Blog Post

How to Stay Productive and Enjoy the Summer

The weather here in Portland is just starting to turn from cloudy and chilly springtime into our typically beautiful, warm summer days. I plan to take full advantage of it while still kicking butt at work.

I’m now back to working at home full-time for the rest of the summer, and I’m thinking back to some tips and tricks that I’ve used in past years to enjoy the summer weather while maintaining my productivity. There are plenty of ways that we can enjoy some of that nice weather while still working hard; here are a few of my favorites:

Open Those Curtains

I’ll admit it, I tend to get a little focused on the computer while forgetting that the outside world even exists, so I’ve been trying to get in the habit of opening the curtains when I first get up. Even if I’m not outside, I can at least enjoy some of what summer has to offer: Sunshine, flowers and other plants, and the occasional butterfly or hummingbird. You won’t want the sun shining right on your monitor, so rearrange the office a little if you need to, but make sure that you can at least see what summer has to offer!

Hack Your Hours

I’m a big fan of being creative about when I work as long as I get my work done. Making a small adjustment to your hours can make a big difference in how much time you can spend enjoying the summer! I usually start my day early, around 6AM. This lets me get quite a bit of work done before other people start working, but it also lets me take a slightly early and longer lunch break. By the time 11AM rolls around, I’m usually ready for a little break, and there is nothing quite like going for a run in the sunshine to get those creative juices flowing again. OK, not everyone enjoys running, but a nice little walk through your neighborhood or having lunch outside would work just as well. This doesn’t mean that you have to get up early to enjoy the summer, but think about the hours you normally work and see if it makes sense to tweak them a little over the summer.

Deck or Porch Offices

I am lucky to have a nice deck outside with morning sun and afternoon shade where I can work while enjoying the weather. There are a few tricks to making a deck or porch office work for you, even if you only use it for an hour a day. I have pretty good battery life on my laptop, but I do have an outlet and an outdoor extension cord just in case I want to spend a little more time outside or charge my phone while I work. As much as I love working outside, the laptop glare can make working in the sunshine an unpleasant experience, so last year I invested in a table with an umbrella to give me a little additional shade for when I want to work outside in the morning. A comfortable chair can also make a big difference, and I admit that I haven’t quite got that part right. A few cushions or better deck chairs would probably let me work outside for longer periods of time. There are some more tips for using a laptop outside here.

Coffee Shops With Patios

Not everyone lives in a place with a deck or porch, but anyone can scope out the neighborhood patios at places with free WiFi. Save those dark coffee shops for the winter, and find a few cafes with better access to the sun for your summer work. There are a couple of local coffee shops and restaurants in my neighborhood with nice patios where you can work outside while also getting a change of scenery. Some of them even have outdoor power outlets, so bringing a compact extension cord can be helpful if you want to work for an afternoon. Working on a patio can be even more fun if you get a few people together for some coworking sessions or schedule some of your meetings for outdoor locations.

What are your favorite tips for staying productive while finding ways to enjoy the summer?

Photo by Flickr user Martino Franchi used under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license.

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5 Responses to “How to Stay Productive and Enjoy the Summer”

  1. In our old house we also had a large balcony overlooking the garden. That was my “summer office”. Getting up and outside by about 6.30am let me get the creative juices flowing with very few distractions aside from birds chirping in the nearby trees. Later – when the neighbors and their kids were out & about – I could do more routine tasks or research. As our home-offices were also on the 2nd floor, we had a coffee/tea station set up in the hallway that kept me fueled throughout the day. I’m still sussing out the best outdoor/summer solution for our new place. Right now I’m using the kitchen table in the mornings with the door wide open, but I’m sure something better will evolve once everything is in its place.

  2. Jeremy Campbell

    Take my laptop to the beach and work away while I tan and enjoy the warm beach breezes. Getting someone to watch my laptop while I’m swimming can be a challenge sometimes though.