The summer goes by quickly — and it’s easy to feel like you’ve squandered the weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
If you’re hoping to make this summer different, it’s important to set your priorities in advance. As in, block off a chunk of time on your calendar for relaxing, and figure out which specific career challenges you want to tackle.
That’s according to Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job.” We asked Taylor to tell us about how the most successful people spend the summer months — and how the rest of us can emulate that. Read on to find out what to start doing this weekend.
1. Set measurable goals
“Successful people are very strategic,” Taylor said, “so why shouldn’t that apply to the summertime?”
She gave examples of quantifiable goals that successful people might establish over the summer months:
• Spend X days completely taking time off
• Meet with X number of clients
• Spend X amount of time with family members
Ideally, Taylor added, the areas where you’re setting these goals should be ones that have been “on the back burner” for a while.
2. Consider their professional future
“Summer is a very good time to be reflective about your future,” Taylor said. “It’s a good idea to put together a document about where you are in your career.”
That document can answer questions including:
• Is your current job part of your overall career plan?
• Is your job description consistent with where you want to be right now?
• Is your career consistent with your passions?
• Are you happy going to work?
• Are there certain skill sets that you haven’t been tapping in the last year?
• Does your job have growth potential?
3. Talk to their boss about their career
As you craft the document mentioned above, you might notice that you’re not developing your passions as much as you’d like.
Taylor gave an example: You work in public relations and you love brainstorming — but lately you’ve gotten caught up in pitching clients and haven’t gotten to do as much ideation.
Instead of approaching your boss and complaining, or asking their permission to hold more brainstorming sessions, Taylor advised coming up with a plan yourself and presenting it to your boss.
First think about how holding more creative sessions will benefit the company’s bottom line. Then consider exactly how you’ll go about it — maybe you’ll dedicate the last 15 minutes of every weekly staff meeting to brainstorming. “Think like an entrepreneur,” Taylor said.
4. Think beyond their 9-5 job
If your boss is resistant to your plan to hold more creative sessions (or whatever it is you’re pushing for), Taylor said you can think about “what are other ways I can tap into my creative skills outside the job?”
Maybe you’ll start a blog, for example, or volunteer in your industry. Taking that initiative may boost your career overall.
As business slows down over the summer, successful people try to do more networking “on-site and off-site,” Taylor said. For example, you might travel across the country visiting clients (you can even tack on a personal vacation day at the end of the trip).
Or, you might simply take your boss or your coworkers to lunch. “This is a perfect opportunity to let your team know you care,” Taylor said.
Overall, Taylor added, the summer is a great time to schedule all those networking events that you wished you could go to in the past few months, but couldn’t because you were too busy.
It can be difficult to tell a hardworking person that they need to take time off. But truly successful people know the importance of designating time to rest and rejuvenate — whether that means taking a solo vacation or spending time with family and friends.
Note that you shouldn’t be spending your vacations writing career-development plans and starting a blog. You should really be separating yourself from work. As Taylor said, “There’s nothing like having a complete detachment for a while.”
This story originally appeared on Business Insider.