August is a great month, not least because I was born in August, but also because for most of us, it’s a time when work gets much quieter.
As business owners, this can feel a bit panic-inducing because we’re always keeping our eye on the next sale. As employees, this can feel uncomfortable because we want to be seen to be working hard.
So I thought I’d write this post as a reminder that there are seasons in all things in life, including work, and just as much as we need to lean into the busy season, we also need to learn to lean into the quiet season.
Take the French as an example: every year in August, Parisians leave the city en masse and many restaurants and other businesses close for four or more weeks of rest, leaving the holidaymakers alone in the sweltering heat with the art and over-priced tourist-traps. September comes around and with it La Rentrée, which is the equivalent of ‘back to school’ in the UK, but not just for kids. I really love the honesty in this approach and think we can learn from the message: “there’s not much going on, so let’s own it and enjoy it”.
Maybe we can’t drop our jobs and nip down to the Provence countryside for a month, but maybe we can drop the shame around not actually being very busy. Remember that we may be bemoaning the lack of new tasks or new clients right now, but fast forward to your peak busy period and you’ll be wishing you’d indulged yourself more when you had the chance.
So if you’re a business owner and there’s less going on, celebrate the abundance of time and not the scarcity of new projects. Block off larger chunks of time for yourself doing whatever it is you truly enjoy, without any shame or guilt.
If you’re an employee, don’t be afraid not to be the first one in and last one out of the office if you’re twiddling your thumbs during the day – this is a potential bonus of working from home: you don’t have to be quite so conscious of presenteeism! If this feels insane to you, it might be worth checking if you may be hooked on being busy.
In a nutshell, get your work done and then give yourself permission to fully enjoy whatever extra time you have. Maybe you could use the time to put yourself in a better state of mental and emotional wellbeing.
We’ve seen such a fantastic shift in the culture of many companies we work with in that they’re becoming much more flexible and trusting towards their employees. If there was ever a year to claim the perks of a quiet period, it’s this year.
Want more tips to keep your team healthy, motivated and productive without burning out? Email [email protected]