3 Workplace Solutions To Stay Productive In Dog Days of August
August is known to be the least productive month of the year. It is when most people take off for vacation. In countries that guarantee over 30 days paid leave, citizens take off for the entire month and businesses shut down. For those still at the office, it can be relatively slow and difficult to move forward with projects that require the help or expertise of others.Being productive is not about accomplishing more. It is about investing your time in strategic activities that help you to add value and advance your career. Here is how to work smart and turn August into your most productive month yet:
- Develop and maintain an accomplishments sheet.
Life and work can feel like it is moving at a rapid pace. Take advantage of the slow time in August to appreciate the full scope of your professional success and start developing an accomplishments sheet. Compile a comprehensive document that records your professional accomplishments. List major projects you have led or contributed to along with metrics that help quantify your accomplishments and written praise from managers, colleagues, and clients or customers.An accomplishments sheet will prepare you for and show your value in performance reviews, client proposals, and job applications. When you know your successes, you can feel more confident in your endeavors.[bctt tweet=“When you know your successes, you can feel more confident in your endeavors.” username=“takeleadwomen”]
- Get to know your business and the numbers.
To add value, you must know where it is needed. Use this slow time of year to reach out to decision-makers and share with them your interest in learning the ins and outs of the business. Ask them about the priorities and challenges of the business. Know how the organization makes money and where it losses money. Know where the business is now and where it wants to go.[bctt tweet=“To add value, you must know where it is needed.” username=“takeleadwomen”]Billionaire investor and entrepreneur Mark Cuban tells people that you have to “know the numbers.” Know the organization’s revenue, profit, and stock price, as well as the cost of doing business and of acquiring new customers. If you work in research and development (R&D), know the percentage of sales revenue reinvested in R&D and how that compares to similar companies in your industry. This will demonstrate that you understand the bigger picture.It is your business to understand the business. The more you understand your business or the business you work for, the better you will understand its pain points- the areas of the business that need to be strengthened.
- Be yourself, and bring your whole self to work.
Deloitte research reveals that many professionals are not their authentic selves at work because pressure to conform still exists at many organizations. This concept is called “covering” and involves downplaying aspects of yourself (that may relate to gender, race, age, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic background, political affiliation, or citizenship) or your natural tendencies to fit into what you perceive as the corporate culture.Being yourself at work allows you to be more productive and successful because you are not using energy to suppress what you might not want others to know about you. As organizations are now developing more inclusive cultures that help their employees be themselves, you can help yourself and others by modeling behavior that makes colleagues feel more comfortable being themselves at work. Take advantage of the more relaxed and less populated August work environment to open up and test the waters.Be careful here. Do not act like you are at a college fraternity or sorority party. It is more about revealing to others the way you are at home and with your friends. Think about what they like in you, and show that side of you at work.If you want to work with another company or start your own business, be yourself from the start. This will help you to identify the organizations that value your background and preferences or convey how your business is different to help you stand out from the competition.This column originally appeared in Forbes.