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10 Ways To Enjoy Summer Even When You’re In The Office

10 Ways To Enjoy Summer Even When You’re In The Office

“I remember counting days down ’til the year could be done / So I could scatter all my notebooks on the prep school lawn / And disappear again into a summer’s bliss…” –  from the song “Loose Leaves” by Bright Eyes

Okay, so you’re not a kid anymore. The months of June, July, and August no longer mean complete freedom. If anything, summer is even more depressing because you would much rather be outside enjoying the gorgeous weather than stuck inside an office with sub-par air conditioning. Just because you’ll never again enjoy summer the way you did when you were a kid, doesn’t mean you can’t make the best of it. Changing up your routine in even the slightest way can do wonders for your psyche.

If you’re stuck at work throughout the summer, but still want to make the best of it — you can. Here are some easy ways you can enjoy yourself more.

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1. Drink fruit-infused water

Okay, so you can’t drink margaritas at 10AM like you did in college anymore, but you probably shouldn’t even if you could. Enhance your plain old water throughout the summer by combining different fruits (and some vegetables) to create a flavorful drink that will keep you hydrated and healthy all day. Fill a fruit infuser with raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and even cucumbers. Next up, fill it with water, and enjoy a summer-themed drink full of natural sugars that won’t leave you hitting the wall at two in the afternoon.

2. Make a summer playlist

You might not be 18 anymore, but hearing “Doin’ Time” by Sublime on a beautiful summer day will certainly make you feel like you are. I don’t mean you should turn the office into a rave or house party, but there’s nothing wrong with switching off the elevator music and turning on some Bob Marley during the dog days of summer. Check out Pandora or Spotify for some summer-themed playlists to put on while you’re getting through the mountain of paperwork on your desk.

3. Redecorate your workspace

Everyone can use a change in scenery every once in a while. If you’re tethered to your desk from 9-5, at least give yourself the pleasure of redecorating it a bit to fit the theme of summer. Get a small Zen garden, put pictures up of last year’s family vacation, and hang a map with possible destinations for this summer pinned. If you can’t be outside to enjoy the season, then bring the season to you.

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4. Brighten up your workspace

Don’t just redecorate your cubicle — make it brighter! Keep windows and blinds open to let some natural light in. If you’re not lucky enough to be close to a window, you can always bring in an extra lamp or two to make your office space not so dark and depressing. You’d be surprised how your mood can improve with an increase in lighting.

5. Take advantage of casual Fridays

If you want to feel like your still one of the boys of summer, you have to dress the part. Just like redecorating your workplace can have an effect on your mood, so can redecorating yourself. Wear light and looser-fitting clothing. Lighter-colored clothing will certainly make you feel as if you’re walking down the boardwalk (or at least like you’ll be heading there after 5:00 rolls around). As long as your dress code allows it, take your summer outfit to the extreme.

6. Pack summer foods for lunch

Some foods just taste better in the summer. Ditch the usual Chinese leftovers and spend some time the night before preparing a lunch that won’t bog you down for the rest of the day. Eating barbecue chicken, sweet corn, and a summer salad for lunch will certainly put you in a summer mood. So many fruits and vegetables are in season throughout the summer, so be sure to take advantage of them.

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7. Eat outside

Don’t just change your diet; change your eating habits altogether. Enjoying the summer sun on your half-hour lunch break will give you a bit of a reprieve from your dreary office environment. Spending time outside also has health benefits, from the fresh air to the vitamins your skin absorbs from the sun. Just try not to get any of that barbecue sauce on your nice new shirt.

8. Come in early and get your work done

We all know the days are much longer in the summer. That doesn’t necessarily mean we take advantage of these extra hours of sunlight. Start waking up a bit earlier, and get to the office before anyone else does. You’ll have some quiet time to get your priorities in order, and get a head start on your workload. Getting started earlier might even allow you to clock out early so you can get some extra daylight to enjoy in the evening.

9. Switch up your commute or routine

Doing things the same way, day in and day out is the most effective way to end up in a rut. The summer is no time to be stuck in a rut. If you start waking up earlier, you may have time to bike or walk to work, or at least explore the area around the office a bit more than you had before. You could also eat breakfast at a different diner or deli. Try taking a different route home than you usually do. Summer is a great time for change. Don’t stay stagnant during what should be the most active months of the year.

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10. Leave work at work

In today’s modern world, our 9-5 jobs tend to control our lives. Your boss can call you whenever he needs you. Emails pile up and will cause your phone to beep all night. Do something about it. When you’re not at work, turn your phone and computer off. Don’t answer emails, no matter how pressing they may seem. You might be stuck in an office for 40 hours a week throughout the best time of the year, but that still leaves you about 100 waking hours each week to enjoy yourself like you did when you were a kid.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm6.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

1. Create a Daily Plan

Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

3. Use a Calendar

Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

4. Use an Organizer

An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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5. Know Your Deadlines

When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

6. Learn to Say “No”

Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

7. Target to Be Early

When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

8. Time Box Your Activities

This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

11. Focus

Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

12. Block out Distractions

What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

13. Track Your Time Spent

When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

15. Prioritize

Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

16. Delegate

If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

For related work, batch them together.

For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

  1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
  2. coaching
  3. workshop development
  4. business development
  5. administrative

I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

19. Cut off When You Need To

The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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