In the wake of Canada Day and Independence Day it is hard to deny that summer is officially upon us, at least in the Northern Hemisphere. Summer often means hot temperatures, barbeques, trips to the beach, and lots of fun. All these things are great and certainly make up for the long, cold winters many of us endure; however, they also make it difficult to put 100% into work.

Summer distractions are sometimes compounded by having a slower workflow or by having more unsupervised time as coworkers and bosses take time off. A few weeks ago, I wrote about finding adequate time for reflection when you don’t have the benefit of an academic calendar, but what about simply getting the job done? Below are a few suggestions, please add some of your own in the comments!

  1. Write out some summer work goals: this is particularly important if many of your usual tasks disappear or become less arduous over the summer. Think of some projects that you frequently wish you could do during the rest of the year but that tend to fall by the wayside and make a list.
  2. Sometimes you need to make your own structure: if your life is less routined over the summer, it becomes very important to create your own structure. Routines help things to get done and help your time at work to pass more quickly.
  3. Work hard so you can play hard: once you have your summer goals and have allotted the time to do them, make it happen!
  4. Schedule in some summer fun: focusing on work becomes easier if you know you will be rewarded. Even if you can’t get away, plan weekend trips to the beach or take advantage of the longer summer days by taking a long bike ride after work.
  5. Use, but don’t abuse your vacation time: if you are lucky enough to be allowed some time off over the summer, take it! Neglecting your time off is a good way to develop resentment toward your job and burn out in the long run. At the same time, if you are allowed to take two weeks off, don’t try to stretch it to three or more, even if your boss is away; these things are noticed.


  1. No blinding revelations but a couple of comments from years of experience. It’s very helpful to know in advance when key support staff will be on vacation. It’s also helpful to monitor unused vacation days so the whole office isn’t suddenly trying to use up days that will be lost at the end of June. In many cases, that’s the end of the fiscal year, so you need all the help you can get just when everyone is gone.

  2. Great point. keeping an operation going is a team effort. While vacations can certainly be devoted to self-indulgence, setting things up in a considerate way requires a coordinated effort.

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