Scrolling through Instagram can make it feel like everyone is on vacation right now, which is no fun to see when you’re stuck at the office. If you wish you were anywhere else but at work right now, you’re not alone. A Harvard study finds that workers are less productive when the weather is warm and sunny, because they’re daydreaming about being outside.
If you can’t take time off this summer, you may still be able to work less and actually get more done. Research has shown that slowing down at work can help lower stress, which makes it easier to focus and be productive. This is how to get more done in less time this summer, according to productivity experts:
- Pare down your to-do list - Put urgent work-related tasks at the top, followed by tasks that bring you the most joy. “When you have a leaner to-do list and a sense of how to tackle everything on it, there’s less overarching angst about having a lot on your plate,” explains time management expert Laura Vanderkam.
- Take micro-breaks - We’re talking five to 10 minutes, just enough to give your brain a chance to rest so you stay focused and motivated. Psychologist Sarah Sarkis says, “The more control we have over our work, the more empowered we feel.” So take advantage of those breaks to help motivate you to work more efficiently.
- Plan fun - Instead of longing for summer fun and letting those thoughts distract you from work, schedule some fun time you can enjoy when you’re off the clock. Think about what would make you feel like you had a really good summer too, like trying that new restaurant, then make it happen.
- Try mono-tasking - Many of us think multi-tasking makes us more productive, but it can actually keep you from focusing, making tasks take longer to finish. To minimize distractions and interruptions and accomplish more, try setting aside at least two to four hours a day to focus on one project and only one. That means not checking email, looking at your phone or chatting with coworkers and really giving all of your attention to the task at hand. The experts say you’ll be surprised how much faster you get stuff done that way.