Summer has arrived, you can’t take fault for a wandering mind. Whether you daydream about white sandy beaches, cool mountain campsites or bustling metropolises, your mind has left on vacation even if you’ve stayed put. The only bad part about a mental getaway is, well, having to work.
Fortunately, there’s plenty for you to do to ward off the thoughts and actions that’ll derail your productivity this summer. Try these five tips to maintain your hardworking benchmark, so when it is time for your vacation, you’ll have truly earned it.
- Dress the Part
If your office attire translates into your finest pair of swim trunks or your brightest, most colorful beach caftan, you’re setting the wrong mood for the workplace. We know it’s unlikely you’ll go that casual with your work gear, but the simplest summer wardrobe swaps will make you feel more on vacation than in the office.
For example, imagine you head into the office in flip flops to make your commute easier and breezier. Be sure to bring along a pair of professional shoes so that you lose that tropical accessory as soon as focus time rolls around. Forego your favorite sundresses for classic workplace silhouettes, no matter if casual Friday calls your name or not.
Just make sure what you wear falls into the category of “work apparel” and you’ll be good. According to Forbes, “Whatever people decide to wear, as long as it is designated as work apparel they’ll get more quality work done because they’ll be more focused.”
- Maintain Your Health
If your job takes you outdoors, listen up: You hold the reigns in maintaining your health so you can continue doing your job. A sidelining injury will only halt your own productivity.
Staying safe while working in summer heat requires some planning on your part. For example, you’ll have to make a point to avoid outdoor labor during the hottest parts of the day, so you don’t overexert yourself or overheat. Wearing sunscreen and light fabrics; working in the shade; and taking plenty of breaks resemble other ways to avoid such heat-related side effects as sunstroke, heat exhaustion and sunburn.
- Make a To-Do List
If your second job sounds a little like daydreaming, make sure to tether yourself to earth with a to-do list that keeps you on track. Rather than retain a running toll of what you have to accomplish in the short and long term, whip up a new to-do list every day of a reasonably attainable set of goals you want to achieve by the end of the day.
Debate constantly circulates as to whether or not to-do lists help or hurt your productivity. It all comes down to the length of your list: a long list will feel impossible to complete, so you won’t try. The right to-do list will comprise of easily actionable items which can reasonably reach completion by the end of the day. With a little practice, you’ll get it down — and knock your productivity quotas out of the park.
- Become a Morning Person
The sun rises sooner in the summer and stays with us for longer hours throughout the day. Take advantage of the sunshine, especially if you want to increase your productivity.
Start setting your alarm clock for earlier — and, no, you can’t press snooze — to reap the many benefits of waking up to productivity right off the bat. Getting into the habit of exercising or meditating, planning for the day ahead, etc., represent quick little activities you can tack to the start of your morning schedule to ensure a day’s worth of productivity.
- Enjoy the Weather
Yes, you read that right. Don’t think productivity equates to cooping up in your office and never, ever leaving ‘til the bell tolls at 5 or 6 p.m. Instead, relish in the fact that research has shown time and time again that a bit of a break from your desk can work wonders regarding productivity.
Even if you stand up and step away from your computer for a few minutes, you’ll combat the mental fatigue that comes with constant work and repetitiveness. If you combine your brain’s need for breaks with the naturally productivity-boosting effects of nature, then you might hit the jackpot.
Grab a co-worker or fly solo as you head outside of the office doors for a break of fresh air, a quick walk around the building or a sunny lunch away from your desk. Seriously — simply seeing the color green on a piece of paper made participants in one study more creative in a set of tasks. Imagine what a bit of summer sunshine on the trees will do for your brain.
This tip goes to show that, yes, a happy medium exists when it comes to summertime work responsibilities. Yes, you have to go to the office and, yes, you have to continue performing as you did this spring, winter and fall. But you can find little ways to enjoy your summer while still on the job, and that will tide you over until your turn comes around to jet off on the vacation you spent so little time daydreaming about.