29 Apr The Secret to Staying Focused This Summer
Sun. Sand. Sangria!
Summer is right around the corner and the allure of beaches and barbecue is making it increasingly difficult to concentrate on those routine office tasks. It’s only natural to want to enjoy yourself and the beautiful weather, but work still needs to be done. So, what’s the secret to staying focused during the summer?
I asked this question to 11 successful business leaders from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC). Here’s what they had to say about how to stay focused during summertime:
1. Establish a Performance-Based Vacation Reward
As a leader, summer vacations often have to be planned in advance. Set performance-based goals for next year’s vacation that are based on how your company performs this summer. Identify a few different destination options, each one a bit more desirable, and assign goals that you need to reach in order to book that specific vacation. This provides additional motivation to push hard.
2. Set Limits and Have Fun
Many professionals feel an almost moral compulsion to put in long workdays with minimal vacation time. The work ethic is admirable, but counterproductive. The most productive workers set reasonable limits on their working hours and stick to them. Outside of that time, they relax, spend time with friends and family and recharge their batteries. You focus best when you’re well rested.
3. Stick to Your Calendar
Use your calendar to schedule your daily run in the park or pool time with the kids. There are a lot of things to distract us in the summer, so try adding them as calendar appointment and you will find it’s much easier to stay focused. Keep the structure but add in a little excitement and it won’t feel like you’re wasting time.
4. Maintain Balance
Allow yourself personal time to enjoy the season rather than burying yourself in work and missing out. Making room in your schedule for leisure will make it easier to focus when you’re in the office.
5. Take Your Vacation First
I take my vacation as soon as the school year ends. Then I stay focused and go back to work knowing that I already took my time off for summer.
6. Wake Up Early
Summer brings happy hour invites, afternoons in the park and rooftop barbecues, leaving little time for the errands and tasks you used to complete after work in the colder months. I set my alarm even earlier in the summer to tackle the tasks I used to complete after work (laundry, cleaning, replying to personal emails, etc.) before heading into the office!
7. Bring the Outdoors In
What worked best for me was decorating my office with many tropical plants and colorful items that gave my office the feeling of being outdoors. The more you can incorporate the outdoors into your work space, the lighter and happier you will feel throughout the day. My co-workers always happened to be around whenever the pitcher of iced tea with fruit was on my desk at lunch.
8. Take a Break to Stay Motivated
You need to stay motivated, and you need to think like everyone else thinks. When it is gorgeous outside, take an extra long lunch break, and let your employees take an extra long lunch break. As long as the work is done, let them leave early on a Friday afternoon. You need to enjoy it to be happier and more productive.
– Josh York, Founder & CEO, GYMGUYZ
9. Develop a Morning Ritual
If you wake up at 6 a.m., your peak productivity is between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Spend the first two hours reading books and exercising to stimulate your mental performance before beginning work. Do not schedule any meetings or check email in the morning hours — focus on value creation tasks. Avoid eating heavy food in the morning, which will make you tired. Always go outside for lunch.
10. Set Goals and Reward Yourself
I like to set goals and then reward myself for hitting them. First I think about something I would really like to do, like go to a baseball game. Then I reward myself with one of those goals for landing a big sale or a renewal on a major account etc. This way I feel like I earned it and not like I am being unfocused. It removes any guilt from the situation and drives me to work hard to get there.
11. Find Time to Unplug
The key to staying focused during the summer is to find time on a regular basis (weekly) to simply unplug. Enjoy the weather, take a swim, read a book, take a road trip or sit by the ocean. Being inside when it’s beautiful outside is not easy. However, if you schedule time to unplug you will be able to keep focus longer and not be distracted by the deluge of Facebook posts of friends on vacation.