The weather gets warmer, the days longer, and your energy on the job goes down. You’re supposed to be working, but your mind drifts to all the fun things you could be doing outdoors: Cookouts with family and friends, lounging by the pool or beach, vacations. You aren’t the only one daydreaming: Studies have shown that productivity takes a hit during warm weather.
When the mercury rises, how do you stay focused on work? Here are a few tips.
1. Take a Walk
Make time during the day to step away from your job and go outside. This is easier if your schedule is flexible or you work remote. But if you don’t, you can still get outside at lunchtime or during a coffee break. Walk around, breathe the fresh air, and get your vitamin D by soaking up the sun’s rays. The walk will satisfy some of your cravings for the outdoors and send you back to the job with renewed energy and purpose.
2. Break Up Your Workday
Remember how the school day seemed to stretch on forever when you were in middle school? In warmer weather, an 8-hour workday can seem like that too. Make this feeling disappear by breaking your workday up into segments, with a work goal and a time limit for each segment.
For example: “I’m going to work on this report for an hour, and then I’m going to take a five-minute break.” You set a timer for an hour, you work hard, then you take the break. You might get up and stretch, use the restroom, get a drink of water, etc. Then you come back for another work goal and set the timer for an hour again. This segmented workday will keep you focused.
3. Imitate Cold Weather
For David Letterman’s late-night talk show, the Ed Sullivan Theatre was kept at a brisk 55 degrees during tapings to keep the audience alert. Letterman understood that higher temperatures can result in low energy; think of the times a warm room has made you drowsy. By contrast, if temperatures were lower, his jokes would zing. If you have control of your workspace air conditioning, crank it down to make your productivity go up.
4. Know Your Work Habits
Are you the type of person who is full of energy in the morning and does your best work then? Or does your mind start to come alive once the sun goes down? If your job allows, get your work done either early or late so you can still be out and about in the sunshine.
5. Watch the Weather Forecast
You wouldn’t want to be outside if it’s rainy, brutally hot, or humid. Use times of nasty weather to concentrate on your job, work late, etc., so you can leave the office early to enjoy the sunshine on nice days.
Follow these tips to make your workday count and enjoy your summer too!