You look at the window and it looks like everyone is having fun except you.
The temptation to pack it in for the day and go to the park, head out for a drink or just sit in the garden and soak up some rays can get too much.
You’ve got work to do but it feels like it’s the hardest thing to focus on right now.
We’ve all been there. It’s not easy. So I’ve pulled together some top tips to help you have a productive summer without suffering burnout.
Get plenty of natural light
One key way to make keep the FOMO at bay is to make sure you’re getting enough natural light where you’re working.
The joy of working from home is that you’re not bound to your desk from 9-5. You can work anywhere!
You might see lots of influencers posting pictures of them working from the beach or by the pool and while it might look tempting, they’re not doing their best work there.
They are, however, getting plenty of natural light.
Natural light is key for helping your body produce vitamin D. There are plenty of benefits to getting your vitamin D levels up, particularly in recent times, but one of the main ones to help you stay productive is fighting off fatigue.
Looking out the window from a dark room is going to make you want to drop what you’re doing and go outside. So bringing the natural light to where you work is going to be helpful for keeping you on track to hit your goals.
I know you can’t add windows to your home office or your apartment, but consider looking for a shared workspace near home with good levels of natural light. Try working from a cafe or coffee shop with plenty of natural light.
Get out for some exercise
Finding ways to stay productive during summer isn’t about finding ways to keep yourself shackled to your desk until you get everything done.
It’s about finding ways to find the balance, keep the focus and keep making progress.
Making time for exercise has a whole range of fantastic benefits. The endorphins can encourage a positive mental attitude and the improvements to your fitness are obvious.
It can also help scratch the itch for being outside for a bit.
Be super organised
Staying productive during the summer, or any time of year relies on you being super organised.
Feeling like you should be productive without knowing what it is you need to achieve is going to drag your mood down faster than a lead balloon and before you know it, you’ll find yourself heading out the door.
Remind yourself what you need to achieve and the steps you need to take to get there.
Keep a notepad close with the tasks you need to achieve and the deadlines for them. This can be really useful for breaking down your to-do list into manageable chunks.
Sit down at the start of the day and make a plan:
- What are the key tasks you need to do?
- When do you need to do them?
- Do you have any meetings to prepare for?
- What other chores do you have to do?
Having a clear view of your tasks is a crucial step to being productive. If your list is short and you can finish by lunch – then do that.
Don’t force yourself to be productive when you don’t need to be.
Set yourself micro-goals
Micro-goals are a really effective way of maintaining momentum.
Writers have used tricks like this for years to keep themselves going. Write one sentence. Send one email. Book one meeting.
It can be even easier than that:
- Make the bed
- Empty the dishwasher
Anything that you can tick off your to-do list is going to give your brain that feeling of satisfaction – progress!
Start small and gradually build up the bigger tasks. Just make sure you are getting something done and before you know it you’ll be ticking off the tasks you didn’t think you were going to get done.
A zero-day is a day where you don’t do anything. A day where you achieve not one single task that helps you move forward.
Setting yourself micro-goals can get your brain in the process of progress.
Remember – no more zero days.
It might sound counterintuitive but thinking about what you’re going to do when you’re not working is a really good way of keeping yourself productive.
Making plans with friends for the evening or for the weekend can help you set the path in motion to stay productive.
It can remind you that this time is for working and that time is for leisure. Right now, you’ve got stuff to do and you’ve got plans to look forward to. This can be really helpful for making the most of the time you have to get work done.
It’s a bit like when you’re trying to fight cravings for snacks and fast food. Writing down what you’re looking forward to eating on your day off is a way of acknowledging what you want.
You aren’t denying that you want to go to the pub or to the beach, but you’re helping your brain recognise that now is not the time for it.
Now is the time to be keeping yourself on track and being productive during summer.
Pick the right playlist
Music has such a strong influence on your mood and your ability to get in the flow.
You might be tempted to turn up the Drum & Bass playlist and take yourself back to garden parties with your friends, but this might slow you down.
Picking a playlist curated to keep you focused can be a really good way to drown out the sounds of the outside and stop yourself from thinking about everyone having more fun than you.
Find an instrumental playlist with light, summery tunes, let it play and forget about it.
Before long you’ll be smashing through your to-do list in time to make the most of the evening sunshine without worrying about what you’ve got left to do.