Who doesn’t love a truncated work-week? Not me. It’s the following week I dread – like this past week. It’s nearly the beginning of the second full week after the 4th of July, and I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing. Of course, that’s not true. I hit the ground running Monday, and kept it going through Friday at work and at home.
Where work is concerned, I’ve always found summertime to be feast or famine – meaning I’ve always been so busy there’s never enough time to accomplish everything that needs to get done, or complete boredom because everyone else is on vacation. Balancing the two is the key to feeling accomplished but relaxed, and it’s easier said than done.
I just had this conversation with my older sister who is tied to the office because of co-workers taking their vacation. Sometimes, getting out and taking time to breath isn’t an option. On the other hand, I work from home, or the library, or some other virtual location.
Sounds like a pretty good deal for the summer, right? It isn’t always. I also live and work at the Jersey Shore, where an influx of summer visitors doesn’t just clog the roadways but also fill the local library workstations, and make it near impossible work from a favorite coffeehouse. Last year, I was up and out of the house every day waiting for the library to open so I was guaranteed a workstation. Not so this year. I decided to let those people who are vacationing get in early, and get out. I can keep up with assignments, meetings, schedules, and administrative work from home with minimal interruption.
Like most everyone though, when projects stall due to vacation my motivation can, too. But summer doesn’t need to be unproductive, and I’ve learned using the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day to get ahead. Here’s how:
Manage your email – With co-workers, bosses, or clients on vacation, summer is great time to get your email in order. Organize it by creating folders for each project, and making sure all the appropriate communications are filed there. And for God’s sake get rid of emails that don’t keep the project moving forward, but recognize those that must be retained in a cover-you-own-ass way. Personally, I clean my email every two weeks so I have a good idea of what needs to stay or go.
Clean your workstation – We all work comfortably in organized chaos that no one else could stand, and that’s fine but I am talking about clearing out the stuff that could be keeping your from being productive. Is it necessary to keep a line of empty water bottles? Probably not. Organize your computer files, and your print files the same way you organize your email. Go through your inbox, and throw out or file the items that are outdated.
Redesign your workstation – If working by a window is a distraction, it’s time to move your workstation to an interior wall. Any change will likely result in a renewed commitment to productivity so don’t be surprised if you don’t dread getting to your desk.
Plan – I’ve always found the summer is a great time to set things in motion for the fall when the world returns to normal. Setting goals, and having something to look forward to is always a motivator for me.
Recharge your battery – If it’s possible, go in a little later or leave a little earlier than normal. Don’t do it every day but do it. You’ve earned it. Your