Summer Vacationing is Great – For Those on Vacation
Summer is finally here, which hopefully means that you and your colleagues will be taking much needed vacations. Getting time off is so critical to helping stay refreshed and productive. I’ve talked about the importance of taking full vacations in a past article for the Crelate Blog – “Half of American Workers Aren’t Taking a Full Vacation – Is Anyone Benefiting?” When it’s your time for time off be sure to truly “be on vacation”! In the digital era this is much easier said than done of course.
While it is a wonderful thing to get out of the office and spend time away from work, sometimes it can be difficult to remain focused while your co-workers are catching rays at the beach (while you work away at the office)! Since summer can be a tough time to keep up the momentum on your teams, given that people tend to be ‘in and out’ during these months, here’s a list of 5 ways to remain productive. This article was inspired by John Rampton’s article in Inc.com in 2015.
5 Ways to Continue Being Productive During Vacation Time
1. Get your vacation on the calendar and talk about it
My wife and I love to go to Las Vegas to re-charge the batteries. Vegas can be polarizing and often people either love it or hate it–in our case we love it. What’s interesting is we often joke about how much time we spend leading up to the trip talking about what we are going to do and how amazing the get-away will be. Turns out this is a thing…anticipating the vacation can be psychologically pleasing. Stephanie Rosenbloom wrote about this in a 2014 NY Times article What a Great Trip! And I’m Not Even There Yet. To help stay motivated as your colleagues are off vacationing–be sure to keep telling yourself that your time is coming and talk about the trip with your fiends and family.
2. Track and limit how much time you’re spending on tasks.
Without the full cadre of your team members you may find yourself working alone more (in the summer) than normal. This could lead to spending too much time on tasks and not getting as much done. Further, studies suggests only around 1 in 5 people are able to accurately estimate the passage of time. A tool like Rescue Time can help by letting you know exactly how much time you spend on daily tasks, including social media, email, word processing, and apps.
3. Take regular breaks and include exercise when possible.
It may seem odd, but taking scheduled breaks (with exercise is optimal) can actually help improve concentration. Research consistently shows that taking short breaks during long tasks helps you to maintain a constant level of performance; while working at a task without breaks leads to a steady decline in performance. Often we have to be intentional about taking breaks so put it on the calendar or even get a Fitbit so it can remind you to move/take a break.
4. Provide self-imposed deadlines.
While we usually view a stress as a bad thing, a manageable level of self-imposed stress can actually be helpful in terms of giving us focus and helping us meet goals/expectations. For open-ended tasks or projects, try having a deadline that you will hold yourself to, and then stick to it. You may be surprised to discover just how focused and productive you can be when the clock is on and you have ‘healthy’ pressure.
5. Hold routine stand-up meetings.
Having daily (or weekly) stand-up meetings can be a great way to help everyone stay productive during periods where the entire team isn’t always present at work. Research consistently shows that a group meeting (where everyone participates) can lead to a sense of accomplishment regarding what has been done that day and be reminded of what everyone else is working on. This often leads to more collegiality in the office and increased creativity.
Taking vacations is critical to ensure optimal productiveness and increased employee morale. When the office isn’t at full capacity it’s important to have ways to keep up your momentum while others are re-charging!