Summer is the season to get outdoors, go on vacation, and bask in the sunlight. But it’s also a season of distractions.
Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between having fun and working hard this summer. The key is to chip away at your goals without getting lost in them. Build fun into your summer with outdoor activities you enjoy, such as exercising or working in the garden.
Here are some tips for balancing summer fun with focused work:
1. Get Fit
Energy begets energy. Fitness should be your first priority this summer because it creates momentum for work, as well as personal projects.
When the weather is hot, it’s important to find ways to exercise safely. Add a jog to your morning routine. Invest in a Tower ebike, which can help you cruise the hills without overheating. Get an indoor gym membership.
Exercise doesn’t just boost your productivity, either. Getting fit generates a sense of pride, leads to lower medical bills, and can be incredibly fun.
2. Set Seasonal Goals
Summertime is no exception: It’s important to set goals if you want to have a productive season.
Without goals to work toward, you risk feeling like you wasted your summer. Come September, you’ll wish you’d dedicated yourself to something more than lazy afternoons.
Your goals are your own, of course. But given that the weather is nice and classes are out, you might:
- Continue your personal development by completing an online course or certificate.
- Finish a yard project you’ve been putting off.
- Plan a summer vacation for the whole family.
- Develop an outdoor hobby, such as fishing or sailing.
- Grow healthy produce in your garden.
3. Take Plenty of Time Off
It may seem counterproductive to plan for time off from work. But it’s critical to give yourself time to recharge and have fun, especially in summer.
With your seasonal goals in mind, plan out at least one multi-day break from work. This could be as simple as taking a couple of long weekends to make progress on your home projects or as extravagant as a two-week vacation on a Caribbean island.
By building time into your schedule to not work, you give yourself permission to enjoy the summer. Not only can this cut your stress levels, but it also creates a sense of motivation. You’ll be so excited about your free time that you’ll press the gas pedal at work. And once you get back from your vacation, you’ll be even more productive than you were before.
4. Stay Cool
Focused work requires an environment that’s conducive to productivity. During the summer months, the primary environmental issue is temperature.
If you can, work somewhere with air conditioning. No number of small fans can combat the combination of body heat and 90-degree weather in an office. The bump to your electric bill is worth the boost you’ll see in your productivity.
If not, you’ll need to get creative. Consider moving your workday up so you don’t have to toil in the heat of the day. Keep your ice maker and fridge stocked with your favorite beverages. Wear clothes that won’t stick to you, even if you get a little sweaty.
5. Let in Some Sun
If you work in an office environment, you might feel like you’re wasting your summer indoors. Invite summer into your workspace by letting in natural light.
Letting in sunlight also has health benefits. Sunlight encourages the body to produce more vitamin D, which can protect against inflammation, lower your blood pressure, and improve brain function.
Move your desk closer to a window, or at least open the blinds to let more light in. If those aren’t good options, you can always take a walk outdoors when you’re on break.
Finally, check with your co-workers. How would they feel about holding meetings outdoors? Would they want to join you for lunch at the picnic table?
6. Enjoy the Long Afternoons
In the summer, it doesn’t get dark until 9 p.m. or later. Why not take advantage of that time?
There are dozens of ways to do it, including:
- Inviting your co-workers out for a happy hour on a patio.
- Taking a short hike with your spouse.
- Taking the kids for a swim.
- Making dinner on the grill.
- Volunteering outdoors, such as highway litter pickup.
One word of warning: Don’t forget the sunscreen. During the summer months, you can get burned, even around dinnertime.
7. Eat Lightly
When it’s hot out, who wants to eat a heavy, greasy meal? Sluggishness and heartburn are sure to follow.
Look through your meal plan. Limit your meat consumption to one meal per day. Eat out only when you have no other option, such as on a road trip. Avoid starchy foods, and cut fatty snacks entirely.
What should you eat instead? Cold soups, fruit salads, and bean dishes. You’ll feel full while consuming fewer calories, avoid heating up the house by cooking, and make clean-up easier.
8. Go to Bed Early
If you want to make the most of summer days, it’s best to go to bed early. That way, you can get some sun in the morning, even if you have to work during the day.
Challenge yourself: Move your alarm back an hour. Spend two weeks getting accustomed to your new wake-up time, then do it again. Do your morning routine before the sunrise so you can spend a little time relaxing outdoors before you have to head to the office.
If you’re struggling, check your screen habits. The blue light produced by your smartphone and TV screens suppresses melatonin, which tells the body it’s time to rest. Put down your devices at least an hour before bed, and keep all screens out of the bedroom. Encourage your partner to do the same.
Focus and fun don’t have to be an either-or decision. Get the best of both worlds this season by setting goals, working hard, and then cutting free for those long summer nights.