When the sun is shining it’s only natural for your mind to wander to thoughts of barbecues in the park and lounging on a beach far away from your desk.
Most people find it challenging to stay motivated during the summer, but the work doesn’t stop just because the sun is out. You’ve got goals to achieve, exams to pass and career milestones to jump over.
Here’s how to keep your head in the game when you’d rather be doing anything else.
Change your working hours
If you’re self-employed or work for a company that offers flexi-time, adjust the hours you spend at your desk to spend maximum time outside, whether you get up early so you can leave work in good time, or working more hours from Monday to Thursday so you can take Fridays off. Knowing you will have that extra time to enjoy the summer can help keep you motivated even on the hottest days. If you get up early and finish at three, you may even find yourself working extra hard to get all of your work done in time.
Take your work outside
Make ways to take your work outside, even if it’s just for a small portion of the day. You’ll feel less like you’re missing out, and the vitamin D production triggered by sunshine has many health benefits, and is said to help improve brain function. Take your laptop to an outdoor café, take a business call from the garden, do your revision in the park, or even have a walking meeting. In fact, one Stanford University study found walking meetings can boost creativity by an average of 60 percent – even more reason to get out in the sunshine.
Don’t skip your summer holiday
It’s a misconception that taking a week or two off work can be detrimental to your career. A Harris poll found that the average UK employee only takes 77% of their annual leave. Perhaps you think that taking holiday makes you look less committed to your role, or you don’t think it’s worth having all that catching up to do when you get back. However, not taking proper breaks from work can make you less productive and creative in the long run, as well as running the risk of burnout. Melissa Compton-Edwards, author of Married to the Job says, “What should not be overlooked is that excessive hours can have a negative effect on job performance and cause costly or reputation-damaging mistakes.”
Choose work that suits your state of mind
If you find it hard to concentrate in the summer months, and if you can, organise your working year so you don’t have high pressure of deadline driven work when it’s hot outside and you’re surrounded by distractions. Keep summer for research, preparation or prospecting, and keep the winter months busier. Spreading the work out like this doesn’t mean you’re doing less important work in summer, but you’re shifting the focus and pace to suit how you’re feeling. If you don’t have this kind of control over your yearly work schedule, you can try for a similar effect by focusing on your top priorities at the start of each day.