Managing your productivity at the best of times can be a careful balancing act, but in the summer it can feel like it's ten times harder. Who wants to work when the sun's shining and you could be soaking it up outdoors? With the kids home from school, work can easily shift down the list of your priorities.
A Captivate study found that workplace productivity drops a whopping 20 percent during the summer months. To keep yourself on track and avoid becoming a statistic, consider the tips below.
Take Time to Relax and Unwind
It sounds counterproductive, but if you want to stay productive it's best to avoid burnout. Either take a vacation and turn your email and voicemail off, or take mini breaks during the day.
The Pomodoro technique can help you stay focused during the day. Grab a kitchen timer, or use the timer on your phone. Set it for 25 minutes and work solidly. When it goes off, set the timer for five minutes and take a break.
After four rounds of 25-minute work sessions, set your timer for 15 minutes for a longer break. It works because it makes you manage your time in short, easy chunks.
It's easier to think “I'll get as much of this report done in the next 25 minutes” than it is to think “I have 5 reports to do by the end of the day.”
Make Changes at Work
Things can slow down in the workplace as fellow employees go on vacation, projects begin to thin out, and there doesn't seem to be as much pressing work to accomplish. Instead of letting yourself get lazy, use this time to make changes at work and optimize your working habits, preparing yourself for the fall rush.
Deep clean your working environment, throwing out or putting into storage everything that's creating cluttering. Then, get busy cleaning out your email inbox. Once your workplace is clear of all distractions, you can implement the Getting Things Done approach.
The approach helps organize your workflow in a manageable way, keeping your to-do lists and schedule under control and making you more productive as a result. If you're interested, check out the book or how one blogger used the method to optimize their inbox.
Look After Your Health
To keep productive, it's best to keep an eye on your health. Looking after your body means that you're less likely to be struck down with a productivity-sapping illness. Plus, taking care of yourself means you’ll generally feel more energetic and ready for the workday ahead.
In the summer months, it can be tempting to spend more time drinking, especially as friends invite you to BBQs and other outdoor activities where alcohol is involved. Your work the next day can suffer as a result of too much partying, and regular drinking can lead to a variety of health and personal issues. Instead of drinking, try another fun outdoor activity, such as hiking or camping, to make the most of the summer.
The summer can seem like a long slog, especially when you're stuck in the office all day and the sunshine is beckoning outside. Instead of cursing your luck and coasting through work until the end of the day, use the down time to reorganize your working life. Make the most of the time you have available! Also, make sure you schedule in time to relax and have fun. After all, it's the summer – make the most of it!