The moment comes each year when you realize it's officially summertime: when you resurrect the hammock from the attic, hear the slow buzz of a fly through an open window or wipe the juice from a fresh tomato off your chin. We welcome the season of sun, but it changes the way we work.
Teachers have long lamented the “summer brain drain” in students – trapezoids and conjugations are fuzzy memories by the time June’s humming afternoons come around. Getting back into the groove of learning in autumn can be an uphill battle, so much so that the Department of Education has initiated many programs around to country to facilitate summertime learning. And adults are certainly not immune to summer brain – fluctuating vacation schedules and workloads in summertime and nicer weather can distract employees.
But should we fight against the symptoms of summertime? We are creatures who inhabit and are affected our immediate environments, and a change in season can bring a fresh perspective to our work. Here are three ways to let the summertime bug bite you (in a good way):
1. Look out the window
Daydreaming is a natural function of a creative mind. Some problems we face in our work lives need space and time to unravel and deconstruct. If the weather’s nice outside, don’t be afraid to look out the window and let your mind wander where it will for a few moments – it may lead to the next big idea.
2. Capitalize on long days to boost energy
Ample daylight bookending the start and end to the average workday in summertime is a great opportunity to get moving more during the week. My favorite summertime tradition is meeting up with a friend for an after-work hike in the Oakland Hills on my way home from the office. Spending more time outside after work makes me feel more refreshed and ready to tackle tough tasks throughout the workweek.
3. Savor the process
Summertime is all about savoring the season. The meditative quality of shucking corn, swimming and other classic summertime activities applies to work projects too. Allow yourself during the summer months to slow down and pay closer attention to the parts of your job that you love and want to build on for future projects.
The idea behind maintaining a work-life balance isn’t necessarily about balancing commitments – seasonal or otherwise – in the exact same ways at all times. Our summer brains can teach us the benefits of mental agility as the seasons spin around us.