Outdoor work

In our Q3 planning workshop, we are going to talk about staying productive over the summer.  There is something about the period between the May long weekend and labour day.  At least there is here in Ontario, Canada.  During these dates, there is a summer vibe.  This year, as we start to re-open, although slowly, the vibe seems stronger than ever.  We want to eat outdoors at restaurants we haven’t seen in months.  We want to enjoy outdoor entertainment like drive-in theaters and outdoor markets.  We want to enjoy the opportunity to visit those we have missed for months. So the vibe is strong this year. 

How then do we stay productive when all we want to do is enjoy the season? 

This is what we talked about in our planning workshop.   Let me share some of it with you here. 

First of all, the summer slow down is real.  During these summer months, we are affected by:

  • The heat.  The warmer weather can cause us to feel tired.  This is especially true for those of us that work from home with no air conditioning.  (This is my reality) That exhaustion can make us feel sluggish and low. 
  • Summer Attitude. When we don’t have emails or pressing deadlines,  summer calls to us. It beakons us to quit early and enjoy ourselves. 
  • Activity planning.  We spend work time looking into activities, scheduling events, and trying to find a cottage.  Essentially we are distracted. 
  • Absences.  Vacations happen in the summer.  This impacts as it means we could be picking up excess work for others, or we are off, or others are unavailable.  All of this means less time for projects or more difficulty getting the right parties together. 
  • Sleep.  Longer summer days mean we stay up longer.  Less sleep does not create the best environment for productivity. 

With all this stacked against us, how do we stay productive to have a remarkable Q3?

Here are a few of the strategies I shared at the workshop: 

  1. Schedule and plan your vacation and summer activities.  Even if you are not going away, enjoy a staycation.  The summer is short.  Make the time to enjoy it.  Sit down and plan out the activities you will do this summer.  Get them scheduled.  By planning in advance you have something to look forward to and turn your attention to your priorities.  
  2. Unplug/be present.  When you are in work mode, work.  When work is complete, log off and be present with your family, friends, or relax.  Use this with your kids too.  Work with them to let them know when your work hours will be and when you are with them, commit to them and be present.  For example, set up a schedule that gives you 90 minutes of focused work, after which you will provide them with 30 minutes of focused attention. 
  3. Create a summer schedule.  You can shorten your workweek by reducing your hours (we do this with our team.  We close early on Fridays), or you can compress your week by working longer on some days, for example, working 4-10 hour days vs. 5-8 hour days.  This is what I am doing this summer for myself. 

Overall, the key to creating a productive summer is a little planning to keep yourself focused when working and present when you are not.  Keep your priorities in mind and let go of anything that is not a priority.  You never know, at the end of the summer you may realize that some of the things that kept you busy were just that … busy work! 

If you have any other tips, let me know! 

I wish you a fantastic and productive summer!

The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

Stephen Covey

“Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink in the wild air.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson