Dan Mall

I teach designers how to get the respect they deserve.

July 2023

Historically, July has been a slow month for me.

When I was running SuperFriendly, our work was largely tied to the budget cycles of large organizations. July 1 marks the beginning of “H2,” a cryptic abbreviation for “the second half of the year.” H2 planning usually happens around May and kick in in earnest around September. It’s no coincidence that this time period usually overlaps with the time when U.S. schools let out and people plan summer vacations. The “back-to-school” season usually tied 1-to-1 with a “back-to-work” push. Due to that combination, enterprise organizations weren’t hiring agencies or consultants from June—August because they really weren’t around to work with them until September. Incoming work inquiries were pretty slow in the summer, so I learned to take it light for those months too.

I no longer run an agency, but it seems my body remembers the longstanding habit of relaxing during this season. It feels a bit contradictory though, as I’m in the early stages of building a new business that is no longer tied to enterprise budgets and buying cycles. My inclination is to work harder, do more, grind it out. All of my experience says that’s what you’re supposed to do to build a business—and I could certainly use the income sooner rather than later.

Still though, the allure of spending time with my growing and changing kids and wife who still want to hang out with me and the fact that we all need rest and recharging reminds me to embrace a season of slow. I recently came across this quote from former Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius:

If you seek tranquillity, do less.

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