Do less and achieve more. It may sound like a dream rather than a plan for summer, but it’s actually the MO of many highly accomplished people year-round. “Successful people don’t bother with work that isn’t high value or growth oriented,” says Laura Vanderkam, a time-management expert and the author of I Know How She Does It and 168 Hours. “They prioritize, so that what matters most gets done, and they have more free time.”
To help you enjoy the summer without putting your career on hold, Vanderkam shares five more ways to make the most of the season:
#1. Create a summer fun list. Host a cookout? Go to the beach at least three times? See fireworks? Write down a dozen things that would make your summer complete, and aim to do one each week. “You won’t feel like summer is passing you by, and when you have fun plans to look forward to, it’s easier to focus and be productive at work,” Vanderkam says.
#2. Get social. It’s not dark when you leave the office—even at 8 pm! “Use that boost of energy you get from seeing that it’s still light and push yourself to go to a networking event or company get-together,” Vanderkam recommends. “Making new connections or strengthening old ones will always pay off.”
#3. Take your meetings outside. Why sit in an office with a colleague or direct report when you could be discussing work matters al fresco? If you need to jot something down, dictate it into your phone.
#4. Fill in for a colleague mindfully. Instead of covering for someone who’s on vacation as though it’s another chore, treat it as an opportunity. “Use it to learn a skill, meet new people or just see how someone else does things,” Vanderkam suggests.
#5. Do some off-site strategic thinking. “When you’re caught up in the day-to-day, it’s hard to see the big picture and how your career is taking shape,” Vanderkam says. “So when you’re on vacation, devote some time to figuring out what’s next and how to get there.” You’ll come back to the office, recharged and ready to forge ahead.