With such a short summer season here in New England, there’s hardly enough time to pack in all the barbecues, day trips, hiking adventures, and other activities that make the season so special. Unfortunately, summer is also a time when work productivity takes a nosedive. Either we (or our coworkers) are taking advantage of the great weather by vacationing or we’re busy daydreaming on the job about everything else we could be doing. While it’s nice to let the brain wander every so often (in fact, it’s recommended), trouble can brew when we aren’t as productive, so here are some tips for staying focused on our jobs when the temptations of summer are right outside the window.

  • Set daily goals. Staring at a long list of tasks can be overwhelming, but if you start your day by choosing only a few tasks on that list to tackle that day, you’ll improve your chances of remaining productive.
  • Remove distractions. Leave your cell phone in your car or in your purse, clean off your desk so your brain can feel uncluttered, and put away pictures that might lead to daydreaming.
  • Shut off social media.Not only is social media a huge distractor, it’s especially bad when you’re inundated with pictures of friends and family boating or hiking or doing whatever it is that you’d rather be doing.
  • Feed your brain. Foods like fatty fish, blueberries, avocados, and dark chocolate contain nutrients that boost brain power and memory.
  • Drink water. Staying hydrated helps our bodies function, from our hearts to our organs and our brains.
  • Get organized. Whenever you find yourself simply unable to focus on the task at hand, try doing some other menial job that helps you continue to be productive. Clean out your desk drawer, organize emails, shred unnecessary documents, or file. You’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something and have the added bonus of cleaning up your workspace.
  • Take a break. In order to work properly, your brain requires time to recharge itself so it can go back to being focused. In fact, this study indicates that a break every 50-90 minutes will keep your productivity level up.
  • Check your nutrient levels. Low levels of vitamins B, D, or C, niacin, or iron can affect your ability to concentrate or even stay awake. If you find yourself unable to stay on task and even nodding off on the job (especially if this happens year-round), have your doctor check to make sure your getting enough of the vitamins you need.
  • Work in a team. Are you working on a project in which you can enlist a coworker to help bring it to completion or vice versa? When you work as a team, you can cut your workload in half while gaining the motivation and energy of someone else.
  • Get more sleep. Sleep deprivation is not only unhealthy, it’s also costly. According to org, workers who are sleep deprived make more mistakes, suffer from on-the-job burnout, and cost companies over $60 billion in lost productivity each year.

Let us know how you stay focused! Enjoy the Summer!