It’s Summer – Are You Present?

Now that summer has officially started have you partially checked out of work?  It’s not uncommon for people to get distracted by the thoughts of time off, fun weekend activities, family events, etc. during the summer months.  However, as part of a team you need to be fully engaged to get things done.  When others are gone you might be covering their tasks in addition to your normal duties so you need to be on top of your game.

How do you get on top of your game when the days are longer and there is more to do outside of work?  Here are a few tips to help you stay focused at work, get done quicker and enjoy your time out of the office.

  1. Plan your work.  It’s always a good idea to have a plan for what needs to be done and when, but when you are covering for others it becomes critical.
  2. Work your plan.  Now that you have a plan, follow it.  Make sure you look at your to-do list each morning and at the end of the day to ensure you are on track.
  3. Block time.  Create blocks of time, could be 30 minutes or 4 hours, to get the important things done on time.  Schedule this time in your calendar so you know you need to focus and get stuff done.
  4. Stay flexible.  Allow time for the unexpected and the new items that are sure to come your way.  When you are covering for someone else there are sure to be surprises that need attention, so make room in your plan to handle those items.
  5. Know your limits.  Be aware of how much is on your plate already so when you are asked to take on more work temporarily you know how much time you have to give.  If you must cover and it will impact your own deadlines keep people in the loop.
  6. Get clarity.  When asked to take over for someone, be sure you know in detail what MUST be done while they are gone and what would be nice to have done.  Plan to handle the musts and if possible knock out some of the nice to haves.
  7. Be clear.  As you ask others to cover for you, be clear on what needs to be done and by when.  Focus on getting only the critical items dealt with in your absence.  If possible get things done ahead of time, so there is very little for people to handle while you are gone.
  8. Take lunch breaks.  When you are swamped it’s easy to skip lunch to get more done before quitting time.  This just leads to additional stress on your body and mind.  Take the break!  Even 30 minutes away from the computer, phone and your desk will help you recharge for the afternoon push.
  9. Have fun.  Remember getting away from work is a great time to relax, unwind and recharge your energy.  Make time to enjoy the important people in your life.
  10. Show appreciation.  Let the people who are covering for you know you appreciate it.  We all like to know our efforts are noticed and appreciated.

If you show up and are engaged each day at work you will get more done and it will be easier to take time away to enjoy all the fun things summer has to offer.  Avoid mentally leaving the office before you are physically gone.  Be there for your team and they will be there for you.

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