Ah, Summertime. Those lazy, hazy days spent poolside or on the beach, filled with picnics and bike rides, bar-b-ques and fireworks. Wait, sorry…that was a few decades ago when I was a kid. In other words, Before Work. We marked the first day of Summer 2019 recently and it got me thinking that I always expect Summer to signal a vacation vibe at work, too, but then…it doesn’t. In fact, June can be extremely busy. For one, it signals the end of 2Q and all that “half the year is over” implies. Second, lots of folks are trying to get projects completed before they go on vacation. In the case of many of our Global colleagues that can mean the entire month of August out of office. (What a divine concept!) Lastly, if you’re in a service industry, the summer months can spell the difference between a great year and a terrible one.
I used to spend far too many work hours lamenting the fact that I could not be outside enjoying the blue skies and sunshine. Not only would my emotional and mental health suffer but so would my work productivity. But when the weather is lovely and there were so many external distractions, how can you keep Summer Days from turning into Summer Daze? Here are three things that work for me.
As with every other aspect of work, having a plan is always a good place to start. Beginning in mid-May, my work schedule allows me to take half-Day Fridays so I work a bit longer during the week but have a longer weekend. I rely on my paper planner and calendar to get a bird’s eye view of what I will do with that revised schedule. I’m crazy for colorful gel pens, highlighters and even stickers when mapping out my time. I fill in big project deliverables, time out of office and other special event reminders. #2
I come up with one or two goals that will help me, in the words of Stephen R. Covey, “Sharpen the Saw.” That means adding to my skill set, either physically, mentally, socially or spiritually. For instance, this year I’m taking an online film writing course because I have an interest in all manner of storytelling. I’m also mentoring a teenager in foster care because I want to step up my volunteer work.
Finally, I try to add a couple “Summertime fun goals” like spending at least 2 hours outside every weekday, reading as many non-work-related books as I can, and adding a couple new grilling menus to my repertoire.
Do I still long for the days of my youth when summertime meant 3 months of do-whatever-you-please? Of course. But since that isn’t an option, I make the most of every day and when September comes—all too quickly—I’ll have a list of accomplishments that makes me jump into Fall instead of dragging my feet and wishing Summer would never end.
How about you? How do you keep the Daze out of your Summer?