With the summer months coming in hot (lol, get it?), the promise of sunshine and days by the water makes finding the motivation to finish that social media report or dig your way through Google Analytics almost impossible. Studies have shown that workplace productivity can drop 20% during the warmer months. At BIGfish, we proactively work to stave off summer brain. Here are some productivity tips we use that can keep you from daydreaming about ice cream and bbq during that client call.
Track and limit how much time you’re spending on tasks.
Have you ever had one of those days when you only have one task to complete? Yeah, us either. Public relations is known for its unpredictability, with daily tasks changing as quickly as the news cycle and unexpected roadblocks and opportunities constantly popping up. Prioritizing these tasks and finding a way to provide quality work for each demand that pops up is the test of a true PR pro.
One thing that works for us is limiting the amount of time spent on each task. That media list, press release and PR calendar can’t all get done at the same time. Setting up specific start and end times throughout the day for each project you are working on can help you focus on the task at hand and increase productivity levels. In fact, the Harvard Business Review found that switching between projects at regular, predetermined intervals results in the most creative and productive type of thinking.
Work out breaks
Sitting at a desk all day can seem like cruel and unusual punishment, especially in the summer months when you are thinking about all the fun activities you could be doing outside. Lucky for you, moving throughout the day is shown to lead to increased productivity. Exercising during the day is linked to employees completing more work, having a greater work capacity and improved brain function.
At BIGfish, we started to take daily plank and wall sit breaks. Each day for one minute in the morning and one minute in the afternoon, the team comes together to ~*get fit*~. While we might not actually be making any progress toward our personal fitness goals, simply getting up and getting the blood moving gives us the extra boost we need to complete what ever project we are working on.
Humor in meetings
While some might think the laughs emanating from the BIGfish office aren’t a sign of productivity, they are wrong. Laughter releases dopamine and endorphins which help to keep tension low, morale high and bring people toward a state of engagement. Studies show that humor in the workplace leads to employees accomplishing more, higher level of creativity and a greater willingness to help co-workers. So don’t hesitate to send that funny Buzzfeed article in Slack or share a joke in a brainstorm session – you are helping the team.
Give yourself something nice to look at
Peel your eyes off your computer for a second and take a look around your desk. Is there anything on it that just makes you smile? If not, you should really think about printing out that funny meme your friend tagged you in, buying a plant or displaying a photo of your family because by simply looking at something aesthetically pleasing while working can boost productivity up to 15 percent!
We’re lucky that the BIGoffice just happens to be well-designed and calming, but sometime it’s nice to look around and see a personal touch in your work area. Since we spend the majority of the day staring at our desktop, why not make it fun to look at? Personally, I’ve customized my browser themes so my Gmail is at least pleasant to look at. Another fun way to add something nice to your desktop: check out Momentum, a Google Chrome extension that greets you with a beautiful photo, the time and an inspirational quote every time you open a new tab.
Know when to stop
One of the keys to productivity is knowing when there is simply nothing else you can do. Whether you just can’t flesh out the details of a project any further or summer vacation schedules mean an inbox full of out of offices from reporters and clients, sometimes you just have to call it quits. Friday afternoon are a black hole for productivity in the summer, so to combat it, BIGfish has “Summer Fridays” where our office closes early from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Besides just giving us the opportunity to get out and enjoy the summer months, knowing there is an abbreviated day ahead of us gives the BIGteam the motivation for some last minute productivity before getting out and soaking up the sun.
What productivity tips do you have to get through the summer months? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting us at @BIGfishPR!