I was walking in the Times Square area the other day when I spotted a person wearing a very graphic tee shirt. It read, “No such thing as off-season.” While I'm sure he was thinking NFL, NBA, or MLB, my wheels turned toward the workplace.

I can't tell you how many times people have told me, “Let's wait ‘til after (name the holiday)” or “I can't network now, no one is in their offices.” As a person with a perch that must overlook the offices of thousands of people, I can tell you with certainty — people are at work.

Let me give you a bit of reprieve. Surely more people take vacation in August than February and days around holidays tend to slow the pace a bit, but only a bit. I say take advantage of the shift and just like professional athletes do in the non-playing months, keep in shape and work towards the next big push.

Here are some thoughts:

It's a great time to network: Granted, some people are away. That fact is tempered by the reality that most people are not. The amount of business travel and meetings may lessen, which means people are around and available. They answer their phones, are open to a “checking-in” e-mail and possibly meeting. I find these times excellent opportunities to get together with referrals sources, former executive coaching clients, and other coaches. It might just be coffee or a drink after work but they are free and a bit more relaxed given the season. Suggestion: Think of ten people you would call if you needed workplace advice or were looking for a new job. Make an effort to reach out to each and every one of those on the list. Request some form of conversation. I promise you it's easier than calling someone when you really do need them. It also gives you permission to do so when you must.

It's a great time to re-group: So often we are struggling with the day-to-day we fail to look at the big picture, re-evaluate why we do the work we do, or measure ourselves to our long-term goals and aspirations. Suggestion: Use the fact that the monthly meeting is not happening to steal the time for your career strategy update, doctor your resume, or improve your cover letter.

It's a great time to clean-up: Office clutter might not be obvious but it can be insidious. You know what I'm talking about — the misfiled documents, duplicates, outdated or wrong info that occupies your desktop, contacts, and e-mail accounts. Suggestion: tackle a major file a day and cull it. Unsubscribe to those e-mails you always delete. Same is true for the articles you're never going to read. Delight in throwing things out.

It's a great time to update your LinkedIn account: I've listed this separately because it's that important. Suggestion: Take an hour and read the posting of your competition. Or, update your profile with keywords. Or, get and give more recommendations. If you are not working on your LinkedIn, you're not working your career strategy. It's how headhunters, former co-workers, and prospective clients find you. Yes, it's that important.

It's a great time to schmooze the top people: I've been at the bottom of the ladder and at the top. I promise you it's lonelier and more isolated at the top. I loved when employees came to chat — not about the day-to-day headaches but at a more personal level — career advice, checking in with me, sharing common interests. Suggestion: If you're in a large office complex change your route to the restroom, talk to people in the elevator, think of a reason to run into anyone whose position ranks higher than yours and then have a reason to start a conversation. Saying “hello” is always a good start. The more people know your name and face, the greater the know, like, trust factor works.

Time is valuable and all times of the year can be more so if we use them in an appropriate way. Just as professional athletes admit there really isn't an off-season, merely a period when you're not playing in public, it is true with your work and career. Study your priorities and look where you might have become distracted or strayed. Be ready for the big time with efforts now.

(c) Jane Cranston.

Author's Bio: 

Jane Cranston is an executive career coach. She works with success-driven executives, managers and leaders to reach their potential, better manage their boss and staff, as well as develop a career strategy to reach goals and aspirations. Jane is the author of Great Job in Tough Times a step-by-step job search system. Click here to subscribe to her twice monthly Competitive Edge Report.