Ways to stay productive in the summer
Some employees struggle to stay focused at work during summer months. Rather than concentrating on projects and responsibilities, many daydream about traveling, sunbathing, drinking fruity cocktails or hanging out with their kids who are on summer vacation.
If you're having a tough time staying on task at work, check out the following tips. These strategies will help you balance your workload and set aside time for the fun activities summer has to offer.
Longing to be outside
Being stationed at a desk or cubicle while the sun is shining outside can be difficult. You may have trouble focusing on work when all you want to do is hit the pool, landscape your home or enjoy a water park.
To help you overcome the urge to ditch your desk and head outdoors, consider some advice from Laura Scott, president of 180 Coaching with Laura Scott. She says, "If your desk faces a window with a view that might tempt you outside, obscure part of the view with a framed inspirational saying, a whiteboard with your schedule or running to do-list or a vision board showing the important goals you wish to accomplish over the summer."
If you continue to struggle to keep your mind on work because you'd rather be outside, use your lunch break to get outdoors. Laurie Battaglia, a career coach and co-owner of Living the Dream Coaches in Scottsdale, Arizona, encourages you to "take a walk, exercise outdoors or just go outside at lunch and sit on a bench or a table outdoors. If that's not available, at least eat your lunch by a window and pretend you're somewhere else."
Battaglia also recommends taking some time off of work to enjoy the fun activities summer has to offer. "Reward yourself with a long weekend once a month. Plan a mini vacation or staycation. Planning in some playtime or downtime allows you to focus on work, knowing there's a reward for it," she explains.
Staying on task
Heidi Reimer-Epp, founder and president of Botanicalpaperworks.com, says, "Summer is definitely a time when I'd rather be outside enjoying the sun, not sitting in my office at a desk!" Here are a few strategies she uses for staying focused and getting her work done during the summer months:
- "I keep a complete list of all of my projects, to-do items, deadlines and waiting-for items. Anytime I think of a to-do item, I put it on the list. That way, I have a clear understanding of my commitments and can make wise choices with how I'm spending my time."
- "I spend the first 60 minutes of every day working on one project. On Sunday night, I schedule the five 60-minute meetings 'with myself' in my calendar and decide which projects I'll do. I don't schedule any other meetings until after that uninterrupted time each day. And I definitely don't let myself wander over to Facebook or Twitter while I'm in the zone."
- "At the end of each day, I schedule a hard deadline, like 'pick up kids from day camp.' It motivates me to use my time well during the day, knowing that I don't have the option of staying late."
Dealing with distractions with your children on summer break
If your children are on summer break and home during the day, rather than in school, you may encounter more distractions than usual. Your children may call or text more often, expect you to chauffeur them from place to place or resolve arguments between each other. As a parent, you may feel compelled to respond to your children's needs, but these issues can lead to problems in the workplace.
Scott offers some advice: "If you have children living at home who are on summer vacation, set and continue to enforce the boundaries you have made during the school year regarding phone calls at work, texts and requests for rides or errands. If you have not yet set boundaries, decide how many phone calls, texts or requests for rides or errands you can reasonably handle efficiently and productively on any given workday. Remember that the only way to find more time to do work is to stay focused and manage interruptions."