the middle of a much-needed holiday, and during what is a busy time for all of us.

Do what I do. Move your personal annual review to the summer. You still get to review the entire previous year, but you also get to do it in a much less frenzied state, and with much more likelihood that you will actually implement the lessons you learn (remember all those never-happened new years’ resolutions?).

2. Read.
Most of us read less than we ought to. Time constraints notwithstanding, there’s something about cracking open the spine of a book (or double-clicking on an ebook file) that sparks low-level guilt pangs in many leaders. The sense that there must be something more important, or urgent, to do robs us of the opportunity to learn from others.

Grab just two books from the pile you’ve been meaning to get to, and build a daily reading time into your summer schedule. Read consciously, deliberately, and read to learn. If you’ve been too busy to even set aside some books, there are many fine lists out there, and at a pinch this book and this book are as good a place to start as any.

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