Summer can be rough at the office. It’s (probably) much nicer outside, your coworkers and friends are taking exciting vacations, and you’re stuck in your cubicle. How can you beat the summer blues and remain motivated for the next few months? Here are some tips to get you started.
- Plan a vacation: This might sound counterintuitive, but by planning a vacation (and I mean actually purchasing tickets and booking a hotel—or even just scheduling time off for a staycation) you have something to look forward to, which makes it easier to come into the office each day and get your work done. Once you’ve decided on a timeframe for your vacation, communicate to your boss to ensure your tasks are covered and that you aren’t leaving the office short handed (even though you need and deserve the time off, let’s face it: you’ll be stressed if you know work is piling up on your desk or that your coworkers are carrying extra work for you). Tack on a day or two at the end of your vacation (if possible) to catch up with your home and work routines.
- Take a break, get outside, and move: Breaking up the day with at least one trip outside is a great way to boost your energy and keep you motivated. Consider eating your lunch outside, taking a walk, or even riding your bike to work. (Can’t get outside? Consider some deskercise or a brisk walk around the building.)
- Have a 15-minute rule: If you are feeling unmotivated after a trip outside or a break, set a 15-minute timer when you get back to your desk and start working through one task. You can do anything for 15 minutes, and it will get you back into the right mindset.
- Learn a new skill: Take advantage of any training or education benefits your agency offers to learn something new this summer.
- Consider changes to your routine: Getting motivated can sometimes be as simple as making little tweaks to your workday. Can you take advantage of a flexible work schedule that gives you Fridays off or allows you to enjoy more of the afternoon? Can you move a regular meeting with your team from the morning to the afternoon or hold it outside? Can you switch up the order of your daily tasks? Can you telecommute? Talk with your boss to determine what changes you can make. When it comes to schedules, be sure you explain to your boss how your work will continue to be completed even if your schedule changes.
- Make a schedule for your kids: If you have children, and they’re home during the summer, sign them up for camp or summer activities or find a reliable babysitter that will allow you to focus on your workday without being distracted. Leave the office on time as often as possible to keep on top of your work/life balance.
- Have fun with your coworkers: Are there festivals nearby? Or other activities taking place that are only available during the summer months? Get a group of coworkers together and motivate each other to finish all of the day’s tasks. Your reward? An after-hours (or lunchtime) trip to one of these activities. If there isn’t anything nearby, consider a summer-themed happy hour.
- Find more work: Just because it’s summer, doesn’t mean you can be unproductive. So if you find yourself with free time, ask your boss what upcoming projects you can get a jump-start on, or figure out if there is anything that needs to be finished up. If it’s within your ability, ask if you can work with other teams or agencies on pressing projects to gain new skills, contacts, and experience.
- Rethink your career goals: Staying motivated by reminding yourself why you do the work you do in the first place. Write down your goals and map out the steps to get there. Seeing this visual throughout the day can help push you along when you can’t get focused. Remember that there is a larger vision that you are working toward!
- Develop incentives: A summer work slowdown is a great time to work on your career goals, and it’s important that these goals are accompanied by incentives to keep you motivated. They don’t have to be huge; even small incentives like a meal out, a new book, or an ice cream cone can help.
- Think about your real de-motivators: Is it actually the summer that is killing your motivation? Or is it something else? Are you unhappy in your job or with your current projects? Do you feel like you want to learn a new skill to help advance your career? Spend some time thinking about whether there are factors (other than the sunshine) that are slowing you down.
How will you stay motivated at work this summer?
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