Three Summer Productivity Secrets

Or, to give this post a longer title…

Three Summer Productivity Secrets… And How To Keep The Productivity Boost All Year Round

If, like me, you're in the Northern Hemisphere, you're probably enjoying summer right now (if not, I hope you can still find something useful in this post).

I've noticed that I'm always much more productivity in the summer, so long as I can bear the heat (little air conditioning here in the UK). It all boils down to three reasons, which I'm going to share with you in this blog post.

(1) A Break From The Work RoutineSummer Light

It's quite simple. I work full time with a busy job and often take things home with me to keep my evenings busy. That's just a fact of being employed in a career I enjoy, as far as I'm concerned. So, any marketing I do has to fit around everything else, which can be unpredictable.

In summer everything slows down. This is a factor just of how things are structured, as well as the chance to take vacation time, some of which I can spend on marketing. So, that just makes everything more productive.

(2) The Sun

Getting woken up by the sun peering its way through the curtains is great. It gives an immediate incentive to get out of bed and to start working on something. The longer days bring out the best in my productivity.

(3) Lack of First Run TV

I find it very easy to be sucked into following the next great TV series each year. After all, these series work to keep you hooked – something that most marketers would love to be able to do. It's very hard to leave a series mid way through without findout out what's going to happen next (unless it turns out to be a really bad series).

With little new TV appearing in the summer, that's a major distraction moved, simply leaving more time to work on whatever projects I have going.

The Solutions

To try and channel these productivity secrets into all year round marketing.

Work is always going to be unpredictable, and I've no desire to change careers, but I want to be able to grab more off-time and make more use of the spare minutes when they're available. Just simple things like add a blog post, fill up my autoresponder, or work on a small part of a larger product.

Next, to try and cram in more productive time in the morning, perhaps before going to work – even when the sun isn't up. I find a lot of that is about routine, and I'm sure it's possible (will just to avoid taking 2am webinar classes).

And TV? I can't cut it out entirely, but I can certainly see a benefit to being highly selective. If everything fails, and I realise that there's a show I really should have seen, there are always DVDs.


What Do You Think?

Are you more productive in the summer?

Do you notice any of the same things I do, or do you have a productivity secret you want to share.

Go ahead! Share your thoughts below.

27 replies on “Three Summer Productivity Secrets”

When I had a job I used to spring out of bed each morning eager to do some online work before hitting the rush hour. That was a productive time.
In the evenings I liked to relax with my wife and the TV with the home theater. But now I live in a foreign land I watch very little TV and instead plan to watch just 1 or 2 items per day.
To overcome watching too much TV you could maybe record only a few things to watch rather than watching live TV and also get to skip the Ads?

Thanks Andy, yes I never quite get 'jump out of bed and market' urge, although I also try and miss rush hour, which invariably gets me into work early (or occasionally I miss it by going in after rush hour, luckily there's mostly flexibility for that). Either way, it messes up the attempts to market early.

I guess being in the UK there's also an incentive to work online later, rather than earlier so as to match up with peak US time.

Regarding TV, skipping the adverts is so important. I very rarely watch TV live now for precisely that reason. Another trick I've found is that if you watch your recordings through VLC Media Player, you can speed them up to 1.09x normal speed, without noticing any difference watching. That shaves a few minutes off each show, which all add up.

Hi Thom,
My summers start out with me trying to work my same hours. But after shuttling teens to the pool, football practice, track meets, etc., I quit fighting it and settle down to fewer hours on the computer.

And you know what?  I actually get more done because I know my time is limited.  No more playing Spider Solitaire (as much) or reading IM stuff I don't need to read. It's straight to business when I'm online because I still want to make an income.

In addition, the time away from the computer refreshes my batteries, helps me to not burnout, and gives me a chance to think about my business and the direction I want it to go.


We're actually thinking of getting rid of our cable TV, thinking that it might increase our summer productivity. It's so hot where I live, I think that might have something to do with my motivation problem. ; )

Hey Tom,
I appear to have the opposite experience of what you have wrote about your summer. I force myself to create a daily rountine of waking up at 8am and trying to find a summer job. I force myself to do this as its obvious I wont ever find a job if I don't.
After hopelessly devoting a few morning hours to finding a job online I find myself watching random shows online. 4OD and BBC iPlayer are some of the best inventions for wasting hours upon hours watching series.
Getting woken up by the sun is defintely an incentive to make something of the day. It's just a shame that it never lasts long in England!

I have found that mornings are easily my most productive time of the the day. I don't know if it's the freshness of the morning or because all the drama of the day hasn't started yet.  By late afternoon the toll of the day has taken effect and I'm less likely to be inspired.
T.V. is more of a problem for me in the evening. Thank God, for TiVo or I would be completely unproductive.

In the summer the mornings are my favorite time of the day. I'll admit it I'm just a morning person. This applies to not just work, but exercise and creativity. I feel that the more I can do in morning the less I have to do in the afternoon.
As for TV. I stick to watching almost everything online, it's easier and all the series are shorter because of the lack of commercials. You can watch an hour long show in 40 minutes and not fee like your wasting your day.

Hi Aaron and Andre,
I totally agree, mornings in the summer seem to be the best time to be productive. I'm not quite sure what it is about the summer mornings that makes me actually sit down and do some work, but it seems to happen nethertheless.
Also I couldn't agree more about the comercials. Although not seeing those gocompare ads every hour feels slightly odd.

My secret to being productive in the morning is planning the night before what I want to do the next day by a specific time. For example: I will tell my self I want to have my work done by 10 am so I get up at 6, grab a coffee and get to work and go until 10. This I found has been extremely productive for me as opposed to other days where I get up and not really have a plan.

Hey Katie,
Yeah its not a bad idea to plan the night before, but what happens if you oversleep does your morning become all messed up? Personally I'm a pretty easy going person, so I just force myself to wake up a specific time and see what I can get done in the morning!

lol. If that works for you then keep doing it. 🙂 I have also found that sometimes when I veer to much off course my regular routine I find that I'm wasting more time then if I had stuck with my original plan. 
Also  Coffee (w/one sugar) is my answer to those tough mornings when I'm having a hard time getting going. 

Katie, coffee is one of my all round productivity secrets (not, just summer). For anyone buying – mine is white, no sugar, preferably fresh rather than instant. 🙂
I also find that a list of things that I want to accomplish each day helps a lot. I keep the list short and achievable – that way, if I do get distracted working on other things, I can still complete everything I set out to do. Plus, if it's short, it makes it more possible to complete around everything that work, family and everything that real life throws out.

How can you be productive with out Coffee? 😉
I agree with many of the comments above about productivity, working in the morning etc.
For me being productive is much like everything else in life you have to work at it. It takes time, effort, and determination and for me once I've reached a productive level, I want to see if I can be even more productive. I guess that's the perfectionist in me.

For me my secret weapon besides Coffee or Green Tea is Music. I have found that certain types of music  inspires me and helps motivate me to being more productive. In the morning I have found that Bloc Party and Peter Yorn for some reason really gets me going in the morning I can't say why but it works.

Thom Lancaster,
The Coffee is on it's way. 🙂 A list that is a brilliant idea. I really hadn't thought of it before. I agree with you on distractions they can and do come from everywhere especially when you seem to be working or in this case during your most productive moments.

Right on the money, work is always going to be unpredictable so why stress yourself out right? Summer is my favorite season so I am always a bit more active and preppy (specially after a great cup of coffee in the morning). The week usually breezes by quickly while a weekend full of fun activities runs in my mind. Yay for summers!

Work had been very busy for the past months now, and I'm in a dire need for some R&R. But with how things are getting a lot more hectic day in and day out, the vacay looks a closed to impossible right now.
This post though made me realize that I could still enjoy the summer if I just be a little creative. I think I'll start with a brisk walk to my favorite pastry shop daily.

The Beach Boys always reminds me of summer, specially "wouldn't it be nice." I don't know, maybe of the movie 50 first dates. But everytime I hear it, I feel a sudden burst of energy running all over my body and I'm pumped for a whole day's work. When I think of summer all I can think of is surfing! Now wouldn't it be nice to work underneath the australian sun riding waves right now? Wishful thinking.

I'm more of a nocturnal creature so I tend to be more productive during the wee hours of the night so my "jump out of the bed" scenario usually happens at around 1 am. Then I usually can't start working with my designs for at least a couple of more hours since I'm usually distracted with my Xbox gaming. Hah! I need me some of this summer productivity, i think i need a huge dose.

Hi Chris,
I am a designer as well and have found myself in he same situation at times working till the wee hours of the nite and not feeling the least bit tired. I can't say I would jump out of bed eagerly at 1 am but, I have worked well past the 1 am hour. As for designing I sometimes find that my best designs come when I am about to throw in the towel.

The sun of course helps until it gets too hot, then im seriously unproductive!

But, on a more serious note, I find working in 45 minute blocks with a 15 minute break works well for me. In thos 45 minutes I regularly keep asking myself if what I am doing is going to help me accomplish my main task, just to help me keep focused.
I have a fascination with the number 3 lately and I like to have 3 main things to work on each day. I find that reducing the number of tasks to 3 keeps me priorities and naturally more productive as I have a clear objective.
I've been moving around so much lately that TV is not really in the picture, but rest and relaxation, as you mention is of maximum benefit for me. I even use it as a reward when I work extra hard to complete a new project.

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