We are smack dab in the middle of summer, and even though I am enjoying the sun and the beach with my family and friends, I am getting antsy. For the past five years, since I started my new business, summers have been so different from any other time in my career. No one seems to want to work. No one answers questions quickly. Everyone has shifted down. In some ways that’s a good thing, but it’s a little bit disturbing to me. Perhaps it’s because with my previous jobs, my yearly time clock snapped into action in August, with shows being produced in radio and TV, and training camp in full swing in the NFL. July always has been a time to wind down and recharge the batteries, but now it seems like August has slipped into that mode as well.
I say I’m disturbed because, with all the technology and the virtual way of living, it’s not that people cannot answer or that they do not have the ability to reply. I believe they are just avoiding making decisions for fear of failure, more work and, oh my, progress. I’m generalizing, but people seem to have migrated to the point where they do not want to have exchanges, for fear that there will be more work piled on their plate and they won’t be able to enjoy themselves to the fullest. Now, I am a huge proponent of enjoyment and spending time having fun, but there must be balance. The problem is that not only does the shut down happen in July and August, half of November and all of December have also become a period of down-shifting. Then, when you factor in school vacations, it quite frankly has become an eight month work year.
Sure, you’re reading this saying, “Wait Lou, that’s not how I operate.” But let me ask you a question: has this notion popped in your head about others? Have you questioned how hard and effectively people have been working in these “slow down” periods? To me, it seems to have gotten progressively worse. And I’m not even talking about new business deals that you are working on; I mean the actual initiatives that are up and running. The collective lack of push and drive during certain times of the year should be alarming to all.
We all have the technology and ability at our fingertips to act and respond instantly. These innovations have given us an edge that allows us to be able to enjoy life more, yet keep the ball rolling in business. The problem is that it doesn’t seem to be working that way. The technology has caused many people to put up a virtual “out of the office” sign. The funny thing is, you may put in a simple request via email to a colleague and not get a response, yet they are all over social media, chatting it up and posting up a storm. So you know they are plugged in; they just do not want to move the chains. I am not saying that unplugging is a bad thing, it’s great to check out from time to time, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid your responsibilities and prevent progress. If you are on an actual vacation, that’s an entirely different story, but I seriously doubt many folks in business have four months of vacation.
Here’s the skinny of the entire post: you need to balance your life and how you operate. You cannot constantly work, but you should not habitually put things off either. Everyone should devise a system and a discipline that allows him or her to achieve both. There is no reason to down-shift for four months out of the year. It’s time for everyone to get a little antsy and become more focused on getting things done. It’s time to stop procrastinating and avoiding your responsibilities. It is time to shift into a higher gear. It’s time to go do.