When you picture summer, what do you see? Sandy beaches, pool parties, barbecues. I’m sure you don’t imagine working. Or at least working too hard. Summer is a time when people slow down and relax. It’s also a time when people become busy with internships, camps, or more. But if we don’t strike a balance between the two, summer procrastination occurs.
Productivity doesn’t end because the summer months are here. Depending on your job, you might get more work in the summer than at any other time of the year. Still, procrastination tends to rise in the summer. It's important to keep yourself motivated, but not overwhelmed.
What exactly is summer procrastination?
Summer procrastination is exactly what it sounds like: procrastinating projects because it’s summer. To dive a little deeper into the meaning, it essentially means that during the summer months people lean more towards relaxing instead of working.
The cause of this could be many things. The heat for one. Some areas recently dealt with record-breaking heatwaves. On a super hot, humid day, how motivated do you feel to get things done? Not a lot. When the temperatures are that hot and sticky your body goes into a state of lethargy. This is because it’s conserving energy.
But heatwaves break. A thunderstorm often times rolls through and pushes the heat away for a while. This is when summer procrastination is at its lowest.
Summer has a stronger meaning for school-aged children than it does for adults. Most adults work all year round. Still, summer represents a time to get away from the usual hustle and bustle.
You might take on fewer projects in the summer. You focus on smaller projects that take less time and energy. For some companies, summer could be their slowest stretch of the year and you may find yourself twiddling your thumbs more often.
But keeping yourself busy during the summer is important. If you drop all your responsibilities and spend the next three months doing next to nothing, your turnaround time come the fall is going to take longer.
Avoid summer procrastination with these easy tips
There are a few things you can do to avoid summer procrastination. These are great ways you can stay productive but still enjoy the summer months.
Set 1-3 summer goals
Setting 1-3 small goals is a great way to stay productive in the summer. Think of something you’ve been wanting to do for a while and kept pushing back. Have you always wanted a herb garden? What about repainting the shed or redecorating your foyer?
Having goals is a natural motivator. Keep them simple. And reward yourself each time you complete something. A day trip to the beach is the perfect reward if that’s your thing. Ice cream sundaes are another fantastic reward.
Stick to a routine or create a summer one
With kids being out of school all they want to do is sleep in. This is fine to do on occasion. But if they become used to waking up later in the day, it’ll be that much harder to reacclimate them come the school year.
Try and follow the same routine you use for the school year. Continue to eat dinner at the same time. Continue to wake up at the same time. If that’s too difficult, create a routine for summer. Allow your kids to sleep an hour later. Have a slightly later bedtime. Maybe eat thirty minutes later.
Don’t alter the routine too much. Again, you want to be able to easily transition back into your regular routine come September.
Learn something new
Summer is a great time to try your hands at a new skill. It’s another great motivator to keep your mind productive but stimulated. Don’t trust yourself with the grill, but want to learn how to master it? Has there been a DIY project you’ve had your eye on for some time? Make a plan to follow through with them this summer.
Schedule a few hours each week to learn something new- no matter what it is! Get your kids involved as well. Ask if there’s anything they’ve been interested in learning about. Not all kids want to spend their summer sleeping in. If you and your child are motivated enough, you can enter the fall with a whole new set of skills.
Allow for days of rest
Summer wouldn’t be summer without some rest and relaxation. Even if you’re working towards a few summer goals or learning something new, it’s important to rest and recharge. Especially when the weather turns hot and humid.
If you wake up one morning and the temperatures are unmotivating, take the day to rest. Stay hydrated. Watch a few episodes of a TV show. Read a book. Give yourself an at-home spa treatment. Once the heat breaks or once you feel motivated again, go back to working on your goals.
What are the pros and cons of summer procrastination?
The above-mentioned tips are great ways to ensure you and your family remain productive during the summer. Summer procrastination can have both good and bad effects and it’s important to know the difference.
A major pro of summer procrastination is giving yourself time to relax. Rest is vital this time of year. Some people don’t do well in the heat. They’re more likely to relax in the summer than go out of their way to do big projects. They might do a lot of indoor activities and projects.
Another pro is the break it gives your mind. Our brains are capable of doing a lot and retaining a lot, but even they need a vacation every now and then. That’s why scheduling rest days during the summer is a good idea.
But as I mentioned earlier, some cons to summer procrastination include the lapse in getting back on one’s feet. You don’t want to spend all summer lazying about. Come fall you’ll find it hard to get back into a steady rhythm. This is especially true for school-aged children.
If they’ve been particularly lazy this summer, start adjusting them to the school year schedule a month in advance. Though it takes young people less time to adapt to a habit, the faster they adapt, the better.
While summer procrastination can be good and bad, it’s important to find a balance. You don’t want to waste your entire summer doing project after project. But you also don’t want to spend all summer sunbathing or going to the beach.
Between the heat, the time off from school and/or work, and vacations, sometimes we just don’t feel like doing anything and that’s ok. So long as you don’t let it become a habit.
Summer is meant to be a relaxing time spent with family. But you can still get important things done. If tackling a big organizing project has been on your agenda, summer is a great time to approach it.
Check out my Services page for the different types of organizing I can help with. Then contact me and let’s make a summer plan.