10 Things you can do on a quiet summer afternoon

June 12, 2008, 4:43 PM UTC

1. Manage by walking around. This is a concept, minted in the 1980s, in which people walk around and call it managing. The good thing about it is that 1) it’s perceived as managing by many people who are old enough to have been around in the 1980s and 2) it gets you out of your office.

2. Hose out your inbox. I read an article of some 3000 words in a Mac publication recently that was wholly devoted to this issue. It seems there’s a concept in which, with proper use of archiving and deletion of useless crud, the content of your inbox actually hits zero. Think of that. An empty inbox. It’s like a digital high colonic.

3. Take an accountant to lunch. Not that you wouldn’t do so at any other time of the year, but there are some days over the summer where quite a few people are, for some reason, “working at home.” Those are the perfect times to allocate time and any available affection to those who receive so very little. In this group, I would include non-management lawyers and the kind of financial people who slave over the numbers but get very little day-to-day recognition. A few years from now, those are the guys who could be approving your expense report. Make sure they pay, by the way.

4. Have a think-tank. Make sure to pick a day when the Board Room is empty, then get permission to use that or some other august space to gather a group of congenial people and talk about nothing in particular. Make sure it’s catered, but not opulently. Sandwiches are fine. Essential also to invite either a Research person to do a short presentation, or invite a Business Development or New Media dude to kick around a few tether balls and run them up the proverbial flagpole. There! You’re strategizing!

5. Clean out your credenza. If you don’t have a credenza, clean out your desk. If you don’t have a desk with drawers, straighten up your pile. If you don’t have a pile… what the hell are you doing, anyhow?

6. Establish your
network of friends, made up only of people that you would under no circumstances see in real life.

7. Start an e-mail chain, trying to set up a meeting of great importance with senior management. It will very quickly become apparent that senior management is all over the place, literally. Bob is in Denver. Ned is in Skokie. Maggie is in Petaluma. Everybody can try for weeks to get it together and nothing will transpire except for the common perception that you’re the only one pursuing an aggressive agenda. This is very good for you at no personal cost.

8. Program your ring tones. Right now I just added “Big Pimpin'” as the signature ring for our head of Sales. She’d really like it. In a few minutes I’m going to download a couple of games. I hear the new Incredible Hulk mobile game is terrific. This would be a departure from most that are associated with films, which are totally bogus.

9. I don’t know… This is the longest time I’ve devoted brainspace to an issue all week. It’s very hot outside, did you know? So I was going to say go have a picnic, but the idea of being out in the heat with some lousy tunafish and chips in the park, which is filled with tourists and mosquitos? Maybe not. Beyond that, it’s hard to say. Nobody really wants to do any work right now, do they? Do you?

10. Go online and book your vacation. Go ahead. I’m serious. Do it. I hear the dollar is still strong in Sri Lanka, although the air fare is through the roof. Take your time. Look at what’s out there. Isn’t that nice? Wherever you virtually go, there you virtually are, you know.