Let’s talk summer productivity. It’s not always easy, but as it’s summertime up north of the equator, it’s definitely something you should be thinking about.
Sunshine, longer daylight, warm weather, and nature is in full bloom. It’s a wonderful time of year to be outside, enjoying yourself. Do so with my top tips to getting outside and enjoying summer, whilst staying productive and getting things done.
1. Prioritise Your Tasks and Include Summer Treats
Prioritise your time and tasks as you normally would, but add in some more great summer treats to make getting things done this summer that much sweeter. If you have a holiday planned, prioritise getting tasks done beforehand in order to be able to switch off completely and fully recharge. You are allowed to enjoy yourself and you’ll find you come back with renewed enthusiasm – especially if you leave work at the office.
2. Listen to Summer Tunes
Music has been proven to boost productivity for 9 out of 10 persons. Therefore, it is highly likely that listening to something upbeat and with minimal to no lyrics will help you stay productive and happy whilst working this summer. But, as my next point discusses, this doesn’t always have to be working at your indoor desk.
Personally, I recommend signing up to a dedicated music channel such as Amazon Unlimited Music. Avoid having your music interrupted by a radio DJ demanding your attention or an advertisement for vacuum cleaners, and keep your productivity flowing. Uninterrupted.
3. Outdoor Office
If you have space outside, weather it’s in your own garden or there is outdoor seating at your favourite coffee shop, why not make use of it this summer? Take your laptop, tablet, or simply pen and paper and take your morning or afternoon shift of work in the open air.
The trick for this one working is to make sure you have successfully prioritised and scheduled your tasks for the day. In so doing, you will be able to work outside without finding you have left something indoors or back at the office.
If you work for a company, it’s important to discuss doing this with your line manager before working offsite. When you have approval, make sure to check in occasionally via email or text and keep up-to-date with what is happening back in the office. Say thank-you: If you have enough funds or there is an office pot for treats, bring your boss and co-workers back something nice on your way back.
Fresh air and a different environment is good for your mental health, stimulates new ideas and produce alternate perspectives on challenges that have cropped up. Who knows what fresh ideas or new inspirations may come your way? Getting work done whilst outside is a a great way to make the most of both the pleasant weather and your time for productivity.
4. Coffee Breaks Outside
Exactly what it says on the tin. It’s summer: ditch drinking coffee at your desk and step outside for a minimum of 15 minutes each day.
There are many great benefits for your health as well as productivity by doing this. Sunshine, especially in the morning, will help you get a better night’s sleep. Vitamin D is also absorbed through the skin, which calcium needs in order to keep your bones and teeth strong. It’s also great for your hair and nails. For even more benefits of a daily dose of sunshine, read my short article: 3 benefits of morning sunshine.
The other benefit is – coffee. Coffee is actually quite good for you. It has relaxing qualities, brought about by means of antioxidants. As a result, drinking coffee while outside is a sure-fire way to relax, distress and feel more fired up and able to take on the tasks for the day.
5. Afternoon Ice-cream
It’s summer. Treat yourself! Cool down with some ice-cream, or if you are lactose intolerant, some sorbet. If you’d rather bring your own ice-cream to work but there is no freezer, don’t worry. Here’s a quick tip to let you do so:
- Quick fix to keeping ice-cream: get a cool bag and some reusable ice blocks. This will keep your ice-cream or sorbet chilled until you are ready for it. While this is great if you are bringing in small portions, it won’t keep very well for more than several hours.
- For a more permanent and flexible store: consider investing in a table-top freezer.
- If you work from home: just use your own freezer. Sorted!
6. Group Lunches Out
That cool bag you got might be used for more than just keeping ice-cream/sorbet cold – it could help bring lunches outside to the park! You and your team, or those who you are going to be working with on a joint project, or even just your friends who happen to be in the area on the day, can have an outdoor lunch together.
Of course, this doesn’t have to be a picnic in the park. Meeting at a local café with outdoor seating works, too. But remember, the key to keeping the stress down is planning.
Socialising over food and great weather creates an excellent atmosphere to relax, de-stress and make tasks seem less odious when you return to the office that afternoon.
7. Take your Meetings Outdoors
Of course, just because lunch is over doesn’t mean that you have to immediately go back to the office. If you have any meetings, they can happen outside, too. Dust off those sandwich crumbs and swap your picnic remains for fresh ideas and positive mind-sets for a super productive outdoor meeting. No stuffiness to deter an already established great atmosphere!
Not all meetings will be suitable to happen out, but whenever possible, go for it. It shows that you value your team’s health and welfare, whilst also addressing the agenda for the day.
8. One-to-One Colleague Talks – A Walk in the Park
Sometimes, you have to catch-up with specific individuals. Whether it’s to discuss projects or mentor a new colleague, keep it informal and personable this summer and walk and talk together.
Exercise is great for keeping the mind sharp and is great for boosting endorphin levels. Again, this is great to unwind, stay productive and great for mental health. Who said being an office worker means you only ever work inside a stuffy office?
9. Half-Day Fridays
It’s summer, and for a lot of companies, that means hitting the so-called “summer slump”. That there’s not much to do, or that colleagues have taken leave to go on holiday can impact negatively on summer productivity and workplace positivity.
Encourage each other to enjoy the summer time. It only comes once a year and the weather is a fickle creature. With schools closed for summer, it’s a great time of year to get in some quality family time. Establish half-day Friday’s, or suggest it to your line manager and/or HR.
Work places that value their staff will always get more back from them. Show that you care about their welfare and give either the whole afternoon off, or simply by ending the work day an hour or two early. If you can’t outright afford to do this, suggest extending the work days prior by half an hour as a compromise.
10. Take Personal Time – Use Your Annual Leave
As I outlined in the point above, summer comes but once a year. Permit yourself to take some time off. If you are a solopreneur, it may require some more planning than others, but the benefits will outweigh the effort it takes you. Encourage your colleagues and team members to make the most of it and take a break.
Enjoy the weather at home or over a long weekend. This is especially important for those who haven’t taken a break in a long time. Unwind – you will return refreshed and find being productive much easier.
11. Set Summer Goals
What would any project or dream be without establishing goals?
Brainstorm ideas of things you would like to accomplish in your business in the coming months and years. Convert these into mini and large-scale projects accordingly.
Structure your working and non-working summer time around those goals you have established and get cracking!
12. Altruism: Give Back to your Local Community
Turn your business values and mission into action by taking part in a volunteer program in your local community. This is especially great when business is slow and you can afford to put the human-hours into a community project or scheme.
Helping others is also great for looking after mental health. While summer may be a slacker time, volunteering an afternoon or day a week can help reduce stress, combat depression, provides mental stimulation and, importantly, gives a sense of purpose. It can really help get your summer productivity back on track.
13. Change Up your Snacks
Swap out winter comfort foods for refreshing fruits and zesty fruit juices. Lighter food will help avoid sleepiness and the high water density will help you to stay hydrated. Plus, summer fruits and drinks taste awesome and will promote good humour and optimism.
14. Get the Air Flowing
One of the worst things that you could do in summer is try to work in an overly hot room with poor ventilation. Open windows, turn on fans, turn the air-conditioning to cool and work in a comfortable environment.
Leave doors and windows open where possible to maximise air circulation and avoid stuffiness. This will help to avoid drowsiness. Plus, fresh air contributes to a calm and productive working environment.
15. Encourage Training and Learning New Skills
Whether it’s a slack time at work or no, summer is a great time of year to invest in yourself and your employees. Encourage the participation in courses whether it’s learning a new language, or a sales course, or coding skills. Whatever it may be will mean that you and your employees will be better equipped to work smarter and better when the pace picks up again.
A great way to spice this up further is to have a raffle of prizes to be won among teammates: who-ever improves the most gets a prize, whoever attains the most certified new skills gets a prize and so on. The prizes can be useful or humorous, or luck of the draw.
What are your ideas on summer productivity?
Summer productivity should seem a lot more appealing with the use of these tips. Bringing an element of fun, bringing yourself and your work to summer, is not only possible but also has a lot of benefits for you and your team.
Do you have any fun summer productivity tips? Tell me about all the ways you bring summer sunshine to your workplace – I’d love to hear them!