Summer days don't always mean easy living. If you've got to put in the hours at work while everyone else is out enjoying the sunshine, it can seem downright dreary. Whether you've taken advantage of a student summer internship or have a regular job, these tips can help you stay motivated at work and still get the most out of your summer break.
Set Aside Time to Plan Your Vacation Trip
One of the biggest summer time wasters is daydreaming about your time off. Whether you're imagining your weekend at the beach or have a full-blown college student summer trip set up for next month, you can avoid falling into daydreams that sap your productivity, by actually scheduling time for them in your day. Block out 15 minutes at lunch to check out TripAdvisor for reviews or half an hour at the end of the day to plan and shop for your wardrobe. That will free up your mind to focus on work during work hours.
Take a Sunshine Break
Kayla Matthews, founder of Productivity Theory, notes that eight straight hours of work is a burnout waiting to happen. It's especially draining if you're trapped inside an office or warehouse all day long. She suggests planning sunshine breaks into your day—a 10-minute mid-morning walk (hello, coffee run!), or lunch on a bench in the park can boost your mood and re-energize your batteries when you're feeling drained.
You don't have to feel thirsty to be dehydrated, and it's easier to get dehydrated in the summer than at any other time of year. Even mild dehydration affects your mood, functioning and productivity. Scientists have even found that you feel pain more when your body needs water. Keep that water bottle handy during the day—and do fill it with water. It's much better for you than most other beverages.
Plan Your Day
All those productivity tips that keep you going all year? Those are especially useful and important during the summer, when you're likely to be more distracted than usual. So pull out your Passion Planner and make a plan for your day, every day. Set goals you want to accomplish: small ones for the day, bigger ones for the week. Use your goals to put together a to-do list, and remember to prioritize your tasks so that you accomplish the most important ones first. Checking things off your to-do list and accomplishing your goals is one of the most motivating things you can do.
Take Advantage of Mornings
Most successful people wake up early — really early. That's so much easier to do in the summer, when those early mornings are fresh, warm and bright. Those extra hours of sunshine are perfect for anything from a morning run to a journal session on the porch. Make it doubly productive by tackling your inbox before anyone else is awake. You'll start your day feeling like you've already finished half your work.
Dress the Part
It's seriously tempting to loaf around in casual clothes, especially if your workplace is one of those relaxed ones where jeans and a t-shirt are perfectly fine, but the clothes you wear affect your mindset. One way to get yourself into a work frame of mind is to dress for work. If you need a little productivity boost, stick with office casual, or whatever makes you feel like you're dressed for a day of work.
Take Off Your Day Off
Finally, make your days off really count. That doesn't necessarily mean packing them full of activities; just make sure the ones you choose you really enjoy. You'll return to work refreshed and relaxed after a day or two of real vacation.
Deb Powers is a freelance writer living and working on Massachusetts. She writes frequently about health, wellness and lifestyle topics.