The summer season is in full swing, but are you ready to tackle it effectively this year? We’ve all undoubtedly felt the increasing temperatures outside, but what about the heat that tends to rise inside the office? You know, that sluggish feeling as the sun’s rays peek through the office window, beckoning you to ditch the cubicle and come outside? It can be pretty tempting to call in “sick” or repeatedly use your personal days as the warm weather and the many activities that come with it appeal to your senses much more than sitting behind your computer in an office building for eight hours.
Achieving balance over these summer months is paramount so that you’re fully present at home and at work; no one desires to feel overwhelmed with work when it’s a beautiful summer day outside, nor should a worker catch a case of “summer fever” and ditch the office to hang by the pool all day. Sometimes it can be hard to know where to draw the lines and what steps to take to get there. So to help balance work and play as the temperature (and ‘out of office fun levels’) increases, below are a few tips that could help you figure out your priorities and how to manage them. Hopefully, the following four tips can aid you in achieving a balanced schedule and mindset, both in the workplace and at home!
Don’t overcommit. Although it’s hard to say no to anyone or anything especially as summer activities increase, it’s even harder fulfilling many obligations at this hectic time. You can’t be everything to everyone, and if you try, you will end up burning yourself out before you even begin to enjoy the warmer weather. And, if you don’t balance your obligations now, you’ll either have to catch up on work when you begin “feeling better” and return to the office or feel unfulfilled because you didn’t spend time with loved ones doing summer activities.
Take control of your workload. Are there any projects you can delegate to other team members? Can you hold off on starting any new projects until the summer’s end? Figure out what projects are most important to complete before you check out of the office for a vacation and prioritize those items with your team so that everyone is on the same page. That way, there won’t be any miscommunication on what needs to be worked on and everyone has a laser focus on getting certain projects done until the summer is over.
Create mini goals for yourself. Work can become overwhelming with a flurry of requests for things that must be accomplished, especially before a planned vacation or even summer company event or initiative. You can feel a great deal of pressure to complete all of your tasks before you begin to take care of your personal obligations this summer season.
To keep from feeling swamped, break up your tasks into small goals that you can accomplish every day. Do you need to finish an end-of quarter report for your supervisor? Divide the report into small, manageable chunks that you can complete daily so that the entire report is done before the end of the quarter or summer term. Need to reach a sales goal before the summer’s end or pending time off? Figure out how many transactions you need to make from now until you leave the office, and create a daily sales target. By making small goals that you can easily accomplish, you can track your progress at home and at work and get everything done by your deadline. Feeling a sense of achievement and checking off your list at work can actually reduce your stress level and create a sense of momentum that can carry over to your personal to-dos.
Remember to communicate your schedule. If you plan to be out of the office for an extended period of time, remember to let your manager and team know and remind them on your last day. If you’ve blocked time on your schedule to check in at any point during your vacation, share that with them as well. It’s important for your team to know when they can contact you and when they can’t. It’s also important for you because it allows you to have time away from the office, not just physically but mentally, too. This same tip can also apply to your personal life.
Enjoy the summer season by slowing down. It may seem like the end of the world if you don’t get everything done. But, if you slow down, you can eliminate bringing stress into the office once your vacation is over (and the summer has ended). Be careful about trying to wrap up too much at work at one time. Take your time finishing up your work tasks so you don’t make mistakes that could be costly, both in time and money, down the road. Be available to your colleagues when you’re out of the office, but don’t feel like you have to be connected 24/7 to your email or your phone for updates from work.
Committing to less can result in more time to enjoy the summer season. Enjoy the time with your loved ones. Take a few minutes to reflect on the year so far, and determine how to make the remainder of 2014 even better. By slowing down, you can truly savor the gifts and spirit of the summer season and feel refreshed and ready to go once your vacation is over.
A special thank you to Sandy Mazur of Spherion Staffing Services for contributing to this article.