The summer solstice has been and gone and that means that summer is well and truly here to stay. That means it’s time to enjoy the great weather and the sense of positivity and optimism that it brings. We all love summer. Summer brings out the best in us. There’s that indescribable feeling of magic in the air that makes everyone seem at their best. Even familiar surroundings can seem a little more special and magical when bathed in sunlight and surrounded by nature in full bloom. Over the coming months we’ll all be attending barbecues where we get to see old friends for a hearty catch up over some equally hearty food, throwing garden parties where we can gather together chat and laugh as we sip Chardonnay in the amber glow of the setting sun and enjoying long walks with the kids as we explore nature’s bounty together as a family.
Yup, the summer brings with it some wonderful benefits… But it is not without its caveats. While your friends and relatives who get to spend their days in glacial air-conditioned offices may see the summer as a gift, those who work from home see it as a little more of a mixed bag. When you work from home you know that every day is a battle to wring as much creativity out of your day. You know that everything from the layout of your home office to the working hours you choose and stick to has a prodigious knock-on effect on how much you’re able to accomplish in a working day. Avoid the intrinsic distractions of the home and master your productivity and you’re on top of the world. If not, deadlines could be missed, inferior work could be handed in and your professional reputation (and when you’re a freelancer that’s pretty much everything) may be compromised.
Why can’t I stay productive in the summer?
If you struggle with productivity in these warm and sunny months, you’re not alone. Summer is a historically troubling time for businesses that want to ensure consistent productivity in their workforces. The “summer slump” brings with it some serious challenges when it comes to staying productive. The searing heat, humidity and myriad distractions that come with the summer can all prove ruinous to the work-from-home freelancer’s productivity. And that’s before we’ve even approached the subject of Seasonal Affective Disorder. You could be forgiven for thinking that the seasonal blues were strictly a winter thing, but they can be just as crippling in the summer. Because people expect us to be relentlessly happy and positive when the sun’s out there’s a good chance that you could have the summer blues and not even know it. While the reasons are myriad, it’s safe to say that for many, maintaining their productivity in summer is an issue.
Here we’ll look at some ways in which you can ensure that you smash your targets and deliver on your deadlines, even if the weather makes you want to do nothing but submerge yourself in a vat of ice cream...
Make sure your AC is A-OK
Maintaining a clement and breezy atmosphere is a huge part of maintaining productivity. Heat can make us feel dozy and sluggish and it’s essential to take steps to maintain an atmosphere that’s conducive to getting the job done. That said, desk fans can be a disaster if your job requires you to keep lots of loose paper on your desk, and opening a window can invite a whole lot of aural distractions from the roar of passing traffic to snippets of conversations from passing pedestrians. An AC unit is a useful tool in maintaining the right temperature. Just make sure that you have the right one for your needs- click here to discover more about this. You should also make sure that your AC unit is cleaned regularly. An unclean or inefficient AC unit is a magic carpet for harmful bacteria and pathogens which could infect you with illnesses like Legionnaires Disease that would seriously damage your productivity.
Our brains are 73% water and remaining hydrated is crucial in ensuring proper cognitive function and healthy brain activity. Even a 1% decrease in hydration can reduce productivity by up to 12% which is why smart businesses make sure that their employees have access to plenty of clean and fresh drinking water.
Take a walk
There’s nothing more damaging to your productivity than staring at a blank screen. If you find yourself afflicted by a mental block, stop what you’re doing and take a walk. Not only will getting out in the sun for a little while help you to feel better, you’ll return to your desk mentally refreshed and restored.
The power of plants
Nature is a proven mood booster and is also proven to aid cognitive function. If you aren’t able to access it by going for a walk, bring it to you. A few houseplants around your home office can make a tangible difference to your productivity. Plants oxygenate the room and help to create a sense of serenity and wellbeing. The perfect antidote to enemies of productivity like stress and fatigue.
Sounds like productivity
You may feel that working in silence is the key to staying productive. After all, noise is a distraction, right? Well, not necessarily. Studies have shown that instead of working in silence, you should load your Spotify playlist with classical jams. Classical music has been proven to aid productivity due to what is known as the “Mozart Effect”. Obviously, piping classical music into office buildings could prove unpopular and logistically difficult but there’s no reason not to give it a whirl in your home office.
Smells like productivity, too!
Never underestimate the importance of scent in creating a productive workplace. Your home office should make use of diffusers filled with essential oils to aid cognition. Citrus and peppermint oils have been proven to be particularly effective with this while lavender and sandalwood are proven stress relievers.
With just a few little tweaks, your home office can become a powerhouse of productivity, even in summer.