It's summer. The weather is nice. The sun is warm and inviting. You get to sleep in (hopefully) or maybe wake up extra early just to get a cup of coffee before the troops wake up.
Whatever it is that gets you up in the morning, and excited for the day, go do it!
Now, as beautiful as it is, summer can be one of the hardest times to get motivated. I admit, I used to spend my summers sleeping in, enjoying not having a schedule, and by August, wondering where my summer went and struggling to get my whole classroom in order.
It can be hard to stay focused on work when your friends or family are calling you to the beach or a cookout.
So what can you do? How can you get your need to relax and spend time with the family and get your work done? How can you stay focused?
My top tips for keeping your stress low and your productivity high!
Want a quick pick-me-up? There are so many amazing benefits to exercise! Go for a run, a jog, a walk, I don't care, just get out there! Get your heart rate up and get moving! Exercise has been proven to reduce stress, increase endorphins, and boosts your energy overall. Exercising is a great way to combat depression and anxiety and its boosts your mood. So, get out there and try it!
2. Keep a Routine
Okay, for all you teachers out there that are parents, you probably know this all too well. Your kids are out of school so they start going to bed a bit later. And later. And later. Each night creeps 10-15 minutes later and before you know it, their entire night and morning schedules are off. They are up way too late, sleep in way too long and are generally grumpy. You are left with tired, grouchy children and your left wondering what happened to those angels that their teachers said they were.
So what's going on here?
It's all about the schedule, baby! We all function better off of a schedule. Keeping to a routine allows us to keep our good habits (going to bed and waking up on time), and decrease our bad habits. Schedules help alleviate stress by reducing the mental and emotional strain of decision making that our daily life brings.
Have your day planned, but flexible. Try to get your buns outta bed at a normal hour and hold yourself to it. Make yourself accountable and set a goal for the day. It doesn't have to be a challenge, just something attainable that needs to get done that day. You will feel better, more accomplished, and your future self will thank you... ; )
3. Set Clear Goals!
Inline with #2. Set CLEAR goals! Set a few clear goals everyday for yourself. They do not always have to be work related, but they can be. I find that if I set a few goals at night for myself to accomplish the next day, I release myself from worrying about all that I need to get done. Writing it all down helps me let go of the anxiety and allows me to truly relax at night. Try buying a small notepad to write a short set of goals for the next day.
Don't call your goals a TO DO LIST!
Make your goals something that you need to get done to make you a better you! Maybe you want to tackle a new yoga move or research new behavior management strategies (Psst! You can get my email course, and start working on changing behavior now!)
4. Say NO!
Okay, I know this is HARD! No one wants to say no. No one wants to let anyone down. There seems to be something inherently guilty about saying no to someone. But give it a shot! Top productivity experts agree that saying no will help you in other parts of your life. Say no to commitments that you know will spread you too thin.
Don't over commit yourself!
It's impossible to be your best self when you are exhausted from all the other commitments you have agreed to.
Stick with commitments that you believe you have the time and energy to put forth the proper effort for. Friends, family, and colleagues will understand and appreciate your honest much more than a false promise.
So give it a shot! Practice in the mirror if you have to. Say no and mean it. Don't worry, no one's looking...
And believe me, your future self will love you more for it! ; )
5. Take a Break to Spend Some Time With the Ones You Love!
One of the greatest motivators out there are the people we love. Taking a break from work and spending some time with the ones we love is a perfect way to reset ourselves and show those around us that we love them. Don't feel guilty if you need time away from work.
It's all about balance!
It's important to have that quality time with those that we love in order to regain the stamina we need to work.
6. Hang Out With Positive People
Life coaches, psychologists, and behaviorists agree, if you want to be happier, more motivated, and increase your productivity, hang out with positive people. The more positive vibes you have in your life the more you will exude in other aspects of your life. The difference between positive people and the rest of the world is that they do not have a good day, they make a good day. They make a choice to have a great attitude about life. They choose to see the world in rose colored glasses and accept it for what it is. And it works! Try finding something to be grateful for everyday, and you are bound to turn your mindset around.
7. Finish a Small Task
I'll admit it. I'm not a fan of exercise. I know, I know, you are thinking, "Wait, you just told me exercise is vital to staying motivated!" And yes, I did. It is important to all life's functions, but I still do not enjoy it. But I still have a gym membership. I still go. So how do I get motivated to complete a workout? I get my buns in the door! I know that if I tell myself that can go home after just 5 minutes of working out, I'm likely to stay for an hour doing my entire workout. Why? Because the small task was GETTING there. I could have made every excuse in the book to not want to go. I have a headache, my foot hurts, I went yesterday... But the point is, once I got there, got over my initial hump, I stayed and got A LOT more work done.
So give it a go!
If the thought of redesigning your entire classroom sounds overwhelming that's because it is! If the thought of simply rearranging your desk sounds manageable, then go for it! Chances are once you start, you will continue rearranging and designing. The point here is to Start AND Finish a small task. The result will not only be a something accomplished, but an exhilarating high for getting it DONE! Hooray to you!
8. Help a Fellow Colleague
No doubt, you are not the only one having a hard time with motivation. I'm sure you have a fellow colleague or two that are in the same boat. So, why not take advantage of these glorious summer days and work together on a project! Help each other take on tasks that you may not otherwise do on your own. Teach each other something new. Take the time to get excited about your work again!
9. Check Out Workshops and Professional Development
Let's face it, the school year is hectic! It's busy enough with classes, students, IEPs, meetings, etc, that finding time to fit in professional development can be tough. Keep your momentum in the right direction by signing up for growth opportunities. Find some professional development workshops that fit into your schedule and your ideals and sign up! Get involved with opportunities that will help you in the fall. Yet again, your future self will love you for it!
10. Spend Time Outside
Why, Hello Summer! Spending time outside has been proven to increase Vitamin D levels, increase restful sleep patterns, and decrease health conditions such as asthma, computer vision syndrome, and nearsightedness. So get outdoors and get some fresh air! Better yet, find someone you love, get outside, and go for a run!
Now Go Get Motivated!