In my previous article, I shared about summer rhythms to savour. This one will focus on rhythms to adopt for high performance at work during summer. You may find it hard to be diligent at work when it’s sunny outside and there’s more socialising. Or you may struggle with being focused with the hotter climate.
Whatever camp you find yourself in, I’m sharing these tips which hopefully can guide you to find a rhythm that enables you to get work done. They are pretty simplistic yet I’m guilty of not always hydrating properly during summer. The simple things are often the hardest to be disciplined at doing.
That’s why I’ve included this as rhythms. Rhythms are gentler, less rigid and still provide structure and a good flow to our days.
It goes without saying that hydration is key for productivity. Not only is it crucial for our body’s proper functioning, when you’re well hydrated it helps dissipate heat. This in turn makes you sleep better, work better the following day, and remain cool. Ensure you drink clean water as much as possible – in Barbados where I currently live (2021-2022) I am loving Eco Sky Water. They’re local, good for the planet, and it’s pure for our bodies.
Have a power nap
This is one of my favourite indulgence – a nap. If naps leave you feeling groggy, you’re probably sleeping too long. Enjoy a power nap, generally under 10 mins. Enough to bring you a dose of calm and lying down, but not too long that it makes you feel strange when you wake up. Choose a different spot than your bed if possible. Try a lounge chair, a chaise longue, a daybed, or the sofa. Sometimes, I’ll even dose off a little by the pool or on my beach pestemal mid-work day.
Schedule computer work for mornings
In general, I do my best to avoid taking video calls in the evenings or at night. That’s because I do not want to mess up with melatonin. I love scheduling my calls first thing in the mid-morning so that I can have my afternoons free (nap, power nap, adventures), and then I’ll head back indoors for some more work if need be. I’ll get most of the analog type of work activities during evenings. That way, I get my body used to slow evenings without the screen and blue light. It does wonders to my endocrine system too. Note: ensure that the first two hours after you wake up are also screen-free if possible.
Examples of work activities for evening: admin, reports, writing, thinking, brainstorming, dreaming, project planning, breaking down of tasks, social media captions, delving into brand values, writing blogposts headlines, book outline, mapping out your offers, business development, creative direction, manual work etc
Examples of work activities requiring screen/ technology: video calls, virtual conference calls or meetings, scheduling social media, emails, design projects, video editing, SEO, Google analytics, invoicing, etc.
One tip to limit your screen activities can be automating or outsourcing or delegating these. In my company, I require my laptop only for a couple of hours a week for calls on Zoom. The rest of the time I am using my iPhone for a couple more hours a week (check in your phone settings for Screen Time limit for apps). My team handles a bulk of the work such as content, scheduling, invoicing, reports, my inbox.
Eat light, vibrant foods
Nutrition plays a vital part in our productivity. In summer, it can be stressful to work when it is so hot, dry or humid. Eating light but still nutrient-dense foods will keep your blood sugar levels balanced without leaving you bloated. Vibrant foods eaten raw or steamed, lightly cooked also helps satisfy hunger without going into a food comatose. Another advantage to this: meal planning! You tick the simple criteria for meal planning because you can quickly put together a quick salad, or a nourishing bowl (think Buddha bowl or eat-the-rainbow style) and still get to work on your business.
Have a dip (pool or ocean)
One of the morning rituals of Bajans (Barbadians) is to take a swim. This simple act serves to refresh them and gives them a cool(er) day ahead. I cannot do this in the morning unfortunately but I have been enjoying mid-afternoon dips in the pool. It cools me off completely and then I can focus with my work tasks again. Sometimes, I’ll head to the beach and bring along some documents to read or my lunch so I tick off two things in one go.
Having a refreshing dip is one of my favourite work rhythms whenever I find myself on a tropical island or in warmer countries along my nomadic journey.
Reduce caffeine intake
My husband loves coffee, however during summer, he avoids it or at least reduces the amount. Coffee is negative water. Instead of hydrating you, it’s causing you to lose precious water that your body does need at this time. I know that it isn’t easy for you coffee lovers out there – I used to be a coffeeholic myself before I decided to quit for good.
Favour cooling teas
In summer or whenever it gets hot, I swap my teas. It’s time for cooling teas such as black tea, peppermint tea, mint tea, hibiscus and rosehip, lemon tea. You can also make iced tea with them if you don’t like the idea of a hot beverage when it’s hot outside. I love hot beverages even in summer because after the initial ‘feeling warm’ in my stomach, if I’m having any of the cooling teas, my body does cool down afterwards.
Wear comfortable cooling clothes
If you were to visit my dad in Mauritius (tropical island where he lives), you’d find him half naked. He’d be home dressed in his shorts and no shirt! While I understand this may not be good for you for those Zoom meetings with your coworkers or clients 😅🙈, it’s vital to dress in a way that doesn’t trap heat in.
Linen, bamboo, cotton, silk are great natural fabrics that allow your body to breathe, to cool, the water to evaporate as you sweat and keep you looking chic and elegant too. The fact that linen creases actually add to the elegance factor means no ironing necessary! Bonus!
I love wearing my maxi floral skirt as it protects my legs from mosquitoes while keeping me elegant. On my arms, I use an oil infused with camomile flowers that repel flies and mozzies. Therefore, I can wear spaghetti straps tops or sleeveless tops.
When it’s summer, you may find you’re naturally enthusiastic about enjoying the outdoors, being with friends and family and planning fun things to do. The sun, barbecue smell, and playtime in the garden or outside is a wonderful combination that doesn’t align with being cooped out working. I get it – it can be difficult to find your flow and stay disciplined with work.
Therefore in your yearly planning as an entrepreneur or freelancer, why not take that into account and schedule in more breaks, more time off over the summer period so you can relish this season more? Some businesses close up completely over the summer months, and I don’t blame them! While this isn’t something I find useful for my business model, I choose to continue working but at a gentler, slower pace.
This allows me to still get things done, still generate revenue in my business, while having the time of my life this summer.
Change your work view or workspace
A great boost in my productivity is to change location. Now, before you write this tip off saying “Bea, it’s easy for you to say when you’re location-independent”, I want you to think about it. Before I was able to afford the lifestyle I lead today, I was still practicing for it.
I would work from my tiny bachelor flat that felt like a small shoebox more than an apartment but I’d change scenery. It’s where you need to make use of your creativity. Could you work from your kitchen table that overlooks your veggie patch that gets plenty of sunshine? Could you move your chair outside and work from your patio or your yard?
If you have neither yard or outdoor space, could you have a large beach painting and hang above your desk so you can feel like you’re in another part of the world?
For those of you who like to go big, why not splurge once or twice this summer and treat yourself to a workcation in a boutique hotel?
You could also gather some friends and have a coworking day. Head to a lovely café or eatery and make it a day where you blend work and social life together!
I hope the above work rhythms ideas and suggestions help you to find your flow this season and that you’re off to doing something fun after reading this post. If you’ve enjoyed it, please do let me know your feedback and feel free to share it with your friends or community, either offline or online.