It is hard to stay focused at work all the time, but it becomes really hard to focus when you are in the midst of the summer season trying to juggle sunset drinks with friends, picnics, weekend beach planning, and traveling—all while working at the same time!
On top of it all, most of your co-workers are out on vacation enjoying fun in the sand while you are left tending to both their duties and your own.
Marian Morgan, a productivity coach says, “It can be extremely difficult to get things done and maintain a high level of productivity when people (especially decision makers) are out of the office. And the workflow subsequently slows down.” When referring to managing kids home from school, she adds, “Balancing work and family becomes even more challenging.”
Al Coleman, Jr., author of Secrets to Success: The Definitive Career Development Guide for New and First Generation Professionals says, “It’s natural for you to be a bit less productive at work in the summer months due to nice weather, vacations, and if you have a family, the summer activities of your children. You’d generally rather be anywhere than work”.
So, to help you out during the summer season here are some tips on how to boost your productivity and stay focused:
Take some time off to stay on
If you have a few vacation days left, take time to enjoy a day with your loved ones or find your own personal retreat. Every employee needs a break and this will give you a chance to refresh and recharge during the season. Coleman also reminds us to ”take time to schedule other summer events and activities that are important to you so that you can plan your work around them.” Managing your time properly can help eliminate the anxiety of being away from the office. When you know you will be having a lunch-date with a friend, try working later the day before or arriving to work earlier that morning.
Plan in advance and clearly communicate your schedule
Conflicts are inevitable when planning vacations because you may discover more than one employee requested the same time off. As a result, the first thing that comes to mind is productivity being compromised, followed by finding a solution that will keep the process flowing. It is important to plan ahead in this circumstance in order to establish a system that clearly delineates the level of coverage necessary and the time frame in which tasks should be accomplished during the vacationing employee's absence. Whiteboards and planners are called office essentials for a reason! Because they’re essential to the organization and communication efficiency in any kind of office! Use them to make clear all your co-workers vacation schedules to everyone, and who is staying responsible for their tasks while they are gone to have some sweet summer fun. Having an office equipped with essentials such as whiteboards and planners promotes the efficiency of organization and communication that can help alleviate the stresses of having an inconsistent work flow.
Be more flexible concerning priorities
As a workplace expert, Lynn Taylor states, “This may be a time of fewer distractions because of people being out. Capitalize on that by focusing on projects that require strategic thought and planning so you'll be ready to precede with your fall proposals at a time when the pressure cooker environment returns. You'll be glad you took advantage of any lulls.” So, being flexible about shifting your priorities is also a good professional skill. As it allows you not to get stuck so often, depending on an absent boss or co-worker’s input, and to focus on other tasks like planning ahead!
Prefer teamwork instead of working solo
Let's face it, when it's summertime and all you can think about is lounging by the sea instead of submitting your assignment by the deadline, considering another option than working solo may be your best bet. Working in a team is not only beneficial in boosting the creative qualities of each individual but it is also an effective way of being motivated to stay focused, thereby increasing work efficiency.
Work anytime, anywhere, with a little help
Be more flexible! Like Coleman says, “While you certainly don’t want to pass up on vacations or miss key events in the lives of your friends and family, you may need to use technology to briefly work remotely; or you may need to ask for the assistance of a co-worker or use a few of the scheduling tricks previously mentioned to ensure that you meet the demands of your job while taking time for yourself.” Nowadays interactive whiteboards come with free collaboration software that offers the convenience of video conferencing almost anywhere and allows for productivity even when you are away from the office.
Organize & make plans for your loved ones if you are busy
If you’re a parent, you know the summertime can be one of the busiest times of year trying to keep the kids occupied. Or, maybe there is a loved one that requires more time and attention from you. When the summer season is busy on the home front and work keeps piling up at the office, it would be nice to achieve a good balance between work and family time. Thinking ahead and planning activities for your kids – like daycare or summer camp - or for your parents that came in town for a visit, will put you at ease and allow you to focus on important projects at work without feeling like a 24-hour concierge for your family. Offer your loved ones an elegant planner or a stylish notice board and give them the freedom to keep track and take control of their own summer plans!
If things are slow, prepare to glow
If you’re usually unproductive during the summer season simply because things around the office are slow, use the time to get a jump start on upcoming projects, or catch up on many loose ends that have accumulated over time. Sure, we know there are days you feel that merely showing up equates to productivity, but you cannot allow yourself the willingness to surrender to slacking off because it seems like there is nothing to do at the office. Get a jump start and organize, plan ahead, clear the clutter, and uptake unfinished business and when it’s time to finally take that well-deserved vacation, no amount of guilt could hold you back.
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