As a business owner, I’ve found that the summer months have a way of challenging my ability to focus. Do you find that this time of year makes it more difficult to concentrate and stay on-task? I know many other professionals who struggle as well when visions of sunny days, balmy breezes, and vacation getaways dominate their gray matter.
Fortunately, with the right coping techniques, you can avoid letting these next few months thwart your productivity.
Here are some ways I’ve learned to stay on track during the summer:
1. Make time to step away from it all.
Even if only for a few minutes, carve out some time for a short break to rejuvenate your mind and body. A few tactics that work for me include:
- Go on a walk around the block
- Step outside and soak in the sun for a few minutes
- Power through a quick workout at the gym
Just a few moments away from the grind can help put you back into the right frame of mind to get things done.
2. Keep your eye on the prize.
If you have an upcoming vacation, remind yourself that keeping your work-life in order will make your excursion all the sweeter. If you know you have your work under control before you go away, you will be able to enjoy your time off more fully.
I always find it less stressful to leave for a vacation when there isn’t any unfinished work or loose ends to sweat.
3. Treat yourself after tough stuff.
Plan to treat yourself to something you really love after you've completed unattractive tasks. For example, if I need to trudge through a long meeting or a lengthy client dashboard], I might promise to reward myself with a break to hit the gym, or – if it’s the end of the day – a glass of wine!
4. Keep your time on social media in check.
Try to refrain from scanning the news feeds of your personal accounts until after you have finished working for the day. When you're trying to focus on work, seeing your friend Sue bragging up the crystal clear blue waters in the Bahamas or cousin Bill's shenanigans on a winery tour won't help you concentrate on what you need to accomplish.
As a social media manager, my job is to tend to my professional social media accounts and those of my clients. However, I resist getting caught up in what's happening in the news feeds of my personal accounts until my time is clear to do that.
5. Keep your kids busy and in the fun zone.
If you have young kiddos, find ways to balance the opportunity to connect with them more now that school isn’t in session with the need to run your business. Look for activities that will give them a chance to have fun and learn about things that interest them. Doing so will allow them to have summer adventures—and it will enable you to remain productive while school is out for the summer. We try to keep our family active by planning something outdoors – a trip a pool, an outdoor game or some time at the park.
6. Take your work to a new destination.
I realize deadlines aren’t flexible sometimes and getting away isn’t possible. In those instances, consider moving your work somewhere for a change of scenery. For example, if I’m feeling the itch for a breath of fresh air, I’ll take my laptop to a park, an outdoor cafe, or sometimes the back patio. Just a simple and temporary change in environment can do wonders for your mood and motivation.
Have your summer—and a successful business, too.
As you can see, summer doesn’t have to sabotage your business. You can savor the season and stay focused—all it takes is a little creativity and self-discipline.
What tips do you have for remaining focused in the summer? I’d love to hear what works for you!