You’re not imagining things: Productivity levels really go down during the summer. The Muse called this “The Summer Slump,” noting that 25 percent of working people feel less motivated during this season. The reasons range from various factors, from the heat to seeing vacation posts.
There’s even scientific proof of this: A study published in PLOS Medicine found that our brains slow down when it’s hot out. The temperature can also cause heat stress, in which the body loses water and electrolytes faster, resulting in loss of focus at work.
Not only are you feeling lethargic because of the weather, you’re mentally distracted. But we can’t let the lack of productivity beat us. What do we do? First, pinpoint what’s causing your slump. Once you do, you can follow our tips below so you can finish your tasks with little to no problem.
Feeling the heat (literally)
As mentioned, the high temperature can affect our thinking and focus. The PLOS Medicine study observed that air-conditioning is key to college students’ academic performance. This also means that the decline in productivity isn’t just limited to what’s happening outside, especially since we usually choose to stay home.
What to do: If you’re working from home, do know that you don’t need to have an AC just to boost your productivity. MindBodyGreen suggests looking for another cooler environment—perhaps a café or co-working space, whatever’s more comfortable for you. Another thing you can do is to either open the windows and let some air in, or invest in heat-blocking curtains.
Aside from lack of focus, this can cause other problems like heat exhaustion and heat stroke. It’s also possible that you’ll see symptoms after walking under the sun all the time, which is something a lot of us are used to doing during the summer.
What to do: First of all, you have to keep yourself protected from the sun (use an umbrella!), wear something cool, and hydrate. You should also observe your health for any heat-related symptoms and illnesses that might come your way. If you notice anything, don’t hesitate to see a doctor. You don’t want that bothering you at work or life in general, do you?
The heat, as well as the sudden change in temperature whenever you go in an air-conditioned room, can make you feel sick. It can be a small migraine or a full-blown fever, compromising your health this summer will affect your performance and your office attendance.
What to do: Always listen to your body and take a sick leave when needed. Don’t force yourself to go to work when you’re not feeling 100 percent.
When we were still in school, we were sort of conditioned to think of summer as “no-need-to-do-anything-important vacation season.” Now that we’re working adults, we don’t get a free pass to take months-long breaks just because it’s summer (unless you planned it out in advance already). But admit it, you tend to daydream about being at the beach and using your time to research destination spots you’d rather be instead of actually doing your paperwork. Come on, don’t be shy.
What to do: There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get out of town and take a break from time to time. Vacations can even be great in boosting your productivity. But if you want to spend your next summer wisely by working and going on well-deserved trips, you have to really plan in advance. Remember that daydreaming about vacations may be the result of FOMO (more on this in a sec) or just you wanting to get away for a bit—it can be hella distracting when you’re constantly thinking about sandy beaches. So, again, book that ticket months ahead if you can.
The FOMO is real
The fear of missing out (FOMO) is self-explanatory. Very Well Family noted that many people who experience this are on social media, meaning they can feel a bit jealous seeing others’ travel posts while they’re at home or at work. When the FOMO kicks in, there will be a tendency to focus on another person’s life instead of tending to your own, which will cause stress and self-esteem issues. These downsides can greatly affect your work this summer.
What to do: Disconnect from social media immediately! You’re better off using your time working this summer instead scrolling on your phone. Keep reminding yourself that it’s okay to not be part of everything that’s happening around you.
Extended lunch breaks
People who are losing motivation at work during summer are more likely to take extended lunch breaks. Although this does help with boosting productivity, choosing to stay away from your desk for long periods of time can cut your working time in half.
What to do: If you feel like lunch breaks make your unproductive, you can bring your own, and just eat at your desk. You can even set up meetings at restaurants or cafés so you can talk about work enjoying a meal. (Think of it this way: If you don’t walk to a restaurant near the office or do take-out, you’ll save yourself from walking under the sun.)
Art by Tricia Guevara
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