For many businesses summer is the absolute hardest time of the year to keep things going. The bills don’t go down but sales generally do. And it is so difficult to make marketing productive.

The market gets flaky. People break appointments. Prospective new customers “hold off” on decisions. Everything has to wait until Bill gets back from vacation.

Your days are longer and you probably get less done.

Here are a few tips to get through the summer at your business if you experience a summer slow-down.

Don’t let your days get longer just because the sun is still up. You won’t get more done.

It’s a proven fact that we are more productive when there is a little pressure. When you have all day to get a few things done (keeping this blog current!?), you won’t get them done. If you limit your time, you will accomplish more.

Do it with two basic tools. Make a daily “to do” list. Don’t just write down everything that pops into your head. Make a list of the important things to get done.

Make a personal schedule. Simple or you’ll spend an hour making a schedule. 8-9—catch up emails, return calls. 9-11 work on the most important items on the list. Take a long lunch. Then hit the task list again from 2-5 and then STOP. Set limits. Open ended days KILL productivity. Don’t most people do projects at the last minute? Tell a kid they will sit at their desk until they finish a page of math homework and the kid will be there for 5 hours. Tell them if they get done in an hour they can have friends over for pizza this weekend and it becomes a race against time!

If you feel sluggish in the afternoon, take an afternoon break. Schedule yourself to work from 7-9 in the evening. Or make up the two hours later—9-11 in the evening.

Next, add something to improve yourself and your work. No, I don’t mean go shopping. Read a book. You’ll benefit and gain motivation from education. Pick any subject and learn about it. It does not have to relate to work. Just learn something. Set a goal to read a book, take a course or buy a set of DVDs from the “The Great Courses” (

Seriously, education IS motivation. Einstein figured out that matter is energy. Chris Reich is hear to tell you that education is motivation. There are 6 weeks left of summer. Plenty of time to read a book or take course on DVD.

Finally, freshen up the business. Clean, paint, move things around, organize. Fixing up your work environment improves attitude.

These tips are not profound but they work.

Chris Reich, TeachU
FW:135 (My summer project was displaced for a course on meteorology that I really enjoyed