It’s been 7 weeks since Memorial Day; it’s another 7 weeks until Labor Day.

For those who remained employed, many worked remotely. For others it’s been a summer of cancelled opportunities and internships, rescinded offers, layoffs, and furloughs.

If you’re in the latter category, I’m sure you had many well-intended folks weigh in and encourage you to embark on creative projects, acquire new skills, cultivate your professional network, to get organized and have something to say and show for Summer 2020.

We’re half way through Summer 2020.  What have you done?

We had and still have COVID-19, compounded by tragic news and politics to make matters worse. Plainly put, it’s been a hell of a summer, we get it.  Unfortunately, that’s not going to cover up the gap in your resume for Summer 2020. The good news is it’s not late… remember we have 7 weeks till Labor Day.  Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Turn off the cellphone and dedicate a block of time. You don’t have to spend hours, unless you can and/or want to.  This may be one of the few instances where frequency matters more than duration to develop mental muscle memory to think and focus in order to act.
  • Write a list and keep it short. Max 5 items you want to tackle throughout the week. The number of items on your list is a personal preference. Some claim 7 is the magic number, others say 3.
  • Set a deadline and establish a timeline for each one of your items from start to finish.  For example, if an item were to take a month (4 weeks) to complete, breakdown weekly tasks to be completed during week 1 through week 4.
  • Check in with yourself midweek. What did you get to? What you haven’t gotten to should go to the top of the list.
  • Evaluate yourself at the end of the week.  It’s OK if you don’t complete all items on your list, but if you notice certain “To Dos” keep getting bumped down, ask yourself why. Did you overestimate your capacity to complete the task for the week or underestimate the amount of time needed. Do you keep tackling the easy stuff and putting off the harder ones. Is your time getting hijacked by others, or are you letting them do so and thus sabotaging yourself.

It’s important for all of us to keep in mind that thinking and getting projects completed take time. There’s no app in the world that’ll complete your “To Do” list for you in a nano second.

Practicing to develop mental muscle memory to tackle your projects is like learning to play a sport, play an instrument, speak a foreign language.

Just imagine, when an interviewer or a professional you’re looking to impress asks “What did you do during that difficult Summer of 2020?” You’ll be rewarded by having something meaningful, productive and proud to talk about.

You don’t need this article to remind you that there are plenty of great sports teams that won after being down at halftime.