Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are upon us, and with them, a general malaise that causes us to put off until tomorrow what should be done today. I don’t know about you, but my motivation and productivity drop during the summer. Sitting by the pool reading a book or floating with an eye on the sky has a lot more appeal than tackling projects I’ve been putting off since the beginning of the year. So how do you push yourself to remain focused and maintain forward motion during a slump?
Examine Underlying Reasons – Many things factor into a lull. You may be exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. Of perhaps you are weary in all these areas. Over-commitment is often a culprit, leaving you little time for anything other than the urgent. And sometimes, the grief you’ve skillfully relegated to back corners of your mind and heart bobs to the surface and demands attention. Worry and fear are hand-holding twins that dance on the periphery of your thoughts. Take some time to examine what is below the surface of your personal slump. Acknowledge the reasons and give them attention.
Maintain a Schedule – Summer often means an altered schedule, but if you can stick to a routine, you’ll get more done. Try getting up a little earlier so you can go for a walk or sit outside and watch nature awaken before the heat closes in. Tackle projects that require more brain power in the morning and save easier tasks for later in the day. Maintain a regular bedtime, maybe even an earlier bedtime, to accommodate rising earlier and provide greater rest. If you are experiencing a slump, a regular routine is often forfeited, but you may discover making the effort to stay on schedule helps you be more productive and elevates your mood.
Realize a slump is only for a season – A slowdown isn’t necessarily related to summer. For you personally, it may be associated with a memory of a loved one, an anniversary of a death, or difficult season in your life you feel powerless to control. But the important thing to remember is a slump will not last forever, and just as the seasons change, your energy and productivity will return.
Rest and refresh – Your body and soul may need to rest and refresh. Allow that to happen by disconnecting from technology devices. Skip the news (which is guaranteed to depress) for a few days. Read or engage in a creative pursuit. Take a class—painting, jewelry-making, gardening—to name a few. Set an exercise goal or creative deadline and work toward it. Renew spiritually with scripture reading and quiet contemplation. Enjoy time with family and friends. Start a gratitude journal. As you rest, watch for and expect to be refreshed. The slump is temporary. Refreshment is in process and renewal is just a few steps away.
“Those who feel tired and worn out will find new life and energy.” Jeremiah 31:25 CEV