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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 13 November 2018

How to 'just be' in the slow summer months

August is the perfect time to clean up your office, do some paperwork and reconnect with past clients

Toss the old and the not-so-useful, recycle papers that have been lying around, and re-organise the folders you have been dreading to sort all year. Getty Images
Toss the old and the not-so-useful, recycle papers that have been lying around, and re-organise the folders you have been dreading to sort all year. Getty Images

The summer months in the Arabian Gulf are the slowest for businesses, especially since we have Ramadan, two Eids, and the school holidays all crammed during this period. But August is on a slower level altogether. Those who have yet to travel will take advantage of the upcoming Eid public holiday in the next two weeks and go on their much-needed vacation.

As a business owner, August specifically is an extremely slow month and it often gets very quiet and boring in the office.

But even though you may find it hard to get in touch with clients who tell you: “Speak to me in September”, your business can still benefit from this slow month. Here is how:

Reorganise your office admin and finances

August is the perfect time to review your finances and see how your business is doing. Why wait when everything gets too busy by the end of the year? It is also a great time to renew upcoming licenses and apply for any government forms because there will be less traffic, and you can get a lot done. So, I highly recommend that you get much of your admin work done this month before the back-to-school crazy days towards the end of the month.

It is also the perfect time to clean-up your office and files. Toss the old and the not-so-useful, recycle papers that have been lying around, and re-organise the folders you have been dreading to sort all year.

I personally take advantage of this month to check if there is any software that I am no longer using and then I end my subscriptions to them. I also re-organise my electronic folders and check that I am not paying for things that I am not using.

August is the perfect time to go online

Because many people are on holiday, a lot of them have time to check their social media accounts. I re-connect and get in touch with people I have not heard from for a while, especially past clients, and see how their business is doing, and how we can work together in the upcoming months. It is also a good time for you to stay in touch with personal contacts. We get so busy with our daily work that we often forget to get in touch with friends.

Sharpen your skills

Use the downtime to sharpen and enhance your skills. Webinars and online classes have been my best friends lately. I do not have the time to physically attend these tutorials, so I participate in them from the comfort of my office. I have engaged with many writers, especially creative ones, to work on improving my creative writing skills since I am working on my second novel. In fact, I have even conducted my own writing programme, and worked with novice writers who would love to pen columns and opinion articles. It has been a great experience to give back and get to know fledgling writers too.

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Get to know who is up and coming

With free time on your hands, research who is up and coming on the business and social scene, and how your company can serve them. If you are in the consultancy business like me, then this is the ideal time to know about the new businesses that you can work with. Even if you are not in consultancy, it is good to see who’s out there and how you both can work together.

Do not forget yourself in the process

If you are a workaholic like me, then idling in the slow months for a long time would drive you crazy, especially if you can get a lot done. But as tempting as it is to work, do not forget that the slow months are actually good for you. Although we do not feel it is necessary, especially when we are workaholics, but our brains need a break. Dedicate some time even if it is just a week to do absolutely nothing. Indulge in your favourite books, go to a destination you enjoy, try out new restaurants, visit family and friends. Just be. Consider it as an investment towards the upcoming busy fall season and that taking a break will help your business be more productive.

Thankfully for businesses, the summer days are coming to an end. But until then, take advantage of those long warm days and organise your business.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer, who manages her creative consultancy in Abu Dhabi.