20-Something Career Expert

5 Ways to Stay Productive When Everyone’s on Vacation

If you have to be at work during summer Fridays or the dog days of August when lots of people are out of the office and there’s no one to answer your correspondence, how do you plan on staying productive? Instead of texting, web surfing, and shopping online until you feel horribly guilty, try some of these tips to keep your career sailing along:

1) Think about your goals: Think hard about what you want to achieve in the next year, and specific steps you’ll need to take to make it happen. If your boss is around, set up a meeting to talk through what you’ve come up with so that you’re both on board.

2) Have coffee with a valuable contact: Now that you actually have some down time, why not use it by spending a little more than an hour with a person you’d like to get to know better and who could possibly help you in your career? After all, informal, in-person networking is the most effective kind.

3) Organize your desk:If you haven’t read an e-mail from January yet, you’re not going to. Clean up your Outlook and physical inboxes and the hard drive of your computer. Make sure important files are backed up and archived for safekeeping.

4) Walk down the hall: If you had to process a contract for a client, would you know how to do it? The summer is a great time to better understand how certain systems in your company work and the people you should talk to to most efficiently get things done.

5) Read neglected industry publications:And unless you’re in the entertainment industry, I’m not talking about People. Stop by the mailroom and pick up the June issues, or hop online. Focus your attention on trends pieces that will help you better understand where your field is headed.

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