Here's something for irony. I'm writing a post on how to stay motivated at work during the summer and I can't get motivated. There are two times of the year when it's the hardest to stay motivated: summertime and the dead of winter. They're polar opposites but have the struggle of hanging on to motivation in common. I would like nothing better than to close this computer down, put on shorts and a tank top, go outside and lay out in the sun while finishing a book I'm reading. But bills need to be paid, to-do lists have to be crossed off and responsibilities call. Conquer the lack of summertime motivation with a few of these tips and tricks:
Promise Yourself An End Prize
A lot of companies have "summer Fridays" where the office closes a few hours early. I have never experienced more motivation than a summer Friday. There would be nothing that got in my way of leaving by 2pm. Nothing. Replicate that motivation by giving yourself a daily reward. If you work from home, expand summer Fridays to every other day of the week. If that's not possible, treat yourself to an hour at the beach or your favorite gelato. Nothing motivates more than a prize so think of something that will make you want to tucker down and work like a Keebler elf.
Sitting in the same spot everyday can become stale regardless of the time of year. If you work from home, try moving into the kitchen for a few hours. If you're in an office, forward your calls to your cell phone if necessary and move to a common area. Go to a local coffee shop. Just get away from your standard work space. Change the music. Give yourself an overall different environment. Sometimes all it takes is a change of scenery and sound.
Find A Work Buddy
The easiest and most effective way to get my brain going is to have a conversation. If you work in an office, see if a fellow team member is interested in a 30-minute brainstorm session. Get the creative juices flowing before starting a project. If you work from home, ask a friend to have a coffee shop work date and toss ideas back and forth with each other. Being able to play off of each others thoughts can bring a lot of fabulous ideas to the table.
We all want the weekend to come faster. Staring at a wall will only make time slow down. Speed it up by creating goals for the day and the week. Prioritize three small things to complete each day and three large things to complete over the course of the week. Focus on crossing each task off your list. Giving yourself goals can be motivating enough because you can see the end of the tunnel. It's not just an endless list of tasks that intimidate rather than motivate.
Because I work as a social media manager in my freelance work, avoiding social media channels is excruciatingly difficult for me. Difficult but not impossible. So whether you're also in the digital marketing world or just an addict, these tips are applicable to anyone. Set 15-minute intervals twice throughout the day to check your accounts. I do this for all social media platforms with the exception for Instagram. Facebook, Twitter and anything else get 15 minutes total for me to check on what's going on on my clients' pages. If I need more time for work-related reasons, that's fine but it keeps me from scrolling through the endless feed or bouncing around what's trending. For Instagram, I have posts scheduled at various times during the day. I give myself only five minutes for each posting time to scroll through the feed and check notifications. At the end of the day, I have spent less than 60 minutes leisurely on social media. That is WAY less than the average American. In full disclosure, I don't factor in the time I need to actually be doing work on the social accounts. That time is specifically designated to management tasks where as the 15-minute intervals are just for browsing notifications and interactions.
Besides social media, other distractions can be too much noise or even too much clutter. Clear your desk each morning and only keep the essentials on top. Listen to music that will motivate you rather than distract you. For example, if I put '90s boy bands on or Britney Spears nothing will get done. If I put on an Indie playlist, Norah Jones radio or Gavin DeGraw, s*** will get done. Put your phone on silent. There are apps that let you tailor office hours so you are only notified for certain contacts. There are an endless amount of apps nowadays that claim to increase productivity and remove distraction. Just don't procrastinate looking for them.
Bottom line. Summer motivation is hard to come by unless a cocktail or pool are on the to-do list. These tips can help get that motivation back on track and increase productivity but don't forget to give yourself a break. If nothing works and it's 2pm on a Thursday afternoon, screw it all and retreat to the hammock with a good book and glass of rosé. Who's judging? Certainly not me. In fact, I might just do that right now....