It’s sunny. It’s warm. The breeze is absolutely perfect and the sky is bright blue. It seems like everyone is out riding, jogging, and playing — except you. You’re stuck inside with a pile of work to do, yet it’s so hard to stay focused!
Grrr! (Doesn’t anybody work anymore?)
All you want is to throw on some summer clothes and join in the fun. Work can wait, right? It can be tempting to play hooky and push your responsibilities aside for some fresh air and sunshine, but there are times — we all have them — when things just need to get done.
On days like this it’s best to follow some simple guidelines to stay focused when the sun is calling you to come out and play. Who knows, you may even boost your productivity, finish earlier than you thought and make at least a sliver of those daydreams a reality.
- Bring summer into your office – Our environment has a significant impact on energy and outlook. Make your workspace as cheery and inviting as possible by opening the windows, filling a vase with fresh flowers, and taking off your shoes and socks for a bit. Little shifts toward a more playful setting will boost your productivity and creativity by leaps and bounds!
- Streamline your to-do list – Procrastination is the gateway to being easily distracted by any and every thing. That sort of scatter-brained energy can stem from trying to accomplish too much in too little time. Take an honest look at your to-do list assessing what absolutely needs to get done today versus what can wait until tomorrow. Your work will be of better quality and won’t take near as long to accomplish when you give yourself a little breathing room.
- Make sure all your physical needs are met – Being satisfied physically can help your mind focus on the work at hand. If you’re feeling restless go ahead and take 5-10 minutes outside to move your body, stretch, breathe deeply and get the blood flowing. Check in with your hunger and hydration as well and make sure you have a comfortable set-up at your desk that doesn’t create pain or tension in your body. When your physical needs are met you free up space in your brain to concentrate more easily.
- Follow my simple breathing guidelines to boost clarity – You’ll instantly calm your nerves, wash away any irritating mental chatter, and feel both exhilarated and focused at the same time:
- Close your eyes. Place one hand on your belly button. Breathe so that your hand lifts as your belly fills with air — try to avoid moving your chest at all. Exhale slowly and completely.
- Repeat this 7 times, increasing the length and depth with each new round of breath.
- Finish with 4 more of your deepest and slowest breaths in, holding at the top of the inhale for 4 counts then releasing all of the air for an 8 count exhale.
- Put on headphones and listen to music – We are pulsating, rhythmic beings and music fosters our capacity for inspiration and creation. Depending on your current project you may benefit from a range of sounds like the music of your favorite foot-tapping, booty-shaking playlist to relaxing spa music with binaural beats that literally shift your energy using an auditory illusion!
- Eat your lunch outside! …Duh, that was easy.
- Know when it actually IS time get outside and play – If you’ve been at your desk for hours and hours, staring at the blue light of your computer or in and out of meetings all day it’s time to take a break. Your energy will be running low and your work will suffer anyway. Why not capitalize on the last few moments before the sun sets? It can be a great transition from daytime to evening activities.
Struggling to find time to “stop working”? Make a point to take your business calls outside, invite co-workers to have a meeting in the courtyard, or plunk your laptop down on a picnic table for a little bit.
Though we’re all dedicated to beating the “I’m-too-busy” drum, I invite you to discover the value of carving out some genuine time (away from devices) to recharge your batteries. It not only respects your basic needs as a human being it also reduces stress and will boost your productivity in the long run.
In Love and Gratitude for Sunny Skies,
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