REFLECTION: What’s the seasonal cycle like in your workplace? What I’ve noted consistently over 23 years in my business, is that for my kind of speaking and training services, demand tends to be low through July and August. Yes, there are exceptions to the rule, but for the most part, I have come to anticipate that a large part of the summer will be free of what I refer to as ‘up-front-delivery’ work.
The summer downturn used to cause me considerable concern. In the earliest years, every July I worried and agonized that my business was in its final death throes. I pictured myself on a downhill slide – bankrupt by Christmas. It’s amazing the stories I could create to torment myself! Not that you ever write those kind of stories yourselves!
What I have also noted year after year is that, as surely as the engagements ebb through the summer, they flow again through the fall, winter and spring. I refer to the phenomenon as a Seasonal Adjustment. And, more recently, I have come to see it as something to be welcomed with enjoyment – not simply tolerated with annoy-ment. (I know, I know – that’s not really a word – but I like the sound of it anyway!)
That’s not to say that this predictable period of down-time is one wide open period of nothingness! In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. While a dearth of paid engagements may challenge the financial bank account, it can be just the thing to top up emotional, mental, social and spiritual bank accounts.
Seasonally adjusted time out is perfect for reflection, planning, writing, program development, marketing, exercise, vacation, and just plain relaxing.
ACTION: I realize that not every occupation or industry experiences a natural cycle of downtime. In fact, many organizations have morphed into non-stop flat-out year-round machines. And, given the economic downturn in some parts of the world, some of you may be experiencing just a bit too much downtime for comfort.
Still, if you do find yourself in a period of low demand (by design or default), here are a handful of ways to turn that Seasonally Adjusted pause period to advantage:
– Let yourself relax into an openness of time and space that may be tough to come by during busier, more demanding times.
– Reconnect with people (friends, family, colleagues) who value you for who you are as well as what you do.
– Invest in your own professional and personal development. Review notes from a seminar you attended recently. Learn your way around that challenging software package. Spend time with a coach or mentor.
– Reflect on recent triumphs and disappointments. Mine them for insights you can apply to challenges on the road ahead.
– Resurrect your exercise program. Jump back into physical activities that may have been pushed aside in busier times.
– Make your way through the reading and reference backlog. Scout info and ideas that kick start new ways of looking at situations and opportunities.
– Trust that uptime and downtime – even when less predictable or desirable than you might like – are often part of the normal rhythm of work and life.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “In an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way, in its own perfect time.” – Marc Allen
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: If it’s been a while since you visited, drop in and explore some of the collections and commentaries in the Pause Community on the Pauseworks website: http://www.pauseworks.com/community/index.php Enjoy exploring the: Thoughts on Stopping, Everyday Treats & Juicy Joys, Ideal Vacation Suggestions, Ideas for Taking Back Time, and Down Time Pics.
READERS WRITE: In response to the last Pause e-zine, What’s Your Story, reader LK writes: Our grandparents’ and their parents’ everyday existence was to provide food for their families. Their work days started at 5:00 am and ended at 10:00 pm. They lived an organic lifestyle with fresh food every day, fresh milk and fresh bread with plenty of fresh air to breathe. We are the generations that have reaped the fruits of their hard labor. Many of their relationship problems were the same as we have today, only their commitment was unwavering. Communicating with neighbors every 2-3 months was a treat! Stories told have led me to believe that their lives were simpler and happier, far less complicated and cluttered with ‘stuff’, than we struggle with now in our daily lives. Less is sometimes more and far less complicated.