How to Make Productive Use of Summer Downtime: A Multi-Profession Checklist

Depending on your profession of choice, summer brings downtime. Accountants experience the metaphorical calm before the storm prior to tax time. Winter-based retailers can stock inventory. And, of course, teachers have summers off. The list is not limited to these professions — and the summer is an opportunity to take a vacation and even have some fun. But it’s also an opportunity to get yourself in order — for whatever your busy season means to you. Our checklists will teach you how to use summer downtime to get ready for a busy season ahead.

Checklist for Teachers of All Grades

  • Be classroom ready. And no, not the week before school starts. Make sure your supplies are in order — and your classroom decorations for all calendar holidays (if applicable to your level of teaching) are organized and labeled.
  • Spend time educating yourself with this list of apps for teachers and learn how to use as many as you can.
  • Start those lesson plans now. Review what worked and what didn’t work last year. Sure, you’ll have to make tweaks throughout the year — but you’ll have a basis from which to work.
  • Perform portfolio maintenance. You may not be looking for a new job at the present time, but that’s not to say the time won’t come within the next year or two. Take a look back at those lessons you’ve been exceptionally proud of and set those materials aside — or ask a colleague to review your work to help decide which lessons have been your best.

Checklist for Accountants

  • According to, the summer is a great time to review the tax year’s marketing plan. Ensure that your firm’s website is up and running. Make necessary updates to social media.
  • Investigate updates to your in-office technology. Is your firm using the latest and greatest?
  • Read up on how to better yourself as an accountant — and start with some accounting career advice.
  • Get ahead on your continuing education requirements. Surgent Professional Education provides a number of CPE courses.

Checklist for Winter-Based Retailers

  • An obvious first item for this checklist, but stock up, stock up, stock up. Be the first to order from your suppliers before the season gets under way.
  • Start a cross-platform social media countdown to your busy season. Promote an “Opening of Winter Snowboard Sale” with countdown tweets, Instagram photos of shelves filling up, and posts featuring all of the above on Facebook.

Checklist for Professionals of Any Field, Not Summer-Based

  • Attend networking meetings. The old fashioned-ones. I’ve attended a few during summer months and found that they’re more engaging and well attended when held outdoors in nicer weather — when the sun stays out until after 8pm.
  • Amp up your LinkedIn profile. Upload your resume, find a more recent photo and actually review those pre-populated lists of “people you may know.”
  • Organize your personal files. Once your working life gets busier, you won’t have nearly as much time to be sure all of your health insurance is in order, to throw out those bills from four years ago and to pick and choose what is ultimately essential paperwork going forward.

Apologies to restaurateurs, year-round retailers and summer sports enthusiasts who can’t utilize specifics of this list — but many of the tips available here can be re-worked for your off-seasons!