Although the official start of summer is one week away, most of us have already started thinking about summer vacation plans. As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, it becomes easier and easier to find our minds straying to thoughts of plans to get away from work. Thinking of days on the beach can keep us from concentrating on work goals and responsibilities, so it is even more important that we make a conscious effort to focus on staying productive. Here are a few tips to help you keep your head in the game so that when you do take a vacation, you feel good about leaving your work behind you.
Schedule time outside
Instead of sitting at your desk and looking out the window at the beautiful day, make a point to get outside. Schedule time to take a walk and get some fresh air. Knowing that you are going to get out at lunchtime can help keep you from being distracted all morning wishing you were outside.
Another way to ensure you get out is to schedule a meeting with a client outside. Everyone is looking for an excuse to get outside during office hours in the summer. Call a client and meet them for coffee. Need to have a discussion with a colleague that may take more than a few minutes? Ask them to take a walk with you. The least you can do is take a real lunch break; get away from your desk, computer and phone and enjoy the sunshine.
Take time off
Do you find yourself saying “I’m so busy right now I can’t possibly take a vacation”? Then, before you know it, summer is over and you never took any time off to relax and recharge. So many of us get focused on work and let ourselves become overwhelmed that we put off making plans for a vacation. You can avoid this if you actually schedule time away from the office. Once you have committed to it and have it on your calendar, you will be more likely to manage your time better as the date approaches.
Don’t succumb to “Vacation Brain”
As we get closer and closer to a planned vacation, we are more apt to become distracted by the thought of getting away. We can find our minds drifting to the pleasures of hiking in the mountains and not getting our work accomplished. Now is the time to be extra disciplined. Stay focused on the most important tasks, be diligent about completing to-do lists and, make sure you are communicating with your colleagues who may be covering for you while you are away. Then, you will feel prepared and able to fully enjoy your well-deserved time off.
Take advantage of a summer slowdown
Does your work slow down in the summer? Take advantage of that lull to re-strategize, set new goals and make new plans. Take a fresh look at old problems. Use the time to revisit past challenges and think about how you can better overcome them, should they present themselves in the future.
Staying focused and productive can be tough any time of year but especially so in the warmer months. These are all things we as employees can keep in mind as summer approaches so that we can take advantage of our precious time off!
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