Summer reminds me of the holiday season when it comes to productivity. It seems that during summertime, people would often relax and slow down with their tasks and to do lists. Unfortunately for someone like me, I am already done with school and I don’t get summer breaks.
When I slowed down and ended up not doing much during the summer, I ended up panicking because of all the things that I had to catch up on! It wasn’t the most ideal situation because I ended up very stressed and felt I needed another vacation–after taking a vacation.
It’s a whole new ballgame when you have kids (hello parents)! Not only are you fighting the urge to slack off and relax, but now you’re also juggling an extra 8 hours of time with your kids that they used to spend in school (thank you, teachers).
The truth is, there are so many distractions during the summer like invitations from friends and kids constantly telling you “Mom/Dad, I’m bored”.
Whether you do or don’t have kids, how do you stay productive during the summer months and avoid the summer productivity slump? We asked this question to the Asian Efficiency team members and members of the Dojo, our exclusive productivity community, and we got some really helpful tips that you can implement and stay productive.
Tips on How to Stay Productive During Summer
1. Have your portable office handy
With so many distractions during the summer, it would work to your advantage if you can take your work somewhere else. Clear skies, good weather, a clear head, and a bag with everything you need to be able to work outside–is everything you need to work and tick off some tasks on your to-do list. Having your portable office handy means that you don’t end up forgetting. Inside my portable office bag are:
- laptop charger
- iPhone cable
- Type C cable (for my Samsung S10)
- Micro USB cable
- power bank
- Pocket Wifi
- 3-way wall plug
- notebook and pen
- wet tissues
- hand sanitizer
- cash stashed in the secret pocket
- water bottle
The only thing that’s not yet in my bag is my laptop.
I personally like working in parks especially for tasks that don’t require me to do deep work. I just make sure that I got my Bose QC35 to block out the noise. It might not be the same as working remotely in the Bahamas, but it sure beats working inside four walls.
2. Start your day early
The most obvious reason is when you start early, you end early as well. You get work done and have time to relax or spend time with family or friends. Also, early mornings are relatively cooler and you get more work done when it’s not as hot as the oven. We tend to experience the slump once the temperature starts to rise.
3. Work at an optimal temperature
The recommended working temperature is between 68F to 76F (which is 20C to 24.4C). Anything above or below those range means feeling sluggish and committing mistakes because your focus will also slip. If you don’t have an A/C, get a desk fan or one of those air coolers.
In some areas of the Philippines, heat can get as high as 123F (51C)! The island where I am from, the heat index went up to 111.2F (44C). That’s why we have A/Cs in our house. I tried to work with just the fan on but I had a hard time focusing and I couldn’t write. Our electricity bill went up but it was definitely worth it.
4. Have a shorter workday or work week
Some companies offer a 4-day work week during the summer. This ensures that things still get done and employees also get to spend quality time out of the office. If you have (a bit of) control over your schedule, you can also do this. We have a Dojo member who would take Mondays off during the summer to spend more time with his wife and kids.
It’s not just about the work that needs to be done, but also about the rest and relaxation that needs to be taken.
5. Try not to get sick
The worst part of summertime is getting sick–so avoid it as much as possible. We all know that getting sick means not being able to work or not getting the output we want. Be extra vigilant with your water intake (no, soda does not count) to avoid dehydration. When our body is dehydrated, our immune system suffers. It also lowers down our energy level.
Aside from staying hydrated, make sure that you are getting enough sleep. We have always equated good sleep with productivity since when we lack sleep, we tend to start the day feeling sluggish (for some, irritable) and some times, it’s hard to bounce back.
(Staying Productive with Kids)
6. Enroll your kids to join summer activities
This is not only for your productivity but your children as well. Learning doesn’t need to end once the bell (signaling the end of the school year) rings. There are a lot of community-based activities that children can join like painting, music, arts & crafts, taekwondo, karate, and etc.
The other side to this is you get time to work on your most important tasks as well. And if you are working from home, you get your much needed quiet time to focus and do deep work.
7. Establish boundaries
This is something I have explained to my daughter even when she was still very small. I used to work in corporate and I had a 9 PM to 6 AM shift. I explained to my daughter that I need to get enough sleep so that I can spend time with her in the afternoon and have enough energy to last me throughout my work ‘day’. Although she was still very young, she understood what it meant and she would never interrupt my sleep unless it was an emergency (which thankfully never happened).
Now that she’s 11 years old, she still respects the boundaries that I have set when she was still 2 years old. It doesn’t mean that I don’t spend time with her–just that we have allocated time for work and then some ‘us time’. We still watch her favorite show, The Deadliest Catch, and watch anime.
8. Create memories
As a kid, my summer memories are all about family. I would usually spend it with my cousins and we all stay at our grandparent’s house. If not, I spend it with my aunt who lived by the beach. By the time summer ends, I’d be so tanned that it would horrify my mom. Those memories I have are forever with me–I enjoyed my summer vacations and just thinking about it makes me miss my grandparents (so much).
Now that I have my own family, I want my kid to have good memories too. That’s why every summer we travel and spend time as a family. This is something that I always plan months in advance so that I can take a planned leave from work and really focus on having a great time with my family.
This way I don’t have to stress about work during our vacation because I have planned it and have made the necessary changes so that I am able to complete my tasks prior to my planned leave.
The Important Thing
We have said numerous times that work-life balance is a myth since we cannot really separate the two. These two cups would often spill over each other–which is fine.
But the important thing is this: have a life worth remembering.
It will not always be just about the goals we’ve set. Not just about the number of tasks we were able to tick off our to-do list. Not just about the number of hours we have spent doing deep work.
It is about the quality of life we are living. The memories we create with our loved ones. And the smiles we have and have caused.
Let’s all have a productive summer–and summer with lots of laughter and also some rest.
Try to give working outside, in the open with lots of natural light, a try by preparing your portable office. Let us know in the comments what you prepared and how it went.
Next, try to work earlier than usual and see if you get more things done and still had time for yourself and your family after.
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