How to Take Advantage of the Dreaded August Slow Down

August 14, 2018

We all know it’s coming every summer: the dreaded August slow down. Most of us have a love/hate relationship with this time of year, which for some means it’s finally time for vacation, but for others it means business is brutally sluggish. Project timelines often slip as critical stakeholders cycle in and out of PTO and the phrase, “Let’s push that to fall” becomes far too familiar.

So what can you do to ensure this month isn’t a complete waste? How about flip the paradigm and use August as a time to reinvest in your mission and your people? Here’s your guide to surviving the notorious month:

Use Downtime to Regroup

For the first time this year, your calendar actually has openings! Use that time to go back to your roots and review your client’s goals. Are you still holding true to their mission? If not, examine why — perhaps you’ve pivoted for the better and discovered a more strategic opportunity while pursuing a previous goal? In either case, use this time to reflect on your progress and whether you need to update your plan of attack to reflect those new goals, or if you need to rally the troops when clients return relaxed and recharged to remind them of what you’ve set out to accomplish together.

Take Time to Invest in Yourself

August can be a great time to take the time to invest in your own professional development. Challenge yourself to pursue new skills or seek out new mentorship. If your employer offers a  stipend for continuing education, like Barokas Communications, take advantage! Learning new skills and strategies is a great way to ensure you and your clients always stay ahead of the curve.

Clean Out that Junk Drawer

I know, I know, the last thing you want to do when you finally have some free time is go through that proverbial “junk drawer,” you know, that folder of emails you’ve been filing away and avoiding for months because you were too busy? Well, the time has come to take action. Think about what administrative tasks have been pushed to low priority and float those back up to the top of your to do list. While these menial tasks may feel like a low value use of your time, they are important and they’re usually incredibly satisfying to cross off the list for good.

Circle Back with Clients and Partners

Relationship building can get pushed to the side when you’re focused on client announcements, new business proposals and putting out fires every day, but fostering those important relationships with clients and partners can often be the silver bullet to success. Make it a goal to meet with at least one VIP each week throughout the month of August and you’ll be amazed at what an impact it makes, not only for those clients and partners, but also on you. Conversations with these key stakeholders can be incredibly eye opening when it comes to hearing feedback about where your team is succeeding and where you can improve. Getting that insight directly from the source is the best way to ensure you are delivering on your promise and keeping those that matter most to your business invested.

Have a Little Fun

Who says you can’t also have a little fun? Taking time off is critical to maintaining balance. PR people are often fearful of taking time off because the business or PR never stops moving, but that’s why we work in teams! Trust that the people you work with are committed to the mission. Failing to allow your brain to recharge can lead to complacency and a lack of creativity. In my experience, I’ve found that people not only rise the occasion, but they usually exceed expectations and build important confidence that empowers them to take on more responsibility long after you return.

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