Spring is less than a month away. Soon, the sun will be staying up much longer -- no more commuting home in the dark -- you're able to go outside without shuddering, and all of the sudden you seem to lose your ability to focus. Everything but the task at hand is catching your interest and tempting you to get off track. (Now... what was I writing?)
In an O magazine article, Matthew Keller, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, shares this insight: "Sunny days and warm weather seem to boost mood and have a broadening affect on cognition, basically opening the mind to new ideas."
How can you make the most of the mood and creativity boost often known as "spring fever" without experiencing a plummet in your ability to get things done? Here are three practical strategies:
1. Plan activities where you can enjoy the spring! Set aside a time each week when you plan where and when you will go out. Not only does planning in advance give you a higher probability of being social and meeting new people, but also it gives you the opportunity to be more creative. Try these ideas for working off spring fever:
- Go to a nature trail for a brisk walk and laughter.
- Seek out restaurants that have window-side seating or skylights.
- Volunteer on an outdoor project like a Habitat for Humanity building.
- Attend an outdoor arts or cultural festival.
2. Take every opportunity to enjoy the weather. Throughout the day, you can give yourself a boost of energy and make working easier by taking advantage of little opportunities to savor the spring weather. Consider these options:
- Transition to a conference room, sit in a lobby, or venture out to a coffee shop where you can sit by a window for some sunshine and a good view.
- Instead of driving or taking public transportation between meetings or events, try to walk or bicycle.
- When you have a personal call, go outside and sit on a bench or even in your car to enjoy more warmth and sun.
- Keep some fresh flowers on your desk or listen to some cheery music.
3. Give your mind clear directions on how to focus. According to the Los Angeles Times article "Why the spring makes us feverish," our serotonin levels rise in the spring, which may lead to the extra giddiness, energy boost and enthusiasm. To help counteract that extra level of distractibility, it's essential to give our minds clear action plans.
These strategies can help you to focus when your mind wants to wander:
- Clarify the day's parameters, e.g., any meetings and when you will start and stop certain activities for the day.
- Decide on the must-do activities for the day and put them in order of importance.
- Estimate how long you think you should spend on each one.
- Identify a few additional activities that you would like to do if you finish the must-do items.
- Start with the first activity and really focus on completing it within the estimated time.
- Repeat with each additional activity
To making the most of spring!
For more by Elizabeth Grace Saunders, click here.
For more on emotional wellness, click here.
Elizabeth Grace Saunders is the founder and CEO of Real Life E®, a time coaching and training company that empowers individuals who feel guilty, overwhelmed and frustrated to feel peaceful, confident and accomplished through an exclusive Schedule Makeover™ process. She is an expert on achieving more success with less stress. Real Life E® also increases employee productivity, satisfaction and work/life balance through custom training programs.
McGraw Hill just published her first book, The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment: How to Achieve More Success With Less Stress, to help you make and keep your time management resolutions in 2013.
Elizabeth has appeared in Inc magazine, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes and on NBC and is a monthly contributor to 99U.com blog on productivity for creative professionals. She was selected as one of the Top 25 Amazing Women of 2010 by Stiletto Woman.