Staying motivated at work during the summer is one of the hardest things to do as an employee. The upper management is on vacation, the workload has lessened, and all you can think about is getting out into the sun and relaxing. The office is usually the last place you want to be when the weather is nice and the birds are chirping, but the summer and the professional situation that it presents can be taken advantage of as well.

Here are 4 tips that can not only help you stay productive and on task during the summer, but also offer you opportunities to make the most out of this lull in the office and set the stage for greater professional opportunities once September rolls around.

  1.  Learn to be efficient

Since your workload is most likely significantly smaller during the summer, you have the opportunity to focus yourself. The natural response to a lessened workload is to slack off and daydream the days away, but putting some focus into your job during this downtime can really benefit you in the long run. Instead of slacking, work on becoming more productive. Since you aren’t chasing deadlines and you aren’t getting extra work thrown your way during the summer, take this opportunity to make a schedule and stick to it.

Learn how to manage your time and workload during this time when you are not overwhelmed by the tasks that you are being asked to perform. Once you realize that making a schedule and keeping it is possible, you will be able to better implement this discipline that you have gained once the workload intensifies in the fall.

  1.  Work towards the future

Summer is often used as a time to rest on your laurels and look back at what you have done, or simply enjoy the fact that you have made it through another year at work. Instead of doing that, the summer off-time provides you with the opportunity to make plans for the future and put yourself into a better position to move on up in your company. While everyone else is sleepwalking around the office, focus yourself and use this time to make yourself and your work shine and stand out from the crowd.

Use this time to get the creative juices flowing. Start thinking about proposals and plans that you can make that might impress your employers. Take advantage of the more casual office atmosphere to get to know people who you have yet to establish relationships with within your company. The summer is a great time to prepare yourself for new challenges and conjure up ideas for getting ahead professionally.

  1.  Take advantage of the weather

Just because you are working during the summer doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be trying to take advantage of the nice weather as much as possible. The sun can have a very profound effect on human emotions, so you need to make sure that you are soaking it in whenever possible. Pull the blinds back at your window and let the sun shine in to your workspace.

Instead of having your cup of coffee at home in front of the computer, get up a little early and head over to the nearest coffee shop with your laptop. Taking a walk in the morning and drinking your coffee outside will improve your mood and allow you to walk into the office feeling good. Make sure to take your lunch outside as well. Taking a walk and sitting down outside to have lunch allows you to take in some sun in the middle of the day and soak in that vitamin D that will have you feeling rejuvenated when you come back. Don’t be lazy and succumb to the comfort of ordering lunch to be delivered to the office – a stroll outside will do you some good.

  1.  Clean the slate

The worst thing you can do over the summer is put off work until September. If you are taking a vacation in August, you want to make sure you get all of your work done so that you have no leftovers on your plate when you return. This is also an excellent time to do things that you have been putting off for a while. Clean your desk, organise your contacts, get your files in order, and complete all of the projects that you have not had time for over the course of the year.

Starting with a clean slate in September will not only allow you to fully relax during your vacation time and free your mind of the responsibilities that await you when you get back, but it will also give you the satisfaction of feeling that you have come full circle during the course of the work year, and that you are ready to dedicate yourself to the future entirely.

Once you change the concept of what summer means to you professionally, you will be able to not only stay productive during this season, but also take steps towards improving your situation once the company kicks back into full swing.