For those of us with self-directed jobs and side projects, summer can be a productivity nightmare…but does it have to be?
I recently had a conversation with a writer friend in which I lamented how little “real” work I’ve been getting done post-Independence Day. Sure, I’m meeting deadlines for already established projects, but I’m slacking off when it comes to moving bigger internal projects forward.
Could it really be that *gasp* I don’t want to spend these beautiful summer months staring at Quickbooks?!
The guilt I feel for not being as productive as I normally am is very real. So real, in fact, that I’ve been finding myself overdoing it on iced coffees in an effort to force an eight-hour day to bear fruit, which then makes me stay up all night, which then makes me drink more iced coffee, which then...you get the picture.
My friend, a full time freelance writer, has been having the same experience. Everyone feels a lag during the summer months, but I think that those of us with self-directed jobs (or side projects) feel especially guilty about that drop in productivity. Here we are with a few months to dig deep into our projects and then...that motivation just isn’t there.
The truth is that the summer months are meant to crawl by at a snail’s pace. Everything from people to work to motivation are supposed to be in slow motion. And it’s sad for those of us with self-led projects, but true; we’re just not at our most productive during the summer.
So why not embrace it?
I think the natural instinct is to push back hard against the summer slump--we have entire days ahead of us and we’re just supposed to let them just float by like that?--but a recent article from the W/W Club kind of made me feel better, or at least less guilty about the whole thing. The idea is that you can adopt the pace of summer as your own and let that leisurely energy carry your efforts through until fall. Use the summer months to refuel and set yourself up for when we start to snap out of the lull in September.
The trick to pulling off a seamless summer-to-fall transition without turning into a human potato is to know the difference between “not doing” and “non-doing.”