Depending on your industry, summer may constitute a slow period when people punch out early and use up vacation days visiting the beach. It’s hardly the time you think about putting your nose to the grindstone and advancing your career, but there are ways to better yourself without totally killing the relaxing vibe.
That’s according to Daily Muse writer Kaitlyn Russell, who recently wrote a terrific piece titled “5 Ways to Challenge Yourself (and Your Career) Without Sacrificing Happy Hour.” Sound daunting? As Russell says, “the biggest step is to pick your challenge and actually get started,” and given the nature of her advice, anyone can do it.
Her first tip is to “learn a new skill.” This doesn’t mean spending a bunch of money to go back to school. There’s a Muse article that lists 43 free online classes, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In today’s world, you can boost your design or writing skills with relative ease, and you’ll be all the more marketable for it.
Russell’s next piece of advice is to “get organized.” This doesn’t just entail cleaning up that messy workspace, though that’s a great place to begin. Clear away the clutter, grab yourself some new office supplies, and then think about going to phase two: email. Everyone’s inbox could use some tidying, and once that’s done, tackle the old to-do list. Again, Russell has you covered with a list of 44 apps to help you increase productivity.
Even if you spend a few days at the beach, you can be productive by “reading something you normally wouldn’t.” This means swapping your trashy fiction for something related to your industry. You might also pick up a book about success or overcoming challenges. Again, there are tons of options, and once more, Russell has some suggestions.
The summer is also an excellent time, Russell says, to “reach out to a mentor.” Mentors are extremely valuable when it comes to providing advice and support, and while finding one isn’t always easy, there’s no real harm in compiling a list of candidates and putting out feelers. As Russell says, the worst-case scenario is that you make a few connections in the course of your cold calls and emails.
Lastly, Russell suggests you “work on a side project.” You know, that thing you’re super passionate about, and that you’ve had on the back burner for weeks, if not months, if not years. Ditch the excuses and finally get down to business. You just might be laying the groundwork for your next career move.