Thinking of summer, which officially arrives on June 21, brings the following lyrics to mind:
“Calling out around the world
are you ready for a brand new beat
Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in the street….”
(Dancing In the Street by Martha and the Vandellas)
I don’t know about you, but when summer comes around, I want to take advantage of everything it has to offer. This is especially true for me because I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada where the winters are long and bitterly cold. As a result, if I were to stick to my regular routine, I’d risk becoming easily distracted from my work. Furthermore, I would be conflicted because I would feel like I’m missing out on summer. Eventually my motivation would wane.
The questions that then come to mind are, as home-based solopreneurs in the summer can you and I stay motivated? Are we ready for a brand new beat (rhythm) that allows us to take advantage of the summer months? The answer to both of these questions is a resounding yes! There are ways to change the rhythm of our work so that we can stay motivated and enjoy the summer.
Importance of Staying Motivated
Let’s face it, just because summer arrives does not mean that you can stop working altogether. If you are fortunate enough that summer is a slower time for your business, then great! You will more likely be able to take advantage of the summer while continuing to work in a more leisurely manner. Yet, for some solopreneurs, quieter times can be challenging because there is a tendency to slack off. Then, things have the potential to slide.
On the other hand, if summer happens to be your busy season, you will have to find the motivation to press on in the midst of summer calling you.
Whether it’s a slow or busy season, the following tips can help you find a beat or rhythm that works:
Tips to Create a Fulfilling Summer
Tip 1: Shift Your Schedule With the Season
When the seasons change, don’t be afraid to adjust your work schedule. Regardless of whether this is your slow season or busy season, you can tweak your schedule in a number of ways so that you can still make time for outdoor activities.
A. Tweaking Daily Schedule
Life is full of rhythms (cycles). In addition to the seasons, there are times of day, stages of life, and so on. Therefore, it shouldn’t be a surprise that there is a rhythm to the work. We all have our own unique work rhythm, and you will have to keep this in mind when tweaking your daily schedule.
- For example, if you are a morning person, get up a couple of hours earlier. If you enjoy the cooler outdoor temperatures, go for a walk, a run, garden, or simply enjoy a coffee outside while reading a book. On the other hand, if you enjoy the warmer afternoon temperatures to sit by a pool or go to the beach, then use the morning to get a head start on answering emails or working on your project.
For those of us whose work rhythm peaks later in the day (that would be me), sleeping in a little might be a good idea. Some work can then be done in the later morning, followed by a break in the afternoon for an outdoor activity, and then the evening can be used to get back to work.
B. Tweaking Weekly Schedule
Another way to adjust one’s schedule is to shorten the work week. Now, if your summer season is busy, you may not be able to do this. However, that is not to say you cannot schedule a couple of long weekends. This will require thinking ahead and planning.
If this is a slower time for your business, there may be nothing stopping you from taking summer Fridays (or Mondays). A summer Friday means you may stop working a few hours earlier or take the entire day off. Throughout the week, if needed, you may have added time to your day Monday–Thursday in order to change up your Friday.
Regardless of whether you schedule a couple of long weekends or consistently shorten your work week in the summer, you will experience benefits. First, you will not be missing out on summer. Secondly, you will rejuvenate your body and mind. Finally, in all likelihood, productivity will increase as you are rested and have enjoyed some Vitamin D.
C. Tweaking Work Routine
A final way to adjust your schedule to the season is to break it up into smaller, concentrated chunks. Let’s face it, there can be a lot going on in the summer, especially if your kids are home. This method works regardless of whether this is your busy season or not. Instead of working for long, intense, and uninterrupted periods of time, work in shorter spurts. By doing so, you will be surprised that your motivation will likely increase.
Time management techniques are a great way to manage distractions and keep you motivated. One effective approach is the Pomodoro Technique. This involves breaking your work into 25-minute intervals with short breaks in between.
Trying one or more of the above will more than likely enable you to enjoy more of the summer.
Tip 2: Focus on the Essentials
Solopreneurs often get bogged down in their work, either struggling to say “no” or being reactive instead of responsive. In the summer, it’s a great opportunity to learn how to focus on an essential to-do list rather than an extensive one. Moreover, creating an essential and reasonable to-do list in advance makes it easier to stay on track.
You should determine which tasks are non-negotiable and eliminate some from your summer roster. Additionally, leverage technology to your advantage during the summer. There are numerous apps available that can assist with social media, emails, time management, and more.
Lastly, as previously mentioned, consider adapting your existing routines. Take note of your unique work rhythm and schedule essential tasks during the “peak” period. This approach enables you to accomplish more and complete your essentials, giving you the freedom to enjoy your summer to the fullest.
Tip 3: Give Yourself Permission To Relax
In order to stay motivated and productive, it is important to relax. As solopreneurs, maintaining our wellbeing cannot be overlooked. Without health, our business will suffer. Relaxation is an opportunity to rejuvenate our minds and bodies. Summer is the perfect time to take a break, whether it is for an hour, an afternoon, or longer.
A. Letting Go is Key
Many solopreneurs feel guilty about taking time for themselves. Letting go can feel like being irresponsible. However, nothing is farther from the truth. Stepping away can seem daunting. However, if you follow the previous tips and carve out time for yourself, the reward is priceless.
B. Ways to Relax
There are numerous ways to relax. It can be as simple as rewarding hard work and having a beverage on your deck. It might mean taking time to go to your yoga class or scheduling lunch with a friend. One step further might mean taking that “Summer Friday” and scheduling one summer event a week. On a grander scale, it may involve planning a staycation, a mini vacation, or a longer summer vacation. Whatever fits for you, just be sure to give yourself the okay to take a break. You will reap the benefits in the long run.
Tip 4: Find What Motivates You
Clearly, no two people are alike. As noted, each of us has our own unique work rhythm as well as interests. It is important that you become aware of what motivates you. What are your triggers? When you know this, you can plan ways to enjoy your summer.
For myself, I love the sunshine and work better later in the day. I also love iced coffee, sangria, gelato, the beach, and a pool. As a result, I can make a deal with myself. If I accomplish my essential to-do list for the day, I may quit a little early and enjoy a glass of sangria in my backyard. If I am completing a bigger project or working extra hours during the week, I may take a day to go to the beach with family or friends. Finally, after working hard throughout the whole year, a summer vacation may be in order (although I usually take a longer one in the winter).
What motivates you? What are your triggers? Discover them, and be sure to take advantage of them during the summer months.
Wrapping It Up
Actively staying motivated during the summer is critical for a solopreneur. It will ensure a successful and fulfilling season. Part of remaining motivated is knowing you are not missing out on all that the season offers. Shifting your schedule, focusing on the essentials, giving yourself permission to relax, and finding what motivates you will help support your work schedule while embracing summer.