My favorite part about summer is doing absolutely nothing sometimes, and I did plenty of that the past couple months. And I'm pretty sure it's one of the best things I could have done for my business, too. Sure, I got my work done, served clients and added new work and new clients to the pipeline.
But I made time to rest and let my mind wander. I took my kids to the pool; sometimes I brought my laptop and did work poolside, and other times I napped. I conserved my energy for when everyone comes back like gangbusters in September. Call it summertime work-life balance.
Now that my kids are back in school, I'm looking forward to our work and school routine and kicking into higher gear again. I'm looking forward to more work and better productivity. Here are three ways I plan to embrace back-to-school season and be productive -- and how other busy parent entrepreneurs could, too.
1. Listen to morning podcasts.
Last year, I discovered a great way to start the work day and school day with my middle schooler: The New York Times' podcast "The Daily," which dives deeper into one of the top stories of the day.
You see, Lucy, now a seventh grader, doesn't like to talk much in the morning, so this 30-minute podcast gives us something to do together without chatting. I'm a news junkie, so this is a way to make sure I get some news at the top of my day so that I can then settle in and get work done. I've also recommended this podcast to countless professionals during one-on-one and other meetings. It's great to show that you have interest and curiosity about the world around you, beyond work.
Plus, my kid learns something too. Sometimes after school or at dinner, Lucy will bring up something she learned in that podcast or wondered about or something that stuck with her. It's a great way to start the day, and I got out of the habit over the summer while Lucy enjoyed sleeping in. Now back to it.
2. Networking more.
With summer vacations and a slower pace, networking takes a backseat in the summer -- for all of us, it seems. I'm looking forward to attending more after work events, networking lunches and one-on-one coffee meetings. In fact, I'm also making a mental list of people I want to reconnect with, and many of them are other moms who are fellow small business owners. I know we're all ready to celebrate having our routines back and our children back in school.
Another good place to start is checking out your LinkedIn network. If there are connections you haven't talked with in a while or can't remember how you even know them, message them to ask about reconnecting over coffee or by phone. I plan to do this, too.
3. Reorganizing the home office.
A series of unfortunate and annoying leaks booted me from my home office for much of this summer. Soon my space will be ready for me to move back in, and I'm looking forward to using this "opportunity" to get better organized so that I'm prepared for the busier year-end season and am able to maximize my productivity. In fact, I'm already looking up home office organization ideas on Pinterest and will be asking my network if they know of any professionals who can help.
Honestly, I'm also happy to have some peace and quiet -- and get to work.
However you plan to kick into higher gear, increase your productivity, good luck. Wishing all the entrepreneurs out there a productive and prosperous fall.