I have a lot of favorite words, and among them are “three-day weekend.”
Like most Americans, I’ve looked forward to this Labor Day holiday. After all, who doesn’t enjoy an extended weekend at the ceremonial close of summer? Picnics, vacations, camping, hiking, sporting events or just taking it easy at home — whatever you have planned this weekend, I hope you enjoy it.
But as much as I like a nice break, I must confess that holidays can sometimes make me a bit restless. Sleeping in, gluttonous indulging and taking it easy can eventually be too much. I like to accomplish at least a little something even during my time off. But what can you do when your clients, prospects and co-workers are preoccupied with fun and relaxation?
If you’re a restless professional who wants to check a couple of low-stress items off your list this weekend, consider the following:
Update Your Social Media
Whether you are a business person looking for clients or a professional seeking a new opportunity, you need to be visible. The quickest, easiest and cheapest way to do that is to maximize your social media profiles, especially LinkedIn. More and more buyers are finding their vendors through LinkedIn. More and more employers use LinkedIn for their recruiting.
If you tinker with your LinkedIn profile, pay particular attention to a few key areas:
>> Do you have a head-shot photo of yourself on your profile? I’m amazed how many users do not. People are drawn to the faces of other people. If we don’t see your face on your profile, we may be less apt to trust the information you provide, or we may assume that you don’t take your LinkedIn profile very seriously.
>> Make sure your summary statement is fully developed and explains what you do in detail using highly expressive words.
>> As long as they wouldn’t have a problem with it, include the names of some of your best clients.
>> On LinkedIn’s “Skills & Expertise” section, choose words (you can have up to 50) that describe your abilities. Don’t be modest here. The more key words in your profile, the better it will perform for you.
>> Go out and deliberately “endorse” your connections for their skills and expertise. In turn, many of those people will feel compelled to endorse you back.
>> Testimonials give you credibility. Contact your happiest clients or your biggest supporters at work and ask them to write testimonials for you. It also helps to do this for others. Not only does it spread goodwill, but your name will get extra exposure by appearing on their LinkedIn profiles.
Of course, many professionals derive great benefit from other forms of social media as well. Therefore you might want to take time to create or update your profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and the list goes on.
A disturbingly large number of professionals completely give up on reading books the day they leave college. Many don’t even read articles that would keep them up-to-date with their profession. While this is problematic, I do understand it. Time-starved professionals can feel guilty taking time to read. Plus, after years of being forced to read in school, some people have simply had enough.
Despite any negative connotations reading may conjure in your mind, you would be well served to peek at a trade publication or read a book that will motivate you and update your knowledge. Holiday downtime is a great time for reading. It’s easier to learn and comprehend when you’re not under pressure.
A long weekend is a good time to clean up your life. You may want to go through your paper and electronic piles and prune what you no longer need. Is there something you have been keeping on the back burner too long? If so, you could figure out how to move it up when you return to the office.
If you work in sales or business development, you might want to go through your list of prospects and find some who have cooled off or drifted away from you. Ask yourself if it makes sense to reconnect with these people. If so, plan to contact them the middle of next week.
Lunch or Coffee
Scan your contact list and see if there is an important person you have neglected for a while. It could be a client, prospective client, industry leader, community leader or someone who could help you advance in your career. Invite that person to have coffee or lunch with you in the next couple of weeks. You never know what could come from the conversation.
Here’s one final thing to consider for this otherwise relaxing weekend: a goal check. The year is now two-thirds over. A quick check of your 2013 goals can give you focus for the final third of this fast-moving year. Whether you are on, behind or ahead of schedule, think what you need to do over the next four months to make sure 2013 is a big success for you.
A Closing Disclaimer
I will confess some hesitation about writing this article, because I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea.
Many people are under incredible stress these days. There is so much pressure to perform at the office, and frankly, many of my readers already work too hard. I’m not advocating that you ruin your holiday weekend.
I just wanted to write some advice for people like me — people who love time off but feel uneasy if they’re not accomplishing anything. If that describes you, consider some advice from one of my friends. He’s a good guy and a hard-working entrepreneur. He has kids at home who require his time and attention each evening and on weekends. His rule is, “I just have to do one thing.” Each evening or weekend day, he forces himself to do one thing related to his work. It can be something minor and quick, but as soon as that one thing is done, he gives himself permission to have fun with his family.
Maybe that approach might work for you too.
Jeff Beals is an Omaha author and speaker who can be reached at JeffBeals.com.