Keep Your Skills Sharp in the Summer Heat! Here’s How!

by Lesley-Anne Longo

Published at 2022-08-04

During the summer months, it can sometimes be a struggle to stay productive and keep your skills sharp—the sun is shining, the cottage is calling, and relaxing on a back deck or balcony can draw your attention more easily than working on that report, or manuscript, or business document. Add in the distractions of working from home, and focusing on work becomes even more difficult.


And that’s okay! It’s okay to take breaks, and vacations. Taking time to rest and recharge is important and beneficial in many ways. However, you can also use some of your extra time this summer to keep yourself inspired and fired up to work hard when you do sit down at your desk. Here are some suggestions that can help.



Stay In Touch with Newsletters


Signing up for industry-specific newsletters will help you keep current regardless of your chosen industry, and these newsletters offer a wealth of content, from blogs, to free resources such as whitepapers and guides, even upcoming webinars that might pique your interest! Keeping abreast of what’s going on in your industry, such as new best practices and standards, new techniques, and hot topics for discussion will ensure that when you do sit down at your desk, you’ll be up to date on all the need-to-know info.



Join a Professional Organization


For our fellow editors, there is, of course, Editors Canada, which can be a great resource for both personal connections and further learning. For writers, you could check out the Nonfiction Authors Association. There are organizations for many industries and career paths that you might not have known about, so take a moment and see how you can connect. These organizations often also extras and perks for members, such as preferred rates on insurance or special discounts on educational resources, like webinars or books.



Take Time to Market Yourself


If you have a slow period over the summer, that can provide a great opportunity to work on marketing initiatives you might have pushed off, and maybe even experiment with some new marketing strategies. For tips, you can check out TEC blogger Michael Bedford’s blog, 5 Tips for Writers & Editors on E-Marketing During a Pandemic, which has some great options for marketing ideas that will continue to be helpful even as we begin to come out of the pandemic. You can also check out our Social Media for Writers reference guide! Use the extra time to better position yourself in the market, and you’ll see results once that slow period is over.



Attend Webinars


You might be surprised to know how many free webinars are out there that you could be watching! Business websites like Inc. and Entrepreneur often offer free webinars, and Camp Tech is offering tons of great free content through their Digital Main Street initiative. Check out this list of their upcoming webinars this August!


Editors Canada also offers an extensive backlist of past webinars that they've recorded, available for purchase through their website.


For writers and authors, Reedsy offers live chats where they invite professionals to comment and talk about writing, and how you can improve as a writer (see past sessions here). They also offer free publishing courses, if you are looking for something more intensive.



Try Out a Podcast


There are lots of great options available now for podcasts that can help you learn about or brush up on any subject. Check out this list created by A Life of Productivity, listing 10 podcasts to make you more productive. The great thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them while doing lots of other productive tasks. Cue one up before heading out for a walk, listen while washing the dishes or folding laundry, or press play before heading out on your daily commute!



Read an Educational Book (Industry or Otherwise)


If you have some time off coming up, why not bring along a book that will inspire and educate you? For editors and writers, try Carol Fisher Saller’s The Subversive Copy Editor, or Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style, by Benjamin Dreyer (check out the Boldface blog for a review!). For  something with more of a writing slant, check out William Zinsser’s classic On Writing Well. There are lots of inspiring books out there for all industries and jobs, so you’ll be sure to find something that catches your eye.


There are also tons of options for bettering yourself outside of industry-specific niches—you can check out self-help and motivational titles to help you lower stress, better manage money, enforce boundaries, learn more effective communication skills, find fulfillment in life…the list goes on and on!



Go Easy on Yourself


Don’t feel pressured to do everything on this list, all at once! Remember, summer is meant to include a bit of relaxation, and there’s a lot of time left to enjoy. Try reading a book on the beach or patio, take in a webinar on a rainy day, or tackle a marketing initiative when it’s too hot to go outside. Work on these little projects at your own pace, and you’ll find that you’ll keep your inspiration levels up, keep your skills sharp, and remain connected and inspired, without feeling overwhelmed.


We suggest that, at the end of a productive day, you also take some time to mix up one of these refreshing lemonade cocktails to savour! First on our list? The tequila lemonade!


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