How to stay productive when spring fever strikes
It's tough, but you can do it.
Whether you live and work in a place that gets sunshine year-round, or you’re still under three feet of snow, now is about the time spring fever starts to hit. With longer days, more sunshine and warmer temperatures, productivity can plunge.
If you’re struggling to stay focused at work while birds sing on your windowsill, here's some advice on how to stay productive when spring fever strikes.
Acknowledge the struggle
It’s just not useful to pretend that the great outdoors isn’t calling when it clearly is, says leadership consultant Bernadette Boas of Ball Of Fire Consulting. “A key factor of staying focused and productive is to acknowledge when you aren't, due to spring fever or anything else. If you fight it, it will only consume you, then sabotage your efforts.”
Boas recommends that you admit to yourself that you’d maybe rather be outside for a little bit, then give yourself a 5- to 15-minute break to head out. “You can also establish a reward for yourself of taking in spring, if you complete the one to three tasks you need to get done. It's a win-win strategy.”
Indulge a bit
It’s not counter-intuitive to soak up some sunshine, says Leigh Steere, co-founder of Managing People Better. “This has been a particularly rough winter for many people in the U.S., and frankly, being cooped up inside for days on end doesn't really enhance productivity,” she says.
She has several suggestions for setting aside dedicated time to get outside and refresh yourself with the warm weather. “Organize your work so you can take a two-hour break in the best part of the day to enjoy the sunshine and perhaps even get some exercise,” or plan a day off work where you can completely indulge in the outdoors. Working with a laptop outside is an option, too.
“If your work allows, start your business day extra early during the ‘spring fever’ season,” she suggests. “Then, leave mid-afternoon, with a full day's work accomplished, so you can enjoy the sunshine and longer daylight hours.”
Finally, Steere suggests making a list of things you want to do in the warm weather. “Create a plan for accomplishing your list. Just having that plan will make it easier not to daydream about ‘all the things you'd rather be doing.’”
Keep your eye on the prize
While taking a quick break outside can help you come back to work with new energy, it’s important to remember that the work still needs to get done, says Todd Robinson, founder of Applied Awareness, which teaches meditation. “It's possible to stay focused while experiencing spring fever if you remind yourself that time will pass regardless of how productive you are at work,” he says. “If you take care of what you need to do while you're on the clock, you can take full advantage of the sunshine without worrying about what you didn't get done during the day. Besides, if you have to catch up at a later date, you may miss another beautiful day.”