The Most Important Week of the Year Begins Tuesday
Monday, September 3rd was Labor Day in the U.S. (and Labor Day in Canada) and for us North Americans, Labor Day weekend marks the end of summer. Then comes Tuesday, all holidays are over, most kids are back to school and everyone's focus returns to business. Tuesday is day one of The 100 Day Dash. As of Tuesday, there are roughly 100 business days left in the year. Project and budget urgency that was missing over the summer now appears in full force. Shit starts getting done with a vengeance. Budgets start getting emptied. It's my favorite week of the year.
There are two things I think you should do at this transition point between the end of summer and the beginning of the 100 Day Dash.
First: A Summer Vacation After Action Review
We need to get serious about vacations, people. Rest is not the reward, it is the necessary recharging period required for productivity, especially if your work demands creativity. Too many entrepreneurs suffer perpetual underperformance from not properly prioritizing their summer vacations. I notice that many creative firm principals tend to take their vacations in the second half of August, leaving them late then finally squeezing them at the last.
My goal was to take four weeks off this summer, in two 2-weeks stints. It never happened, so today we did an after-action review (AAR). At ConnecTheDot we do an AAR after any big project or undertaking, so why not on a summer vacation that could have gone better? I highly recommend this.
The format is simple:
- What was the objective?
- What went well?
- What didn't go so well?
- What would we do differently next time?
In ten minutes, we discovered all the mistakes we made that lead to us returning to work short of being fully recharged. We committed to what we were going to do differently next year, and we put it all in the calendar. Done.
Do it now while your vacation is still fresh in your mind. If you're going away somewhere, book it and pay for it now, then plan everything else around that. Now you're committed.
Second: Reach Out to All Dormant Prospects
Now that next summer is sorted, it's time to take advantage of all your clients and prospects getting back to work. Draw up your list of projects or opportunities that went dark over the summer and send The ‘Right’ Email I'm no longer sure of its true origins or how much I may have bastardized the original version, but it was handed down to me almost 10 years ago (originally as a voicemail message, I think) and I have passed it on to thousands of people to phenomenal effect. Here it is.
Subject: Closing the Loop
Hi [First Name];
I haven't heard back from you on [project/opportunity] so I'm going to assume your priorities have changed or you've gone in a different direction.
Please let me know if we can be of assistance in the future.
Nothing reawakens dormant opportunities better than this two-line email, and the week after Labor Day is the perfect time to use it. If you want some more context on where to use this email and why it works so well, read these posts.
Happy dashing and congratulations on an incredible 2018 summer vacation.