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5 Tips for a Productive Summer

The beginning of the summer is a great time to take stock of the year, and ensure your annual goals are on the right track. It’s also a time when children are out of school, and many colleagues and clients are taking vacations. With the shift in schedules and work-flow, there’s a high risk of losing momentum.

Although it may seem that output is slower during the summer, according to a recent daylight research study, the summer can actually be more productive. With summer arrives longer daylight, an abundance of outdoor activities, and opportunities to gather with family and friends, subsequently reducing stress.

The summer is also a great time to add productivity and leadership tools to your tool box. Jim Collins the author of the classic productivity book, Good to Great coined the phrase Level 5 Leadership to describe the characteristics of the top business leaders who overcame adversity through strategic goal setting to become successful CEOs. He found that the process of leadership had little to do with a “leadership” personality, and could be cultivated. He found that great leaders are often quiet, even shy, but have one thing in common, they inspire others with extraordinary output characterized by a dedication to the mission.

As you work on cultivating your leadership style, the summer months can be a great time to develop new habits and hone your skills. It’s also a time to relax, explore, take a vacation and have family time.

Knowing that working long hours is not equivalent to productivity, here are five tools to have a fun, balanced, and productive summer!

  1. Identify Summer Goals and Objectives with a Brain Dump:  Making a list can be very beneficial, but what about a Brain Dump? According to Success Magazine, “individuals with a lot on their minds tend to be less creative.” A Brain Dump is a precursor to a list. Grab a piece of paper or open a doc on your computer and let everything on your mind, all of the “to-dos,” flow into a concrete list. Once you have everything in front of you, organize and delete any items that are no longer relevant. Finally, prioritize the remaining items and get started on your optimized task list.
  2. Download an Audio Book: High Performance Habits by Brendan Burchard spent weeks on the Wall Street Journal best sellers list. Having difficulty finding time to read the best sellers? Download audiobooks that can be listened to even when you are not connected to wifi. Podcasts are also a great way to stay connected to thought leadership. As you travel you’ll be developing problem solving techniques, and staying on top of industry news.
  3. Track Your Progress with a Productivity App: If you are familiar with the Pomodoro Technique, the popular time management tool that includes 25 minutes of focused energy, followed by five minute breaks, then FocusBooster may be the tool for you. FocusBooster allows you to keep track of projects and studying, giving you a graphic read out at the end of each week that shows exactly what projects you spent most of your time and for how long. Now that’s the power of data!
  4. Take Breaks in Between Projects: According to research from The Harvard Business Review taking breaks during complex tasks helps to increase creativity. Going for a walk, to the gym, or even a couple of moments of stillness are workplace-friendly ways to redirect your attention, and increase focus when you return to the task at hand.
  5. Practice Mindfulness: The next time you are browsing the app store, remember that there are great apps for mindfulness and productivity. The Headspace App is an IOS and Android app that works as a mindfulness “personal trainer.”  Take guided meditation to a new level, and reap the numerous health benefits of mindfulness, including stress reduction.