Does the excitement and distractions of summer curb your productivity? If so, you are not alone. Many of us find ourselves staring out the office window daydreaming of a day at the beach (or really anywhere but the office). Here are some tips from career experts found on Forbes.com to help you boost your work productivity during the summer.
Plan your play. Every employee needs a break, says Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant. Find out in advance a mutually agreeable time for vacation from your boss so you’re not stressed while away from the office. Some bosses prefer that you’re away when they’re away. Others prefer that you cover for them or manage in their stead. Open communication counts for a lot when it comes to summer vacation time. It’s important to delineate your time off and establish ground rules.
“Also take time to schedule other summer events and activities that are important to you so that you can plan your work around them,” adds Al Coleman, Jr., author of Secrets to Success: The Definitive Career Development Guide for New and First Generation Professionals.. If you plan to leave work a few hours early one day, then stay later the day before. If you want to take a longer lunch to meet a friend who is in town–arrive earlier to work that morning.
Communicate. Once you have your schedule set, share it with your supervisor to ensure that you’re both on the same page about how and when you’ll get your work done in the summer months, Coleman says.
If you have a needy or micromanaging boss, then over-communicate about your impending summer vacation, Taylor adds. “Give your bosses a countdown so they don’t feel deserted. Make arrangements with other employees to cover for you. You may have to put in more hours before you leave or orchestrate your vacation to occur after critical projects will be completed. That isn’t always as easy as it sounds, so have a back-up plan. If you’ve prepaid for an non-refundable getaway, you’ll be glad you did.”
Be flexible. While the summer offers wonderful opportunities for rest and relaxation, you may have a project or two that requires you to adjust your plans to meet a deadline, Coleman says. “While you certainly don’t want to pass up on vacations or miss key events in the lives of your friends and family, you may need to use technology to briefly work remotely; or you may need to ask for the assistance of a co-worker or use a few of the scheduling tricks previously mentioned to ensure that you meet the demands of your job while taking time for yourself.” If all else fails you may need to postpone your plans for a later date when you’re less busy, just make sure that you don’t give up on those plans. The summer is the best time to recharge and distress, so take full advantage of it.
Make plans for your children. If you’re a parent, it’s easy to be distracted by your children in the summer. They are off from school and may require more time and attention from you. Find a good balance between work and family time–and make arrangement for your kids, like daycare or summer camp. Try to avoid bringing them to the office and discourage them from calling you frequently throughout the day.
Shift priorities as needed. When you can’t get approvals on projects because your boss or co-worker is on vacation, move on to those that require in-depth thinking, Taylor says. “This may be a time of fewer distractions because of people being out. Capitalize on that by focusing on projects that require strategic thought and planning so you’ll be ready to precede with your fall proposals at a time when the pressure cooker environment returns. You’ll be glad you took advantage of any lulls.”
If there’s no work, find some. If you’re not productive simply because things around the office are slow, use the time to get a jump start on upcoming projects, or to catch up on many lose ends that have accumulated, says Anita Attridge, a Five O’Clock Club career and executive coach.