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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 September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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