Tips for Staying Focused During the Summer Months
Warm air. Long days. The sounds of splashing pool water and music from ice cream trucks. Mmm, it’s summer.
While this is many people’s favorite time of year, it doesn’t come without its challenges for marketing consultants, especially if you’re a one-man shop.
Summer is historically a slower time of year in the marketing world and can leave you twiddling your thumbs as your clients go on vacation.
It can be easy to indulge in this time off and lose sight of your business objectives, but the thing is, you must keep your mind on your goals.
Why? To start, it keeps your momentum going for the rest of the year (and beyond). The less focused you are on work, the harder it will be to pick things up again.
Additionally, summer is your time to shine because everybody else is, seemingly, on vacation (whether it be literally or figuratively).
There’s no doubt that this is often the hardest time of year to stay focused on your work, but it’s important that you do. Here are a few tips to stay on track.
Identify your distractions
The easiest way to get rid of distractions is to know what they are in the first place. If you’re easily distracted by social media, I promise you, seeing your friends at the beach on Instagram while you’re trying to get stuff done will not help your productivity levels. If you know this is a distraction, avoid those platforms during working hours.
If the sunshine is calling your name, that’s fine, block out some time to take advantage of it, but consider not working right next to your window for a few hours.
Make a daily to-do list
This is good advice year round but it is especially applicable to the summer months to help you stay on track. When you first sit down in the morning, make a to-do list of all the things you want to accomplish that day.
Remember to be realistic when putting this together. If you put too many items on the list, it could leave you feeling frustrated and discouraged, which won’t help your productivity.
Tackle your hardest and most burdensome tasks first. It sets a positive tone for the rest of the day and will make everything else go by much faster and with much less headache. I’ve found it makes me more productive.
In order to get things done efficiently and effectively, avoid multitasking. You may think you’re feeding two birds with one hand but you’re much more distracted than you may feel. Dedicate 100% of yourself to a single task at any given time. It will cut down on distractions.
Adjust your hours
If you’re an independent marketing consultant or run a small consultancy, there’s no reason you can’t adjust hours in the summer to optimize productivity but still take advantage of everything this season has to offer. If the mountain biking trail is calling your name at 3:00, go for it, just start working earlier in the day or plan to work a few hours that night. Knowing you have that break and are indulging in what you want to do should make you more productive while you’re working because you’ll be rewarding yourself.
Additionally, if you’re looking to take a long weekend, that’s fine, but frontload those hours at the beginning of the week. Your motivation should be elevated in the days leading up to that weekend knowing that it’s coming your way, so take advantage of it.
Mixing up your schedule can be enough to give you additional motivation in itself. Play around with what works best for you and optimize from there. Once you figure out what works, build a routine around it.
With your schedule changes, be sure to still set some boundaries with your working hours. In the winter, it’s easy to shut down your laptop early when the sun goes down, but if you apply that same theory to summer, you may find yourself working late into the night. If this works for you, great, but just don’t overdo it.
Moral of the story, it’s OK to mix things up a bit with your schedule, just be sure to get that daily to-do list done.
Take a walk
Yes, getting your motivation back really can be as simple as taking a walk and enjoying the outdoors (I do this year round). If you have a call you need to make, consider taking it on the walk. Have a staff meeting that needs to get done? Take your team on the walk with you. There also isn’t any harm in just taking a brief walk to escape the workday and take some time for yourself. You’ll find yourself feeling refreshed when you get back to the office.
Play catch up or get ahead
If you are finding things are a bit slower than usual, take advantage of it! Start playing catch up on the things you’ve been meaning to do for the past few months. If you’re already all caught up, start getting ahead for the rest of the year. Work on content. Perfect your lead generation tactics. Revisit goals and objectives. There’s so much that you can tackle if you put your mind to it.
Learn something new
Is there a webinar you’ve been meaning to watch or a list of industry-related emails that you’ve been meaning to read? Now’s the time to get through them! Don’t let your skills and knowledge get rusty. This is a great time to ensure you’re still on top of your game and as well as educate yourself on marketing tactics that are less familiar to you.
Take that vacation
It is summer, after all, so be sure to take an actual break, even if you defer to a staycation as opposed to skipping town. Get everything lined up at the office, let your clients know, and take a week or two for yourself. Many businesses are requiring a minimum number of PTO days because there’s proof that taking these breaks will increase your productivity when you’re at work. Be more productive and get some R&R? It’s a win-win! Take the time to recharge. You won’t regret it.