It’s officially summertime, and you know what that means! Pool parties, barbecues and vacations make the summer months some of the best of the year.
Not everything heats up in the summertime though. Often the summer season is one of the slowest in the office, so how can you take advantage of the lull? Here are some tips and tricks to make the most of a slow season, so when life gets busy again you are ahead of the game!
1. Eat the frog
Mark Twain famously said that if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning you can go through the day knowing that's probably the worst thing that's going to happen to you all day long. Apply this same concept to your work day! Is there something you’ve put off for months? Or maybe you’re in a bind because your supervisor is out on vacation and you can’t get their approval on a project. Shift your focus to things that you can get done, even if it isn’t something that was on your radar at first. Take advantage of a quiet office and co-workers out on vacation to get through the tasks that require your most intense focus. Eat that frog first thing and it's smooth sailing the rest of the day.
2. Summer cleaning
Okay yes, technically “Spring Cleaning” is the term, but it doesn’t have to be! Take some time to clear-up your desk space and work area. You’ll be amazed how much more productive you can be when working in a nice, clean space. A study conducted by Harvard University has found that an untidy work space can decrease persistence in completing a task, meaning a messy desk can actually make you less productive. Focus on “The Three S’s” to make it easier: sort, straighten and shine!
3. Look ahead
Do you have a consistent job responsibility that you just hate or takes way too much time? Get ahead and make your life easier. If a project is coming up next month but you have the chance to lay some groundwork early, you’ll find yourself a lot less overwhelmed when the time comes to really start up on it.
Throughout the course of the year, audits sometimes need to be preformed on information. Take advantage of the light days and get some things done early. Make sure all databases, address books and client information are up-to-date and accurate, ensure that hard copy files are complete and have all necessary components or preform an audit of your office supplies and make an order for what you need. You won’t have to worry about it when the time actually comes, and that’s one thing off your plate!
5. Take advantage of technology
Technology doesn’t always have to be a distraction. If you feel a sense of accomplishment for each item you check off your daily to-do list, consider downloading a list-making app to track your productivity. Or if music helps you focus, bring a set of headphones and shuffle through a playlist that is relaxing but upbeat. If technology is your downfall, try blocking the websites that are your biggest time wasters! iPhone users can also track their screen time to be more mindful of the time spent on distractions from work.
6. Give yourself a break
It is summer, after all! If you feel your motivation waning but still have a list of things to get done, try to work in sets of 45-60 minutes with a short break in-between. Walk to the water cooler to stretch your legs, watch a funny video, grab a snack, do whatever you have to do to de-stress and get back in that productive mindset.