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When Everyone’s on Vacation Except You, Here’s How to Get Stuff Done

How can you get stuff done when the office is a big echo chamber and everyone’s off splashing in some warm sea or another?
get stuff done
WOCinTechChat/Flickr

There are ways you can stay motivated, and dare I say it, even advance your cause a bit while your coworkers are out having a break. That’s time well spent, for sure (even if it’s not a vacation in the sun).

1. Don’t call it a “summer slump”

If you’re calling it your “slow time” or expecting to be bored each day, you’re already thinking the wrong way.

Instead, plan your calendar in advance and fill in empty spaces with things you’ve been putting off. You could get ahead of desk or file organization, fit in some professional skill-building with an online course or webinar, or plan some time to get your projects a little ahead of schedule. That sound you don’t hear is your phone ringing off the hook, so take advantage of the lack of people bugging you every five minutes!

2. Find others to commiserate (and network) with

That person in the lunch room you see but never talk to? Talk to them! Make some lunch plans with friends who work close by or grab a coffee in the afternoon with someone you’re dying to talk to privately. Summer is a relaxed time when you can let your guard down a bit and enjoy some hang time, even in the workplace. You might find that those new (or renewed) connections last longer than a simple summer romance.

3. Relax together

Work gatherings, lunch meetings, afternoon activities with a round of management-funded snacks…these are all great ways to break up the tedium of a summer workday while still feeling like you’re getting some quality team building done.

And if you’re done groaning about the term “team building,” you CAN have fun with coworkers without a lot of nonsense. Just don’t over-plan so that it becomes a chore or feels too much like “mandatory fun.” Suggest a few ideas to management as a great “break” for all those in the office and they’ll see the benefit of it.

4. Take a social media break

Everyone’s posting beach snaps and you can feel your body slumping into that scratchy office chair. Don’t succumb to FOMO! Take a break from your Facebook stalking and turn your phone off, or employ one of these nanny apps to keep you focused and off of those time sucks. You might even start to feel a bit happier off social for a while. A recent University of Pittsburgh study showed heavy Facebook use can lead to depression. Instead, pick up a good summer read, write a letter to a friend, or listen to your new favorite podcast while you get some things accomplished.

5. Fix all of your (Work) problems

Have you been complaining about how workflow isn’t working, or how the review process is slowing everything down? Then now’s your chance to craft your grand plan to solve all these issues.

Start small, make notes and don’t go running to management at the first glimmer of a grand scheme. You’ll want to talk to coworkers, gather data, come up with some success stories from other companies, and then make arrangements to talk to higher ups about increasing productivity and making your workplace work better. (Just don’t do it the second your boss is back from their own two weeks in the sun. Give them a chance to ease back into it, and they’ll be a lot more receptive to a little upheaval.)

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