The question is: did it ever begin?
It’s a Wednesday morning, and as usual, I’m certain my entire computer will crash. Between Safari and Chrome, I have about a thousand different tabs open, and my MacBook is positively humming with either excitement or exhaustion. I’m editing a photo for a blog post in one, looking up reporter contacts in another, moving between about five different Twitter accounts, and reviewing a press release all at once, when I take a second, stop, and look at the calendar.
It’s July. Why am I working so hard?
We’ve all heard the phrase “the dog days of summer,” and we’re raised to celebrate that lazy, hazy, summertime feeling from the time we’re kids — but once you grow up, graduate, and get a job, that wonderful “school’s out” feeling is no more, and we can go ahead and say goodbye to summer vacation, spring breaks, and anything aside from the occasional holiday or our precious vacation time.
Like the climate, summer is changing. We may anticipate and plan for the changing seasons, change the way we dress and time our vacations accordingly, but the pace and rhythm from one season to the next has been pretty steady. Since business has become global and 24/7, a version of the old mid-day drinking principle applies: someone somewhere is at his/her desk doing consequential work. Maybe even waiting for your call or email!
I think back on the recent vacations I’ve taken, particularly in the summer, and realize not one of them has truly been a “vacation.” Even a trip to the beach requires a 7 AM alarm so that I can get my work out of the way before I can settle down in the sand with a beach read and a cold drink, and instinctively, this feels so wrong to me. I’ve taken a weekday off here and there to do fun summertime things, but I’m still glued to my email and my Twitter accounts in case something needs my attention. Isn’t summertime the time to unplug? (Don’t answer that.)
We need to resign ourselves to a hard reality of post-modern life: summer is over — at least as we remember it (e.g., beach picnics and afternoons of paddle boating and outdoor antique fairs). Once you accept this (you can still work on the beach and while you’re paddle boating, for what it’s worth), summer can be the perfect time to start planning a fall campaign so that by the time Labor Day rolls around, you’re not scrambling to figure out your next steps. Though you might have convinced yourself that everyone has professionally checked out over the summer, think again… or rather, look around you, or even look at yourself! It might not be the best time to make a launch, but whatever launch you’re looking at can be carefully plotted and planned for a fall release. Use these lazy days wisely… they can be more valuable than you think, even when your brain is screaming for a day of sand, surf and sun.