By Sarah Sims
We all know life will be very different this summer. Chances are, if you are anything like me, you’re tired of thinking about and over-analyzing all the possible scenarios that may play out in the coming summer months. Vacations are canceled, bored whiny kids will be hanging around your house, you will likely still be working from home, and rarely will you know what day of the week it is. While we all face the same reality, that knowledge doesn’t make it easier on us in our individual coping.
We have compiled a few ideas for how to bust the summertime blues and keep our professional prowess in tact during what will be a long slog summer.
Crack a Spine: No, not yours. A book spine. Pull out those titles you have been jotting down at conferences, in webinars, or recommended by your peers and dedicate some time to self-guided professional development. We all have to learn and grow right now, so lean on some experts to introduce you to new ways of thinking. Need some inspiration? Check out this group blog post of our favorite titles – it’s still applicable two years later! You could also grab a copy of Lynne's latest book—The 4 Pillars of the Donor Experience!
·The Big Rock: Choose one, just one, major project or challenge that has vexed you in the past 12 months and relight the fires under it this summer. Yes, there may be challenges and unknowns, but months and months of status quo and watching/waiting will drive us all to the brink. We need stimulation, challenge, and accomplishment right now. Don’t let the summer slip away without pushing for one new innovation or change in your shop. (I have a feeling digitizing my annual endowment report process will be my big summer rock. More like boulder, actually.)
Network Nation: Take some time to invest in your network this summer through LinkedIn, virtual/web-based professional development, or peer benchmarking. No matter if our industry is in good times or bad, it always behooves you to expand your connections and cultivate relationships that can be mutually beneficial. Share, connect, attend virtual events, and generally stretch yourself during this time. You never know when you might need someone in this business and those relationships take time and effort to cultivate. (Without trying to sound fatalistic, now would be the perfect time to make sure resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and portfolios are up to date and gleaming. There are just no guarantees in times like these.)
Housekeeping: I get it, it’s no fun, and I know my team and friends are rolling their eyes at me right now, but the summer months are the best time to “clean house”. This is when you need to organize and reduce your inbox, clean out files, organize your drives, scan samples, collect annual collateral samples and portfolios, and generally do the menial tasks you have successfully avoided all year. I have quite a reputation for my inbox rules, and merciless culling, but I’ll tell you—my sanity is well worth the extra time I spend in organizing and systematizing!
None of this is new, or innovative, but sometimes we need a good swift kick to stay in gear. Especially now when we live in the unknown 24/7. Don’t let this weird summer slip by without personal and professional productivity. DRG has many opportunities to learn and connect this summer – check out the options!