Ah, the dog days of summer. A throwback to childhood days spent playing baseball, eating popsicles, and enjoying general freedom outdoors. As an adult, the summer months have the same draw you experienced as a child, but freedom is nowhere near as accessible. You are likely chained to a 9-5 desk job, miles away from the endless days of summer freedom and fun.
Summertime can be one of the most difficult seasons in which to maintain work focus due to the increased desire to be outside. Maintaining your professionalism in the workplace is a multifaceted endeavor. You will need to stay physically healthy, and remain focused in spite of the draw of sunshine. Included here are a few tips for staying fit, focused, and professional at work throughout the delightful summer days.
How to Stay Fit, Focused and Professional During Summer Months At Work
Dress for Success
There have been countless songs written about the fun and flirtatious nature of summer clothing. As the temperature increases, the layers of clothing decrease, sometimes to the detriment of your professionalism. Before you “bare all” and throw on flip flops, you may need to take stock of clothing that can help you get ahead at work while staying cool.
For years, young professionals have been told to dress for the job they want. So why does that advice seem to go out the window when summer rolls around? Contrary to what some believe, you do not have to reduce yourself to skimpy outfits to stay comfortable during those August heatwaves.
Women especially must be aware of how their clothing affects their image and relationships with coworkers.
In the summer months, there are many steps you can take to wear clothing that is cool and career-oriented. To begin with, evaluate the material choices of your work clothes. Switching to lighter, flowing Georgette skirts or cotton blends can maintain your modesty and professionalism while dropping your temperature. Additionally, utilizing linen pants over customary slacks can create a serious cool-down.
Footwear can be a bit of a troublesome area, but if you absolutely must wear sandals, shoot for ones that are peep-toe and cover the majority of your foot. Exposed feet never demonstrate professionalism in the office and should always be avoided. Remember that the office is air conditioned and you will not be out in the terrible heat for too long between your car and the building.
A good way to stay focused on success throughout the summer is to make a simple list of “no-fly” clothes at work. Halter tops, midriff baring shirts, low-cleavage, short skirts, open sandals, and exposed bra straps are all fashion faux pas at the office. Remember that your carefree summer attitude should only be demonstrated when you have finished work hours!
Staying Focused at Work
Even in the most ideal working situations, people can struggle with remaining focused. Anything from a funny email to a poorly worded Google search can completely derail your work focus. Summer months are especially difficult for remaining focused, as people attempt to continue working through the sunny days of perfect weather.
In order to stay focused at work, it’s important that you have time off the clock to soak up the sunshine. Additionally, eating a good breakfast with lots of protein can get your brain chugging along while your metabolism kicks into gear. Taking time each morning to pinpoint your daily goals will help you stay focused, even as your mind tries to wander.
There are many tools you can implement to help yourself work efficiently and stay focused while on the clock. For instance, giving yourself “time boxes” can be a great way to stay motivated for shorter bursts. A time box is simply a space of time that you designate to a single task. Instead of telling yourself you must write emails until your inbox is empty, give yourself an hour on it and then take a break and switch tasks.
Other tools for staying motivated include caffeine, rewards, and offline work. Brainstorming on paper can be a great way to avoid distracting pop-ups or emails and allow you to focus. Caffeine may give you the boost you need to complete a project, or try simply chewing gum. Motivating yourself through promised rewards, (a vending machine visit after an email is completed, a five-minute outside break after another task or even a trip to the bathroom) can work as a valuable tool for staying on track.
If you find yourself constantly distracted and gazing out the window, perhaps you need to take the time to define what draws you away from work. Is that window more of a work hindrance than a help? Is your desk too messy to function? Is the constant pinging of your cell phone pulling you away from tasks? Identify your problem areas and eliminate them to increase your focus in the summer months.
One of the keys to staving off summertime daydreams can be in getting your fair share of outdoor experiences when you are off the clock. Being physically fit can help you stay focused at work, sleep better, and feel energized throughout the afternoon doldrums. Not to mention, soaking up the sun will increase your vitamin D levels, giving you a much better attitude when you are stuck inside all day.
An easy way to increase your outdoor time while maintaining your health could be simply biking to work. Riding a bicycle to work instead of driving can be great for the planet as well as your personal health. You will save money on gas, avoid stressful commutes, and get some fresh air and sunshine before work. Many people who bike to work find themselves with an improved attitude for the duration of the day, and are more energized in the morning.
Employers have begun to realize the benefits of biking to work and may create allowances for you to incorporate this healthful practice. Employees who bike, instead of sit in traffic jams, are usually refreshed, pleasant, and mentally alert when they arrive. Additionally, biking to work cuts down on employee sick days significantly during the year, making this an appealing option for employers.
Additionally, you can begin to use your time off wisely in the summer months. Spend your evenings biking, playing frisbee, hiking, or jogging with friends. If you are lucky enough to live in an area with water nearby, you can even go for short kayak or swim jaunts in the evening. Scientists have agreed that roughly one hour of walking each day could significantly improve your health and life longevity.
For the weekend, you have even greater flexibility when it comes to enjoying summer; camping trips are one of the best ways to enjoy nature and can be an affordable traveling option. If you find camping to be too much of a process for you, perhaps the key is in cutting down your gear load. Consider sleeping in simple Eno hammocks, and bringing disposable dishes to avoid washing. Simplifying your camp setup can allow you to spend more time hiking, swimming, fishing, reading, and napping while in the great outdoors.
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