Brought To You By Emily Parks
Productivity Consultant at Organize For Success, LLC...
Helping You Make Every Minute Matter!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Ways to Keep Productivity Soaring Throughout the Summer Season

With the hours of daylight super long this time of year, it's the perfect time to take steps toward boosting productivity as you enjoy this sensational season...

List out your goals. It's only by knowing what you want to accomplish that you can best integrate all elements of your life for your greatest fulfillment and summer productivity. Therefore, take a few moments to jot down all your must-do activities, projects and tasks for this season. Think of it like a bucket list but take into account your goals for work, home, society as well as your self-care via mind, body and spirit. Once everything is culled into one place, it'll be so much easier to assign time for each and work through your checklist.

Calendar the craziness! Line up calendars for the months of July, August and September on your wall so you can see everything at a glance. These might be wall-hanging paper or dry-erase calendars; the key is to have all three months visible at once. Then, add vacation details for you and your team members, holiday celebrations, impending deadlines and personal or family commitments, including swim meets and camp registrations alike. Include all elements of your life, considering a different color for each bucket. When you know what is coming, you can more proactively invest your time in achieving all of your desired results for each area of life and address "all the things" that matter most for the life you want to craft to achieve your highest priorities.

Establish your non-negotiables from the get-go. As summer schedules tend to become a little more erratic than normal, you and your team need to know which items have less flexibility than others. For me, I absolutely must maintain my weekly strategy session and daily wrap-up, but the good habits that keep each individual on track productively will vary from person to person. Do you expect your team members to have certain hours during which they always work in the office rather than operate remotely? Is there an expectation for how team members should request vacation time or notify the rest of the team about a hiccup related to impending deadlines, which can be especially vital with varying schedules for summer vacations? This would be a good time to communicate leadership's expectations to everyone. Be as clear, concise and transparent as you can. Then, when looking at your personal commitments, which can't be shifted as they help you energize, stay centered and maintain some semblance of sanity? Make sure those are highlighted on the calendars you've hung on your wall and communicate their importance to those who can help you keep them scheduled. Is it getting outside daily or going to the pool? Maybe it's a daily yoga session or movement? Whatever you need, be sure to ask for and commit to those fuel sources.

Focus your efforts on individual activities or tasks, not projects. It's not possible to check a project off your to-do list in one sitting. "Plan a party" is not a single action item; instead, there are many actions that make up that project. As you are mapping out the next three months, take time to break larger goals into smaller, bite-sized action items that can be completed as individual tasks. Make sure these are actions that move you forward with regards to goals in the areas of your life that matter most, avoiding the "shoulds" so you focus on your priorities. Start each task with a verb so as to fuel action, break each task down to as simple of a function as possible, estimate how long each action item will take to complete so you readily know those tasks taking 10 or 30 minutes, and assign a deadline for each task's completion. It is only in the instances that we assign a "when" for each "what" to be accomplished that we get more done so move your "someday" tasks to a specific date and time. Your future self will thank you for this emphasis on crafting the life you want to live.

Invest some time to reflect inward. With erratic schedules during summer, many companies have fewer meetings that would otherwise be held at normal intervals; this can be the ideal time to review and reset some of your organization's key elements. When was the last time your team updated its mission, vision, values, goals, processes and workspace organization? If it has been awhile, block out time during the dog days of summer to look them over, adjust as needed and, thereby, boost productivity for what really matters most. Maybe you'll want to freshen up clients' experiences, update what messages you are conveying across all mediums and put yourself in the client's shoes. Further, this can be an ideal time for a personal audit, where you assess what you have learned and achieved thus far this year, what priorities need attention in the coming months and what "someday" actions need to be scheduled so they move from to-do to done. Do your goals for work, home, community or self-care need to be adjusted, and how can you realign your actions to focus on achieving each?

Make time for fun and frivolity. If you block out time to truly enjoy the season, you'll be less distracted by what you are missing when you are focusing intently on getting things done. Brainstorm what cool things you can do to dive into summer enjoyment; then, once you've blocked off time for those activities, your mind will be less likely to drift from working towards wondering when you'll actually be able to celebrate summer fun. Plus, when you are taking time to enjoy all this season offers, you can truly take a break from everything else since you've planned for when those other goals will be addressed, boosting productivity overall.

What steps can you take today to get the ball rolling? With whom can you partner to hold each other accountable in creating your plan and, then, following through on that plan, even as things might need to be tweaked and your flexibility might get tested?