Working from home this summer? Here’s how to make it your most productive season
Tips for staying motivated when sunny days tempt you away
Summer’s just around the corner, which makes now a great time to cultivate habits for maintaining focus and motivation at work. Whether trips to the seashore, a grand summer vacation or enjoying your patio or backyard, there is no shortage of fun to look forward to. Still, the work must get done.
Whether you’re based in a large office, a small shop or work from home, you’re probably familiar with the allure of a beautiful blue sky and warm temps. Working from home may help—studies show people are 35 to 40 percent more productive from a home office than when working from a traditional setting. And, some home-based workers spend what otherwise would have been a commute on work instead.
Still, regardless of your work location, if you’re like most people, once summertime hits, you probably have a lot less desire to spend most of your time in an office. And suddenly it’s harder to focus and be productive.
It’s almost as if the sunshine awakens gremlins that ruin everyone’s ability to get their work done. That’s why I’ve pulled together a list of tips for thwarting the summertime work blues.
Four things remote workers can do to power through work and get out and have a fun summer:
1. Make the most of the morning.
People who rise early enough to allow time for themselves before starting their morning work routine report that they not only are more productive but they feel more energetic and happier. Here’s a post with great suggestions for pulling yourself together and starting your day with intention.
Some motivational coaches advise tackling your toughest tasks first thing. “Popular motivational speaker and author Brian Tracy advises people to eat their biggest frog first thing in the morning—meaning that if you start your day with your biggest, most important or most dreaded task, the rest of your day will be easy by comparison. This can be a great way to get yourself going on a difficult project that is hanging over your head.
For many of us, our biggest “frog” would be exercise. Comedian Joe Rogan, in this animated podcast, talks about the value of exercise and the detriment you’re doing to yourself when you skip it. It’s much more than the potential harm to your physical wellbeing. His incredible message speaks to the value of self-discipline in general. (Warning: language includes $uc#)
2. Get into the natural environment!
Enjoy a little summer in the middle of your workday by getting outdoors. That point in the day when you feel depleted with nothing left to give, get up, get outside and get moving. Even though that seems counter-intuitive for most people, it is proven to give you a boost. “Spending some time in nature can leave you feeling energized.
And no, you don’t need to take a week—or even a full day—off to reap the benefits of the great outdoors: spending even just 20 minutes walking outdoors can help reduce stress and make us feel better,” according to an article from Thrive Global.
In Japan, this is known as the practice of “forest bathing” or shinrin-yoku. It is well-known and backed by research showing that it measurably reduces stress levels.
3. Use mindfulness to avoid multitasking and improve performance.
Lots is being written about both these topics and, considering the harmfulness of multitasking, it’s a good thing.
“University of Michigan researchers discovered that when you bounce between several tasks at once, you’re actually forcing your brain to keep refocusing with each rebound and reducing productivity by up to 40 percent,” according to an article in Psychology Today. “Not only does multitasking undermine productivity, it neutralizes efficiency and quality of the outcome, creating several half-baked projects that can leave you overwhelmed and stressed out.” Check out the article for ways to avoid multitasking.
People who focus on avoiding multitasking report they are less stressed and have more patience.
When you add mindfulness, the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us, to the equation, you might conquer your world.
Here’s a video on the superpower that is mindfulness:
4. Find a trigger or two to summon motivation.
There’s nothing wrong with figuring out how to motivate yourself to accomplish a specific task at hand. At the top of a list is when facing a rather time-consuming project to break it into bite-sized components with their own deadlines and time set aside on your calendar.
If that’s not quite enough, incentivize, incentivize, incentivize. Make a deal with yourself that if you accomplish your goal within an allotted amount of time that you get to go for ice cream. Or maybe a yoga class after lunch or whatever you can come up that delivers you the most power to get it done. Check out additional suggestions from Bustle.
If all else fails, remember what motivates you to do your work in the first place. Is this your life’s calling? Are you helping people in need? Do you have dreams of owning a house or vacation home? Are you paying off student debt or a car loan? Whatever it may be, thinking back to your original drive to have the job that you do, always seems to stimulate newfound energy to work hard.
5. Take a break!
Taking time off makes you more productive. Whether you can take the full-on summer vacation or you can’t take any time off, you can always take well-timed breaks from work to recharge your focus.
Some people recommend paying attention to “triggers” that indicate break time. “The first trigger is obvious and one that all business owners probably know well: internal chaos. Your head is spinning with a million things that you need to do, your team members’ requests for your input, and that looming deadline. The crazier you feel inside, the more you need a break, and the more a break will help you refocus and get it all done.”
People whose work involves hitting goals, need to pay particular attention to breaks. “A 2011 study published in Cognition highlights another upside to sporadic breaks that we rarely consider: goal reactivation,” according to Harvard Business Review.
“Following a brief intermission, picking up where you left off forces you to take a few seconds to think globally about what you’re ultimately trying to achieve” the article continues.
Powering through to make the most of the season
There’s nothing worse than being shut inside knowing a beautiful summer and all the usual fun times are passing you by. But with these tips, the additional focus and motivation you’re sure to get from them, plus a great summer playlist, you are going to power through, get out and enjoy life!
If you'd like to learn more about Liveops opportunities to work from home when the sun is shining feel free to explore the possibilities.