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Working in the Heat. How to Stay Productive in Hot Weather

Heat + no school + vacations = a loss of our regular routines. The rhythm of life changes to a slower, irregular pace during the summer. When those things happen, we lose the time boundaries that help us keep up our routines during the rest of the year. But at the same time, we have expectations that summer will give us the “free time” to do those household projects we never have time to do during the other 3 seasons. Suddenly it’s Labor Day, and we realize that another summer has come and gone – and we have little to show for it.

Here are 3 things you can do during the summer of 2012 that will help you maintain your routines – and get a project or two finished:

1. Define and schedule the critical tasks

Some tasks simply won’t wait for a drop in the outside temperature. The garbage and recycling surely will pile up if you don’t take them out to the curb on the appropriate day. You’ll run out of clothes if you don’t wash them regularly. And if you think it’s hot now, just wait until you have no air conditioning because you let your mail pile up and didn’t pay the electric bill.

Make a list of the “must do” tasks that have to continue regardless of the season. Look at your list again. Is every task truly critical? If not, take it off the list. Next, assign the truly critical tasks to specific days on your calendar. Write them down. Then do each task on its assigned day and get it over with!

2. List and prioritize projects

A project is a group of tasks that, when completed, will result in a finished product. For example, organizing your garage is a project. There are a number of tasks that must be completed before you will have an organized garage: sorting, eliminating unwanted items, cleaning, putting things away, etc.

Divide a sheet of paper into columns, or use an electronic spreadsheet. Label each column with the name of a project (such as Organize Garage). Under each project name, list the tasks you will need to do to complete that project. Next, evaluate the importance of each project. What will be the benefits of completing it? What will be the consequences of not completing it? Assign each project a number, with number 1 being the project of highest priority. Finally, schedule “project time” in your calendar, and work on the tasks for your #1 project first. To make the most of your time spent on organizing projects, consider hiring a professional to help you complete the project more quickly.

3. Make time for fun!

Don’t let summer pass you by for lack of planning to have fun! Check the internet or your local library for ideas for day trips. Which friends or family members do you want to visit? Make a list and keep the list with your calendar. Schedule time (yes, schedule it in your calendar!) for the activities you enjoy and the people who are most important to you.