Well that was an unprecedented spring! Different from any other we have been through before. Personally, I’m so grateful that summer is finally here.
Businesses have seasons. The slow season, the busy season, the “I haven’t eaten a proper meal in three days” season.
You know. You’ve been there. Some seasons of business and life are just crazier than others. For many businesses, summer is a slower season. A chance for employees to take time off to spend with their kids. It’s time for vacations. Perhaps ducking out a little early on a Friday. A moment to take a breath and reset.
While we all deserve a well-earned break, truthfully, this summer is a little different. We’ve spent a lot of extra time with our families, our work was turbulent, we may have taken time off for health or furloughed reasons.
How do you enjoy summer while keeping your head in the game and your productivity going strong?
- Check your attitude. Burnout is now recognized as a condition by the World Health Organization. It’s real and it can affect us all. But, did you know that burnout doesn’t come from the number of hours you put in or how hard you work? Instead, your attitude around your work can either fight or fuel the burnout. If you are feeling your productivity sink, check in with your mental attitude about your work. First, your ability to even recognize that you need to hit the reset button is a solid first step. Sometimes we are guilty of getting in our own way and we don’t even realize it! Next, take a break, go for a walk, call a friend. Adjust your mindset even if it’s only a little bit. Then, take notice of how that tiny shift in perspective and attitude can affect your ability to work productively. This is literally about keeping your head in the game!
- Show up. We are still in a turbulent time. Businesses don’t know what the future holds. They are figuring this new world out as they go along. Be the employee who’s reliable, the one who does the work, the one who goes above and beyond. I know everyone wants a break, but think about this time as an opportunity to showcase your commitment to the company and your customers. Use this time to be the person your company needs you to be right now. Help and serve your leaders and fellow team members.
- Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing. The rules of the office and work have changed. Don’t get caught up with how others are working (or not), the politics of your company, and what is “fair”. Companies aren’t trying to be unfair right now, they are trying to stay in business. Instead of worrying about others, be the best version of yourself, and show up strong to help your company.
- Create a system around how you process your work. Systems should be personalized to you, your workspace, the type of work you do, and how your brain works. Really! Everyone’s brain is different. Does your brain think in a linear fashion or more in topic clusters? Do you prefer to write lists or mind maps? Pay attention to the nuances of your work process so you can create a system that works for you! If you need help with this, I’ve created the COAT productivity system to help.
- Have a dedicated decluttered workspace and work time. Whether you are going back to the office, working from home, or working from the beach, dedicate an area for work. Keep the space decluttered. Being organized in regards to your workspace will save you so much time. First, your paperwork and notes will all be organized. Second, when you start your day with a clean workspace your mind is also clear. Lastly, when you are done working for the day, you can leave the thoughts and stresses of work in that physical space. Also, dedicate a certain amount of time for work and then, when you are done working, be present with the people in your life. This is especially important if you plan to keep up with your work on vacation. Your family or friends will appreciate your attention when your work is over.
- Reduce distractions. Summer presents new challenges with regards to guests visiting, new schedules, and, most importantly, childcare. I know this year is different, but some great camps and programs are open. Plus, older teens who typically went away for the summer or worked might now be available to babysit during the day. Maybe grandma can visit for a few days and help out. I know this isn’t easy and definitely takes some creativity, but it’s critical for your productivity that you give yourself dedicated work time without distractions. Start small. A few hours of 100% focused work is way better than 8 hours of you working at 30% capacity. Signal to others that you are working by going to your workspace, shutting the door, putting in headphones, and focusing in.
- Pick three priorities. Before you leave your workspace for the day. Review your to-do list and pick three priorities for tomorrow. Ask yourself, “what do you want most right now?” Let that question drive your priorities. Write them on a post-in note and stick them on your computer. Then, when you enter your space tomorrow morning your priorities for the day will be crystal clear.
- Use momentum. Putting on your workout clothes and going to the gym is the hardest part of your workout. Once you are at the gym, you will finish your workout. It’s the same with your work. Block out time on your calendar to focus on your priorities for the day. Then, just get started. The progress you make in that time creates momentum. Let that progress motivate you. Then, don’t stop! You will be amazed at how much you can accomplish if you just get the ball rolling.
- Use your downtime to plant seeds. Downtime is a rare gift. If you happen to have some slow time in your business. This is a great opportunity to set yourself up for success when the busy tide comes back again. And it will. Here are some suggestions for what to work on in the slower moments:
- Organize your idea-lists and your to-do lists. Consider moving them to a digital system like Asana or Todoist.
- Learn something new. There are so many amazing digital course opportunities you can take to learn new skills or improve your work life.
- Read blogs (clearly, you are off to a good start here).
- Get gifts for clients or mentors. Or, simply send them a thank you note.
- Document a process that comes naturally to you that could help another team member or improve your process in the future.
- Organize your inbox.
- Create naming conventions for your online and offline filing systems.
I know this summer will be unlike any summer before. We likely need to work harder. Yet, it’s still important to take time to celebrate what you accomplish. You deserve it. Take a road trip, visit a new place, and, most importantly, spend the precious time with the people you love. Then, when things start picking up again in the fall you want to be well rested, re-energized and ready for it.
If you need extra help this summer, I’m your gal. I’ll bring my top productivity tips to help you get back control of your time, accomplish more, and be present when you are done for the day.
You Got This! Sarah
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Hi, I’m Sarah
The productivity coach who creates programs for overwhelmed professionals who are ready to say buh bye to stress, anxiety, mental clutter, and analysis paralysis and hello to clarity, purpose, and success.
I bring systems and quick productivity wins to your day so that you can get back control of your time, accomplish more, and be present when you are done at 5.
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Let’s chat! It’s completely free and I’ll give you my recommendations to improve your productivity system starting today!