Summer doesn’t officially end until 4:21 a.m. on Sept. 23, so if you are experienceing summer withdrawal, you are not alone. “Many of us grew up knowing summer means fun in the sun, family vacations, and a time to be free. There is a good chance while you are sitting in your office, you are also distracted by thoughts of relaxing on a beach with your loved ones, lounging on a pool chair, and so many other magical summer moments. You may be thinking of anything but work,” says workplace expert Gina Kloes, peak performance instructor at Draper University and author of “What’s Your Magical Moments.”
But it’s now time to get into the fall swing. “Set clear, achievable goals for yourself that can be accomplished within a reasonable time frame. Vague, ambiguous goals with a perhaps lengthy time frame can be a breeding ground for distraction and poor productivity,” explains executive coach and psychologist, Dr. Alan Phelan of Execuwise. “Set a time limit for yourself during which you will focus only on the task at hand. I tell people to literally set a timer for a reasonable time frame. Usually 45 minutes to an hour is reasonable, but even if it’s only 20 minutes, if it’s a truly uninterrupted period of time, you may be surprised at how much you can get done. If at the end of the time frame you’ve set for yourself you feel like you can continue, then by all means do.”
Get a handle on your social media use at work. “During summer months, some businesses tend to be a bit slower. This can lead to a drop in employee productivity. A recent survey found that the most distracting aspect of work is technology. Technology and social media distractions do not take the summer off, so how can you be less distracted at work? Clearly, productivity continues to be impacted with the growth of technology,” notes Kloes. So curb your use of the Internet and social media.
What you can do is to inject a little summer leftover fun into the workplace. “Take responsibility for contributing some summer fun and magical moments at the office. Catch people off guard with your creativity, spontaneously play some summer music, start a Hawaiian themed day, or bring some fun summer barbecue snacks. When was the last time you laughed out loud at the office instead of just typing?” asks Kloes. “Helping to create a place and fun magical moments where people love to work will always help the end of summer blues. People rarely remember what you say to them but they often remember how you made them feel.”
Socialize more with your co-workers. “Often at work, we are so busy getting our next the next task done that we rarely have time to get to really know our co-workers. If you are a manager or business owner, help your employees out of the end of summer blues by organizing a social event. This will encourage greater bonds between workers and help develop camaraderie. Perhaps, though it may seem a bit outlandish, you could do what we all did while we were in school, that is, share what was fun/memorable about their summer experiences,” Kloes points out.
“I would be willing to bet that some of the employees shared similar experiences. If you give them a chance to share, people will bond through experience and make the workplace more enjoyable. This will also help employees focus as they are part of a team, and teams generally work better when people are willing to communicate. In addition, creating a meaningful connection among employees can create magic in innovation and creativity within a company.”
Take time for yourself. Getting back into the rush of work can be nerve wracking, so make a little time for just you. “Clear your mind through an exercise such as meditation or writing a free flow of your thoughts on paper. Here the point is to minimize internal distractions which keep all of us from truly being present in an activity or task. Even engaging in a 2 minute meditation or free write can help to ground you, and enhance your ability to focus on the task at hand,” advises Phelan.
Summer would hold so much importance if you develop a healthy work/life balance. “Learning to understand and appreciate the balance between work and real life helps you better understand and interact with others and their challenges and struggles to be happy,” notes Kloes. “We rarely stop to appreciate and enjoy all we have right now and all the magical moments that make up our lives. Take some time to ask yourself, ‘What’s a magical moment in my life?’”