When you’re faced with energetic kids home from school and a more relaxed daily schedule, you probably already struggle to stay productive during the summer months. Yet the season can toss other surprise obstacles at you too, capable of causing even the most dedicated worker to throw in the towel on getting things done. What’s worse, these unexpected events always seem to happen when there’s a deadline or scheduled meeting. Don’t let these obstacles throw you off your game! Here are some winning strategies to be more productive when summer tosses you a curveball:
During the summer, family and friends may drop by while they’re on vacation. Your guest room quickly fills up with people passing through unexpectedly on their way to Wally World. No matter how much you enjoy their company, guests can also be a huge distraction to your work. Try to draw specific boundaries and communicate them clearly, around when you can ‘entertain’ and when you need time to yourself. Try to shift your work hours that day or week, so you can spend quality time with your guests without any anxiety. For instance, you can get up earlier and knock out a few hours by responding to emails or rescheduling calls for a later time. Socializing for a few hours can recharge your batteries to finish the day on a more productive note.
You spent a week-long summer vacation relaxing in the mountains, and you’re refreshed and ready to get back into work on Monday – until your Sunday flight got cancelled and you’re clearly not getting home anytime soon. Don’t let the drama of it get in the way of your productivity. Once you sort out your flight schedule, maximize the time you have sitting around in the airport. Today’s airports can accommodate the mobile professional with WiFi, workstations, and charging stations. Take advantage of airport lounges and frequent flyer clubs to grab some quiet time to catch up on e-mails and create to-do lists for when you are back in the office. A little bit can go a long way here – just an hour or two tuning back into your work will help you get caught up, organized, and mitigate the stress of a later return to the office. Plus, it’ll help the time pass between lousy airport sandwiches.
Brownouts and Blackouts
Hot temperatures often lead to peak energy consumption, causing energy companies to use rolling brownouts to cut power usage for short periods. Blackouts are also possible, leading to the loss of power for what could be as little as a few hours or as long as weeks. Anyone who lives in the Southwest of the United States can testify as to how disrupting these can be to work productivity, especially with temperatures soaring above 110 degrees every summer. To stay productive when the power goes out, buy a generator that can power all of your electronic devices. Alternatively, use a mobile device like a tablet and a solar charger to keep working.
Summer is the time for travel and tourism. The sight-seers are out in droves – walking the Freedom Trail in Boston, catching a game at Wrigley Field, or even snapping a picture with the world’s largest twine ball. Hey, we’re not here to judge. But we do know they can get in the way of a quick walk to the office or add to some already crazy commuter traffic. Summer can be a great time to build a regular work from home day into your schedule to avoid any unexpected delays and roadblocks caused by a tourist swell. Talk to your boss about setting a specific day each week so you can plan ahead and book any in-person meetings while you’re in the office, and manage the rest over GoToMeeting. Remind your boss how much more productive you can be when working from home, and use these tips to stay focused.