Working during the summer comes with its own unique set of challenges. Co-workers are sharing plans, stories and pictures of their tropical vacations and weekend getaways. Commutes become hotter, longer and sweatier. Out-of-the-office email responses are more frequent, and there’s a near constant distraction of warm weather and the wish to get outside. When summer comes, are you left choosing whether you or your work suffers?
Laura Lee Rose, a business and efficiency coach, says, “The idea isn’t to ‘ignore’ or deny yourself [in order] to stay focused at work. The harder you work on blocking out summer — the more you feel distracted, disgruntled and penalized. The idea is to allow summer to be properly integrated into your work schedule.” She offers tips one through five to help you stay productive during the summer months:
1. Schedule and publish your vacation days to your managers several months in advance.
The best way is to schedule all your vacation at the start of the new year. This assures that you take the vacation days that you need to recharge. You may not know what you want to do during those vacation days — but you typically know what weeks are available with spouse, children and other family/friends. Publishing your dates well in advance allows your managers to manage project resources around your absence. Continually reminding your manager of upcoming vacation in your one-on-one manager meetings, reminds your manager the need to work around you during those dates. If you plan these things well in advance, there should be no reason for you to cancel your vacation because of work.
2. Take short breaks and walks outside during the work day.
Bring and set your timer to remind you to return to the office when the timer goes off.
3. Take advantage of the summer weekends.
Schedule some weekend hours with family in the outdoors or summer-related activities: take tours of your town, attend water parks or amusement parks in your area, bike ride and visit neighborhood parks, play tennis with friends, etc. Pack a summer activity during your time off. This fulfills the feeling that you just got back from a mini-vacation. Summer brings some rainy weekends — include family board games or other indoor games.
4. Bring summer into your office.
Bring summertime fruit juices and fruit, summertime lunch snacks; put on coconut hand lotion; wear colorful and light (office appropriate) outfits; do things that help you feel like you are relaxed and calm while you are doing your work.
5. Socialize near and outside of the office.
Schedule a long lunch at least every two weeks during the summer — and make plans to meet friends at a special outdoor restaurant.
Enjoying the perks of summer even while you’re at work are just some of the ways to keep your productivity up. Other important tips include a focus on your mental and physical well-being. Jackie Chu is a media and organic search specialist for the advertising agency TRAFFIK. She shares tips six through nine to help keep your mind and body focused and feeling well during warmer weather:
6. Stay cool.
Drink ice cold water throughout the day and keep the office at a reasonably cold level. It’s proven that being warm makes you sleepy and fatigued while being (slightly) cold keeps you more alert and awake
7. Stay hydrated.
Try to drink about 2.2 liters a day for women and 3.0 liters a day for men. For a more accurate measure, take your body weight in pounds, divide in half and drink that amount in fluid ounces. Most people are dehydrated, and this causes them to overeat, oversleep and have poor energy levels and digestion. If you drink enough water you’ll notice that you’ll eat less, be less groggy and be more alert throughout the day.
8. Schedule tasks when you’re most up to complete them.
I try to write in the morning when I’m more focused and alert. This is also when I complete tasks that involve strategy. After lunch — when you can be more sleepy — try to focus on things that are more time consuming but involve less mental exhaustion. This helps me use my day, time and energy effectively.
9. Make a schedule and to-do list.
I write in everything, from when I can go to the gym or yoga to every task that needs to be completed that day. By seeing a written list of what needs to be completed it helps me stay on task (and it feels awesome when I get to cross things off)!