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How to Stay Productive This Summer

How to Stay Productive This Summer

Alexandra Levit | Water Cooler Wisdom

Many of you reading today are headed into work, and it may well be slow. In the business world, it’s not uncommon to spend various days in July and August sitting at your desk and twiddling your thumbs because your colleagues and clients aren’t around to do business with. I’m willing to bet that web surfing, Facebook checking, and online shopping are at an annual high. Here are a couple of tips to get through the summer months without driving yourself to mindless distraction:

Write down your goals for the “school year”: Imagine that you are about to start a new school year. Think hard about what you want to achieve at work in the next several months, and specific steps you’ll need to take to make it happen. If your boss is around, set up a meeting to talk through what you’ve come up with so that you’re both on board.

Have lunch with a networking contact: Now that you actually have some down time, why not use it by spending a little more than an hour with a person you’d like to get to know better and who could possibly help you in your career? After all, informal, in-person networking is the most effective kind.

Organize your files: If you haven’t read an e-mail from January yet, you’re not going to. Clean up your Outlook inbox and the hard drive of your computer so that you are able to start fresh in the fall. Make sure important files are backed up and archived for safekeeping.

Walk down the hall: If you had to process some financial paperwork for a client, would you know how to do it? The dead week is a great time to better understand how company systems work and the people you should talk to in order to most efficiently get things done.

Read neglected industry publications: That would be Information Week, AdAge, or the ABA Banking Journal, not People. Stop by the mailroom and pick up the summer issues, or hop online. Focus your attention on trends pieces that will help you better understand where your industry is headed.

This article was originally published on Water Cooler Wisdom.

Featured Author: Alexandra Levit
A current columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Metro US, Alexandra has authored several books, including the popular They Don’t Teach Corporate in College (Career Press 2004 and 2009), How’d You Score That Gig? (Random House/Ballantine, 2008), Success for Hire (ASTD Press, 2008), MillennialTweet (SuperStar, 2009), and New Job, New You (Random House/Ballantine, 2010). Please learn more at

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