The Productive Days of Summer

In focusing on “Summery” themes for this month’s post, I took to the Googles for inspiration and searched “Summertime Songs”. I found the obvious, “Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince (Will Smith if you didn’t know). I even thought about using my lyrical gift to remix it and make it HRy so that you’d rap along to the blog.  I wasn’t really feeling it. Why, because it’s summertime and it’s harder for me to focus too.

What I did find was this song called “Constructive Summer” by The Hold Steady. I’m sure Steve Browne knows it! The lyrics that stood out to me are as follows:

We’re gonna build something this summer
(Gonna build something this summer)
We’ll put it back together, raise up a giant ladder
With love and trust and friends and hammers

With love and trust and shows all summer
Let this be my annual reminder
That we can all be something bigger

We are conditioned to take breaks from June to August. From an early age, we’ve learned that when the mercury begins to rise and days begin to get longer, we have less responsibility and objective number one is to chill.  But we’re older now and no longer get that automatic vacation, so it’s critical that we find productive ways to fill our time, to stay sharp and to stay ahead of the game.

This summer is a time to build…a time to build our organizations. Some industries slow down during these months so it’s easier to hold workshops, conduct trainings, send folks to conferences both locally and nationally. Working in Higher Ed, as our students are away for the season, we have a perfect opportunity to plan and develop trainings for the Fall semester, get our budgets in order, catch up on performance evaluations…all those things “we’re too busy” to do during the rest of the year. We have to take advantage of this time.

This summer is a time to build ourselves…a time to professionally develop by tackling that goal you set for yourself back on January 1. Why not catch up on those books that have been collecting dust on your shelf and still have the receipts in them. Let’s sit outside, enjoy nature and study up on our craft and profession just a little more than we would when it’s all cold and nasty out. As Chris Ponder stated in 3 Tips to Get Yourself Out of Complacency, why not branch out and learn something new about yourself by doing that one thing you’ve always been afraid to do…that one thing you always thought was too difficult.

This summer is a time to build someone else. A time to offer our services to help further someone else’s career path or education. Mentoring and guiding those newer in our fields and helping them to connect with our already established networks. By helping others, we too can learn and set ourselves up for even greater professional reward. 

If you really think about it, this time of year is really no different than the rest. There’s always something that we need to do and always someone we can help to make better, even ourselves. Don’t give in to “The Lazy Days of Summer”, make them the “Productive Days of Summer” and we can pen a different kind of song that will be in rotation for generations to come.


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