It can be really, really tough to stay focused and motivated during summer months. Kids are out of school, the weather is gorgeous, and all you want to do is get in the pool or head out on a vacation.
But as a business owner, you have a team of people and an operation that depends on your direction. And sometimes, because of this fact, we end up piddling away the summer. Two months fly by, and you think, “What happened? I didn’t even get to enjoy summer!”
If you’re feeling this way, you probably need to find a way to use your working hours more efficiently — so you can stay focused while you're working, and use your off time to keep you motivated to get things done. Here are a few ways you can do just that.
Maximize With a Shortened Work Week
Three-day weekends are a glorious thing — and as a business owner or entrepreneur, you have the ability to enjoy them during summer months. With a shortened workweek, you can spend more time focused in on must-do tasks to compensate for the fact that you’re working on a more limited time frame.
Successful business owners like Jason Fried know that shortened workweeks can really pay off. He shared in an article for the New York Times that his team at 37 Signals works 32 hours a week (four days a week) May through October. And guess what? They’re more productive, happy, and motivated during the time they do spend in the office.
The bottom line here: Long weekends keep you motivated to get more work done during the shortened time frame.
Get Someone to Hold You Accountable
If you have a peer or mentor you can meet with on a regular basis over the summer months via Skype or in person, you can use these get-togethers as a way to stay accountable. Make sure that person knows what you’re working on and what you need to accomplish — and have them help you stay on track when you’re tempted to ditch work and head to the beach. Not only will you benefit from the personal interaction, but you’ll also be better prepared to get back in the full swing of work when fall arrives.
If you’re forcing yourself to stay indoors and wrap up an important project while everyone else is outside, be sure to give yourself a break once you've finished. Reward yourself with an extra-long weekend or a vacation in which you disconnect from work and recharge your mental batteries. You’ve earned it — don’t be so hard on yourself!
Re-Evaluate What Matters
If you’re feeling frustrated by your workload during summer months, you may need to reconsider what you’re taking on and how it’s impacting your work-life balance. Saying no to opportunities is okay sometimes — and it helps you be more selective about what you will take on. Take a moment to write down your top priorities during summer months, and keep it posted where you can easily see it. Before you take on another major task, see if it aligns with what you wrote down.
Leverage Tools That Can Help
Making nonstop focus and constant motivation happen is hard to do any time of the year, let alone during the summer. The good news is, there are all kinds of apps and tools to help you through your specific pitfalls with focus and motivation. Here are a few top picks:
- RescueTime tracks your usage of distracting websites and helps you place limits on the time you waste there.
- FocusWriter eliminates distracting menus and other elements on your screen to help you zero in on writing.
- Time Out reminds you to take a break from time to time, so you can dive back in renewed.
- Coach.me keeps you going by providing a community to motivate and hold you accountable.
- Wonderful day uses our competitive nature to help motivate you to accomplish tasks daily.
- Habit List does much the same by encouraging you to keep the green streak going.
Time Is On Your Side
Most of the tips we’ve discussed here relate back to a central theme: Spending time wisely. During summer months, you need to work smarter, not harder, so you can enjoy the time you spend in and out of the office. Find a balance between working and non-working hours, and you’ll actually get to enjoy the nice weather while not falling behind on work to-do lists.