In the summer of ’62 Nat King Cole sang about ‘Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer”.
Much has changed, and yet not so much has changed. Despite aircon nearly everywhere, we are still lured away from our desks to the brightness and warmth of the sun – quite right too. In Europe, we’re in the full-on summer stretch period now. We’re either waiting to go off on our well-earned break or covering for colleagues doing exactly that. Whether you’re heading to an Airbnb by the sea, or mothballing your laptop for a staycation, this period is often referred to as ‘the silly season’ when otherwise trivial, frivolous and unimportant matters get the attention of the media as there is not enough weighty material to fill the pages. In other countries it’s called ‘cucumber time’ when things seem to slow down and life is a little quieter. In the UK, it’s not a full Southern Europe August shutdown but projects and deadlines are often pushed out a few weeks.
Lazy? Yes, be lazy.
This is the month to take some time out for a digital detox, dip your toes in the ocean, wade in that mountain stream, just enjoy nature, get refreshed and rejuvenated. “Don't get too busy making a living that you forget to work on making a life.” said Dolly Parton. However, remember your comms and marketing efforts can’t afford to take a summer holiday. Even in the summer months, we need to maintain that brand upkeep and to continue building up those company reputations. Take time out personally but keep the company momentum going. Get your campaigns rolling out or queued up, especially for the September crazy time.
That same great message that you’re pushing externally also needs to be felt and followed internally. Now could be a good time to sit down with HR, to hear out opinions and concerns from employees – and more crucially, to act on them. Using communications to upkeep a great internal reputation will ensure that it’s also reflected externally.
Hazy? Hmm, cut though it with a laser focus.
It’s been a while since you started your 2021 plan – seven months have passed. Remind yourself and your team what you have set out to do and achieve this year. You’ve five months to go, including August. Focus. What must you start doing, what should you stop doing, what should you strengthen to meet your 2021 comms objectives?
Like the midday sun, your market share or industry share of voice may be scorching but don’t get too complacent. It’s likely your competitors have noticed how well you’re doing and now they want to throw shade on you. Make sure that you’re staying up to date with market trends, getting your spokespeople involved in the most important current conversations, helping to demonstrate how you still have your ear to the ground and are still leading the way. Summer is here but the world most certainly isn’t standing still, and no company can afford to either.
Crazy? Every year, without exception, September is a crazy month.
September is still a summer month but there are more meetings to attend, sales and marketing campaigns pick up volume, many initiatives that were paused are reignited, and all because people are back at work after their holidays. The networking and event diary starts filling up, and this time it’s likely to be physical events, not virtual.
It’s a time to get in a good routine, be super productive and make the most of the four months left until the end of the year.
Here are some high productivity suggestions that I constantly remind myself about.
- Get decent sleep. Eight hours sleep should be enough. Get out of bed with your hair on fire to start your day!
- Be sure to take mini breaks or a little time out to refresh/recharge. A 20-minutes power nap works miracles
- Eat breakfast like a queen, lunch like a princess and eat dinner like a pauper. Stops lethargy and fires up all cylinders
- If you go back to commuting, use your down time. Listen to podcasts or audiobooks whilst on the move. Read and nourish your mind
- Take it from Elon: Don’t be in meetings if you have nothing to add. Meetings can be five minutes long. They rarely need to be longer than 45 minutes
- Get the tough stuff out the way before it eats you. Have a ‘to-do’ list and knock off a couple of tough things every day
- Be ruthless with your time, never with people
The B side of “Lazy, Crazy Days” is “In the Cool of the Day.”
Often, it can be the summer months (when we perhaps have a little more time on our hands) that strategies and plans can be reviewed, and new tools experimented and tested.
If you try out a new social media strategy for example, don’t just flip the switch and turn off the old one, migrating all efforts to different channels or completely changing your tone of voice. Do small pilot tests and be sure to review and analyse the results. If they’re good, try and push it a little more and if you’re still getting the desired or better results, then it may time for a total social media strategy overhaul. Any big change like that must be based on analysis, not simply guess work.
And maybe now is the time for a bit of summertime daydreaming about what you want 2022 to bring.
Enjoy the rest of your summer, roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days….