If having to work makes you feel you're missing out on summer fun, here's what to do.
If you are one of those people who would rather be outside than inside, and your job is inside, you may find that summertime is a hard time of year for you to concentrate at work. After all, July and August tend to be pretty spectacular in the Pacific Northwest. Naturally, when it finally gets here, you want to be out in all that sun and warmth, soaking it up.
Chances are, however, you still have to work. But this doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to feeling resentful and miserable. You can easily take positive steps to make those inside hours on the job more engaging, fun and rewarding. Here are just four ideas that can produce a real difference:
Learn a new skill. Nothing is more energizing than putting your brain to work on something interesting and different. So this is the time of year to make a special effort to take every opportunity to do new tasks, or to do old tasks in a new way. Volunteer for projects outside your job scope, say, or learn the latest software and then teach it to others. Your brain is happiest when it’s being challenged.
Adapt your commute to make it more outdoorsy. Ride the bus instead of driving. Walk or bicycle instead of riding the bus. If you have to drive, vary your route to make it more scenic.
Change your workspace. Are you chained to a computer all day? A standing desk can energize your mind and body. If that’s out of the question, try decluttering your surroundings, bringing in a plant or vase of flowers, or just sitting closer to a window.
Build deeper friendships at work. No matter what time of year it is, expanding your relationships with colleagues is a great way to expand your happiness at work. Stronger connections build morale, improve performance, and make even the most sedentary, desk-bound job feel more worthwhile and satisfying.
Finally, consider that boredom at work may be a sign your job is not right for you. Does it reflect your goals and values? Are you using your true talents? Days are long this time of year. Using some of those extra hours to reflect may lead you to make changes that stamp out workplace boredom completely, even in the summer.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use and of the novel “The Paris Effect.” Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.