5 Ways to Stay Productive When the Sun Shines
A Few Ways to Overcome Spring Fever at Work
After one of the snowiest years on record, every glimmer of sunshine is like a ray of hope that spring is around the corner. Soon, there will be no more commuting home in the dark or stepping outside and being chilled to the bone. The first bright spring days can fill us with jubilation, but can also be a huge distraction at work. When the sun finally makes an appearance, everything but the task at hand seems appealing.
Why spring makes us happy
Sunny days and warm weather are a mood booster, opening the mind to new ideas and increasing happiness. In fact, the season is so entwined with a brighter outlook that the UN General Assembly decided that March 20, the first day of spring, should become International Happiness Day.
Increased light elevates serotonin levels creating a feeling of happiness and our melatonin levels diminish, helping us to fight off drowsiness. Also, the rise in temperature encourages more physical activity, releasing mood boosting endorphins.
The trick is to make the most of your elevated well-being without losing sight of important commitments and work priorities, especially when you can see sunshine and blue skies out the window.
Here are some ideas on how to stay productive at work when spring fever strikes.
1. Acknowledge the change in season
You might feel more sluggish at work during winter, but studies have shown that lower winter temperatures and gloomy days actually produce higher productivity at work. According to Julia Lee, author of a Harvard University study “Rainmakers: Why Bad Weather Means Good Productivity,” nice weather disrupts the focus of the task at hand.
Fighting spring fever and trying to operate in the same pattern you used over winter will detract from your efforts. Acknowledge spring and put it to work for you. Lee recommends working on less detail-oriented projects when you feel your productivity wane, and do creative work instead.
2. Incentivize yourself
Likely, you would rather be outside than sitting at your desk on the first warm, sunny days. Set up a reward for yourself when you complete a set of tasks, then take a 5 to 15-minute sun break. It’s a creative way to get work priorities accomplished while having several mini spring breaks.
Make a list of spring activities you would like to do. This will give you something to look forward to while you slog through that next big project.
3. Be flexible
According to the consulting organization Managing People Better, there are some strong arguments you can make to your boss about enhancing your productivity by taking sun breaks.
If your job allows, shift your schedule an hour earlier so you can enjoy some sunshine in the late afternoon. Alternately, organize your work to take a longer midday break, and work in some exercise while you are out. Taking your work outside might also be an option, or find workspace closer to a window. When a stretch of good weather is predicted, schedule a day off and indulge in outdoor activities.
4. Do some spring office cleaning
Make your office space more refreshing, appealing and cool to work in. Do some spring-cleaning, open the windows, bring in a flowering potted plant and change scent diffusers to fresh linen or other reminders of spring. Freshness helps yield new ideas and perspectives. Clearing out clutter will not only aid productivity, you will be leaving and coming back to an organized space, helping your work efficiency.
5. Take care of what needs to be done
When you find your place in the sun, the work will still be waiting for you when you get back. If you don’t keep up, work will pile up and you might miss opportunities in the future to enjoy spring weather. Setting benchmarks is one way to keep your eye on the prize, according to the nonprofit Science for Work. Their studies have shown that goal monitoring positively influences outcomes. In addition, when you physically record progress by writing it down, there is a greater effect on goal attainment than just mentally noting progress.
Stay focused while experiencing spring fever by scheduling outdoor time and getting work done while on the clock. That way you can fully enjoy your breaks and time off while still being productive at work.