How Not to Let the Summer Slowdown Affect Your Productivity at Work

published Jul 26, 2016
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(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

Traditional 9-to-5 jobs can be tedious, but there’s a shift that tends to happen every summer in offices across the country. As jeans and sandals become part of the dress code, you’ll start to notice fewer people in the office. Everyone is either on vacation, getting ready for one, or just got back to a mountain of emails. Productivity slumps. Recurring meetings are cancelled week-to-week, and deadlines become a little bit more flexible.

When your office culture supports it, it’s nice to be able to relax around work in the summer. But if you find yourself losing sight of your goals and falling behind on your tasks, here are some ideas to stay on track.

Define Your Own Dress Code

Clothes have the power to alter your state of mind. It’s why work-from-home types herald the idea of getting dressed for work, even if “work” is just their kitchen table. If your office allows for a more relaxed dress code during the summer, you might find that it’s better to pass on the suggestion and stick to your normal garb. Dressing like it’s the weekend will make you feel like it’s the weekend, but being professionally dressed and groomed can help you stay on task.

Isolate Yourself During Work Hours

A cubicle isn’t exactly the cheeriest place in the world to be, so during the summer, you might consider ideas like working from a park for the afternoon just to soak up some of the nice weather while you work. The thing is, though, that working in a new environment—especially one where lots of people are leisurely enjoying their time—is a major distraction. Even though it sounds like a drag, if you’re concerned about your work slumping in the summer, it’s best to hunker down in your normal environment and get shit done.

Adjust Your Work Schedule to Allow for “Donut Days”

Locking yourself away in your office all day is productive, yes, but it’s also a really good way to miss out on summer. If you have the opportunity, try and schedule some “donut days” into your calendar. Small business expert Susan Ward suggests taking the afternoons off to enjoy the weather, but working in the morning and evenings—so your workday has a hole in it, like a donut.

Give Yourself a Buffer Day After Vacation

The least productive days at work, for me, are the days when I’m freshly back from a trip—like when I’ve scheduled a Sunday night flight to be back for work on Monday, all in the name of maximizing my vacation. If you have the time and vacation days to allow it, schedule a buffer day at home at the end of your trip to unpack, relax and mentally prepare yourself for the work week.

Take on a Fun Project

You know those “we’ll get to it one day” projects that don’t really have a concrete timeline? The summer is a great time to get them firmly on the calendar. Take on something you’ve always wanted to get done, and you’ll find yourself eager and excited to get to work each morning. That momentum will carry you through the day, and make it easier to get your entire to do list done. Come September, you’ll be relaxed, refreshed and way ahead of the pack.