Summer is upon us, and it’s easy to lose focus and enjoy the sunshine. But even though the sun is shining, and the pool is beckoning, we still must be productive at work.
Here are a few tips to keep your productivity and efficiency up, while enjoying your summer.
First Things First
It’s tempting to take your time in the morning or just barrel through your foot-long to-do list. Both methods can create burnout.
Too much time wasted early in the day can mean franticly playing catchup at the end of the day. If you try rushing through your to-do list without a thought about priorities, you might end up with very little important work done.
Instead, try taking a moment to create focus during your workday.
Schedule and Prioritize
Set a realistic schedule for your to-do list and stick to it. Create a “time box” for certain tasks. A time box is a designated amount of time devoted to a single task. Instead of spending all afternoon on a single project, try setting aside an hour and switching up your tasks when that hour is done.
Do your most important work earlier in the day, when your energy levels are at their peak. Knocking out your most important tasks early in the morning sets a positive tone for the rest of your day and can inspire you to get even more done. You might even be able to leave early!
Account for summer plans – yours and others. Make sure that your co-worker’s overseas trip or a vendor’s summer hours don’t throw a wrench into your deadlines.
Wrangle Your Inbox
Create set times in your day to check and respond to emails. Answering your emails in batches can save you a lot of time and free you from distraction.
Speaking of email, is that email you’re about to write really the best way to communicate? Sometimes it’s best to pick up the phone or walk to that person’s desk and speak to a co-worker in person, rather than spending hours on an email thread trying to clarify what you meant.
Sometimes It’s the Small Things
Sometimes it’s the small things that can motivate or distract us.
- Take it offline. Do you have a task that can be done away from the computer, like brainstorming strategy or copywriting? Try writing out your thoughts on paper first, away from the computer.
- Treat yourself! Sometimes we just need small rewards to keep us on track. A walk around the building or a trip to the break room after finishing a task can be highly effective in keeping everything on track.
- Change of scenery. Is your environment distracting you? Try organizing your desk. Finish your project in another part of the building, away from distracting windows. Conference rooms are great for this.
If you oversee a team or division, try out these initiatives to help your folks stay focused during the summer:
- Encourage professional development. Summer is a great time to catch up on business reading or take a class.
- Institute a “no Friday afternoon or early Monday morning deadlines and meetings” policy. Lots of summer plans start on a Friday evening and end on a Sunday night, so alleviate some stress for your team by doing away with Monday and Friday meetings and deadlines as much as you can.
- Host your team retreat during the summer. Businesses often slow down during the summer, making it easier to get your team away from the office for a retreat.
Summertime beckons us with beaches, sunshine and margaritas. It’s easy to lose focus. But you can still enjoy your summer and get your work done by keeping a laser-focused approach. Set your priorities, keep your team focused, and make a few tweaks to your surroundings, and you should be at the beach in no time.