Ask LH: How Can I Get Over The Summer Productivity Slump?

Ask LH: How Can I Get Over The Summer Productivity Slump?

Dear Lifehacker, The hot summer weather is really dragging me down at work. I’m finding it harder to get things done and stay motivated, when all I really feel like doing is leaving work early and relaxing at the pool. Is there any cure for the summertime slump? Thanks, Lazy In The Heat

Thermometer picture from Shutterstock

Dear LITH,

You’re definitely not alone. Workplace productivity tumbles about 20% in the summer, according to a recent survey of 600 workers by Captivate Network. More of us feel distracted, take longer to complete projects, and go on longer lunch breaks (if we haven’t actually taken holidays). While this is a natural phenomenon, you can still get your work done despite the heat waves. Here are a few ideas to get over the slump:

Set The Optimal Temperature for Working

If the temperature inside your office is too high or too low, your productivity can suffer. This infographic from Grasshopper, citing research from the Helsinki University of Technology and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, states the optimal office temperature is between 21 and 22 degrees (Celsius). Productivity drops dramatically as the temperature rises or lowers. If you have control over the thermostat or can sway your office manager, get your office environment to that “just right” temperature range. (10% of employees also waste time arguing over the office temperature, so if everyone could just agree on the optimum setting, we could also save time.)

Other ways to tweak your environment for more productivity include making sure your office is quiet enough or perhaps playing music that helps you work.

Switch Up Your Routine Or Where You Work

If work is starting to feel a little stale, you may be able to get a kick-start simply by changing your routine or environment. Try getting outside more during the workday (by holding meetings outside or taking a walk for your breaks) or working at a coffeeshop for some renewed creativity. In the Captivate Network study mentioned above, telecommuting helped workers increase their productivity in the summer, so now’s a great time to convince your boss to let you work from home.

If you tend to do the same things at work in a set order, consider either switching up the order or injecting a new task or activity. The summer is a great time to learn new things and challenge yourself.

Try A New Productivity Method

We have a lot of productivity techniques and tools at our disposal. You may be able to fix your procrastination problem by using Seinfeld’s productivity secret or get more done with the Pomodoro Technique, where you work in bursts of 25 minutes.

Work Your Best Hours

Knowing that this is a really hard time to stay productive, focus on your most important work tasks and carefully block out your time so you’re working when your mind is freshest and most focused.

Don’t beat yourself up too much if you’re not working as your ideal productive self. Some days you’ll be very productive, and perhaps other not. Just try to get your most important things done, and remember to take breaks to recharge.

Enjoy the summer!


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