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Are you in a summertime slump

For those of you who live in cold climates like I do, you welcome summertime and everything it brings—picnics, swimming, strolls in the park, bike rides. During the chilly winter months, you envision spending time in the sunshine…and not having to don a down coat and pair of boots whenever you want to venture outside.

When summer comes, it has an energizing effect. Your mood lifts, you finally have enough vitamin D, you’re full of plans and expectations.

But what people often do not think about is their work. Even though summer has arrived, work does not simply end (unless you have a seasonal occupation). We still have to work through bright and sunny days; we still have to show up.

Even though we may feel energized outside of work, the opposite might occur during work. Your motivation might dwindle or your concentration might wander as you think of being outside, enjoying the weather.

Furthermore, many people go on vacation over the summer, so it’s sometimes difficult to complete team projects or use others as a resource. As Inc.com says, “Summer is nearly always a slow season. You, your team members and your customers are either breezing away on weeks-long vacations (or wish they were), and those who are in office are struggling to cover their teammates’ absences and keep up with demand.”

With low motivation, absent team members, and the constant desire to be outside, it’s easy to fall behind during the summer…which can make you feel even less enthusiastic to come to work.

What to do?

1. Try working in shorter bursts.

Look at your clock and tell yourself, “Okay, I’m going to work for XX number of minutes without taking a break. Ready go!” Start small and gradually increase your work time.

2. Set goals

Write down three tangible things you’d like to accomplish today. If you’re working on a large project, what bite-sized item(s) can you accomplish that will help you complete it? (For more on effective goal-setting, visit this blog post.)

3. Move around

Making sure you get your blood pumping and your body moving is important to not only improving your health, but your concentration as well. And don’t forget to move from your desk during the day. Try working in a different location for a few hours and then return to your designated workspace.

4. Set challenges for others

If you’re in a leadership position, get your team motivated by setting up friendly challenges. It helps to focus on a short period of time (such as two or four weeks) so you can maintain enthusiasm for the competition. Consider giving rewards that people actually value, such as a half day (or two) of paid time off.

5. Bring summer to the workplace

Just because you’re in the office, doesn’t mean you have to pretend like summer isn’t happening! Have lunch on a patio, invite co-workers out to ice cream, or wear bright summery outfits. As a leader (or an HR manager), you could also plan company outings every once in a while that take advantage of the nice weather. Try going to a baseball game, having a company picnic, or doing some outdoor volunteer work together.

 

Carry some of your summertime energy into the workplace. It’s amazing what a small shift in attitude (and a little planning!) can do. Besides, while others are in their workplace slump, you can take advantage of the season and rise to the top. Your dedication will be noticed.

Contact me for other ideas on how to shake your summertime slump!

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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beat procrastination in 2 minutes

It’s easy to put things off. It’s easy to find reasons to NOT do things. Many of us fill our lives with excuses, opting to skip the gym, delay starting a difficult project, or avoid having tough conversations.

What holds you back from moving forward? Do certain tasks or activities seem daunting? Are you afraid of failure? Or are you simply having trouble rallying your motivation?

Step forward with excuse-free living (a concept I address in my book, The Ten-Minute Leadership Challenge) and take ownership of your future. You can do it in TWO MINUTES.

How? One of the most important steps you can take is simply starting a project. Put on your gym shoes. Set up a meeting time to have a difficult conversation. Write the first paragraph of a novel.

Starting is symbolic. It signals that you’ve put aside your fear and trepidation and are ready to move forward. Amazing things happen if you start something. You’ll likely find that the first steps aren’t so bad and you may even gain motivation to move forward and keep the momentum going. If you’re tackling a large project, create milestone markers for yourself along the way and once you pass each marker, treat it like having a fresh start, a new beginning.

If you fill your tasks with many new beginnings, they are less likely to feel old, stale, overwhelming, or unmanageable.

James Clear, expert on behavioral psychology, was my inspiration for writing about beating procrastination in two minutes. He asserts that, “Most of the tasks that you procrastinate on aren’t actually difficult to do — you have the talent and skills to accomplish them — you just avoid starting them for one reason or another.” He advises a two-fold approach for dealing with this reluctance to start something.

1. If something takes less than 2 minutes to do, do it now.

Clear says, “It’s surprising how many things we put off that we could get done in two minutes or less. For example, washing your dishes immediately after your meal, tossing the laundry in the washing machine, taking out the garbage, cleaning up clutter, sending that email, and so on.”

2. When you start a new habit, it should take less than 2 minutes to do.

This idea goes back to my “just start” philosophy. Although you certainly can’t complete a major assignment in two minutes, you can get it started. Use that kick start to motivate you into action.

 

What will you accomplish TODAY?


MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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