By Published On: July 28, 2016

From the time we’re kids, summer is synonymous with swimming, playing with friends, having fun, and most of all, being on vacation. Even for working adults, decades removed from childhood, the summer vacation mindset can be hard to break. This time of year, when the sun is shining, and the blue sky is beckoning for us to go outside and play hooky, it can be challenging to stay focused on our computer screens.

So how do you stay inspired, motivated, and productive at work when you’d rather go for a bike ride or catch a day game at the ballpark? Here are seven tips that may help.

  1. Unstuck yourself. Feeling trapped inside your gray office walls? Grab your laptop and work at a coffee shop or an outdoor café. Hold meetings outside. If it’s a meeting between two people, discuss business as you walk around the block. Eat your lunch outdoors or head to the park. The idea is that instead of being stuck indoors wishing you were outside, you can take advantage of the great weather by incorporating it into your work day. If your job allows, you could even adjust your work schedule. Shift your hours from 9 to 5, to 10 to 6—and give yourself extra time to do something outside during the cooler morning hours.
  1. Set your brain to work mode. When it’s tough to focus at your desk, there are lots of effective methods for being more productive. First, try working in sprints. Set a goal to work for a predetermined amount of time, (using a timer) and don’t stop until the time runs out (ixnay the social media and internet browsing). After a short break, go back and do another work sprint. Using timed work/rest periods can be great at keeping you focused and on task. Other productivity tips include setting daily productivity goals, doing your most important tasks early in the day (when your focus is usually the strongest), staying hydrated to maintain alertness, and dressing professionally. In the summer, it’s tempting to wear T-shirts and flip-flops to the office, but this will only make it feel more like you’re in vacation mode instead of work mode.
  1. Be environmentally conscious. To be productive, you need to create an environment that’s conducive to working. Keep your desk organized. Eliminate distractions (turn off your email application, hide your phone, etc.). Make sure your office is cool and comfortable. If it’s too hot, you’ll feel sluggish, which is a productivity killer. If the A/C in the office isn’t great, use a desk fan. Do whatever you need to do to feel good, alert, and ready to work.
  1. Get physical. Getting up, stretching, and moving around keeps the blood flowing and your energy level up. Plus it helps increase your overall focus and concentration. Go outside for some sun. Even sitting outside for five minutes or taking a short walk can make you feel better about being at work. It’s good for your physical and mental health.
  1. Turn downtime into productive time. Summer can be slow time for many industries. Rather than surfing the web, or doing some other mindless activity to pass the time, take advantage of your downtime to learn new skills or work on your new business marketing. Rather than making you bored, and staring out the window, staying busy will keep your mind sharp and help the time pass more quickly. You know how it works—boredom begets boredom. So take on new tasks. Challenge yourself.
  1. Vacate the premises. It may seem counterintuitive, but if you want to feel more inspired at work, take a vacation. Using some of your vacation days will help you to feel like you’re not stuck at work all summer. If you’re getting out, having fun, and taking advantage of your time off, you’ll not only feel more refreshed, you’ll also feel better about the times you’ve got to work. So take some long weekends and have some adventures. It will make you happier and more effective when you’re back in the office.
  1. Plan for fun. Summer is a great time for team building. Going for drinks after work, or planning something bigger like a company picnic can be an excellent way to have fun and keep everyone feeling more connected to each other, the company, and their jobs. But you don’t have to restrict activities to outside of work. Incorporating some creative fun directly into the work day can be a great way to engage people on a daily basis. For example, this year, d.trio launched its first Summer Challenge series. Each week during the summer, we set up an agency-wide “challenge” (including “no meats or sweets week” and “no complaining week”) to create a sense of fun and team spirit, while teaching us some new things about ourselves.

So, next time you’re struggling to find inspiration at work when the great outdoors is beckoning, try some of the above tips. While this time of year can be a tough one for staying motivated, taking the right steps toward staying focused and managing your energy can help you feel better, enjoy the summer, and be more productive, too.

About the Author: cat-tonic

Born of curiosity and enthusiasm, we’re a scrappy group of smart, passionate marketers who work hard and play hard. We show up every day and fight for our clients who are making the world a better place. We listen with curiosity, explore deeply, ask hard questions, and sometimes put forth ideas that might make you squirm. Because we believe the status quo is good for growing mold but not much else. The way we see it, change is the way forward and the magic happens when curiosity, math, science, instinct, and talent intersect.
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