Updated: Sep 9, 2019
I am writing this on a perfectly delightful Friday afternoon. Poolside. In a bikini. HECK YEAH.
For those of you who live in northern climates like me, you know first-hand how important it is to maximize the sunny skies and warm temperatures as much as humanly possible in the summer months. And for this Minnesota gal who is allergic to sub-zero temperatures, I am dedicated to fully leveraging Summer Fridays in order to create the perfect union of personal comfort and professional gain. In other words, I like to work by the pool.
The latest project I created al fresco (and in a swimsuit) was my presentation for INBOUND 2019 that I’ll be delivering in Boston in September. WOO HOO! I’m so excited to be presenting “Creating True Connections in a World of Distraction and Disengagement” at this incredible event, and I wanted to infuse my program with the best possible ideas, improv exercises, and Mindful Performance strategies. Cue the pool floatie.
Below are a few things to consider when you want to enjoy Summer Fridays – whether by the pool, at the lake, or in the park – while still getting things done.
Plan ahead. When you have a glorious work-outside day that presents itself, figure out what are the one or two most important actions you can take without having access to outside resources like people, network access, and physical files. Write them down. Commit to doing them. Suggestions include reading time-sensitive materials, reviewing projects, working on strategic planning and tactical scheduling, and connecting with key influencers over email, text, and phone.
Go low-tech. If at all possible, work on activities that don’t involve a glowing screen. Bring a notebook and good pen (that writes upside down!) Working on your computer will work for a little while, but soon it will overheat and/or run out of batteries. It’s best to leave it at home and go analog while away from the office.
Get creative. Take a dip. Float on a raft. Go for a walk. Let your body relax. Let your brain unplug. You’ll be surprised at how your energy will restore itself when you fully unplug. Consider toting a mobile dry erase board for visioning and brainstorming! (Yeah, you may look like a mega-dork, but who cares? You’re not at the office!) It’s amazing what innovative ideas you can generate when you get outside and open up to anything. You are literally without a ceiling! Take pictures of your creations so you can erase and keep working.
Be flexible. Sometimes the best laid plans change due to rain, distractions, and just too many times hearing “MARCO! POLO!!” being shouted by overly-rambunctious little ones. Be committed to ditching the mobile workspace if your productivity plummets in any way. If your plan isn’t working anymore, be disciplined to pack up and go back to the office.
Assign boundaries (and honor them). Give yourself solid goals and deadlines. Assign an end time and set two alarms: one for your warning, and one ten minutes later to pack up. When the time comes, pack up! The only way you can successfully manage the delicate balance of focused work and partial relaxation is to be diligent with self-accountability.
Be grateful. No matter if it’s five minutes or five hours, be thankful that you got to spend time working away from the office! One of the most effective mindfulness strategies you can employ is time in nature. Breathe that fresh air! Look up at the clouds! Feel the wind on your cheeks (both sets!) It is a time to reflect on the many gifts you have in your life: the freedom to shift your schedule on occasion, the flexibility to work in different ways, and the framework through which you can maintain high levels of productivity while still enjoying those all-too-brief sunny days.
It’s so easy to be distracted and disengaged with our bleeping, blinking technology and the never-ending to-do list. However, when we are intentional about what we do with our Summer Fridays, we can still crank through the work while working on our tans.
Theresa Rose is a business motivational speaker, award-winning author, corporate comedian, content crystallization coach, and expert on mindful performance who helps organizations and their teams show up more fully, connect more deeply, and deliver better performances at work, at home, and all day long. For more information, visit TheresaRose.com.