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Beating Summer Brain: Four Ways to Reclaim a Productive Mindset

August 31, 2023
Photo Credit: USAID Egypt on Flickr

Whether it means a return to education or a return to the workplace, the coming of September usually heralds the end of summer vacations in Egypt. Unfortunately, it can be overwhelming to transition from the mindset of vacationing to one that facilitates productivity.

With recent memories of sunny skies and less responsibilities, how can anyone be expected to flip the switch and suddenly have their work ethic back?

Of course, some might prefer to leap straight into the fire to whip themselves back into shape, but others may prefer a more mild approach. To those who do, here are four tips to help reclaim a productive mindset for work or school.

Start Small

Not everything has to begin at a breakneck pace as soon as the holidays are over. In fact, it may be more productive to begin with smaller tasks and work up to bigger ones to aid in the process of mentally readjusting.

THC, a consultancy company that advises professionals on healthy working habits and positive change, recommends such an approach. It emphasizes that starting small can encompass any number of actions, such as simply writing down what needs to be done or approaching tasks one at a time.

This is an especially beneficial strategy to use when returning to the habits of work and school seems overwhelming and stressful.

If the impending workload is particularly intimidating, one would do well to remember that big tasks are only the sum of their parts — and breaking those down is a good way of starting small, too.

Preparation is Key

People often underestimate the reassurance that comes from creating plans ahead of time. While there are those who enjoy spontaneity and operate on random bursts of energy, others feel more secure with a plan in place.

When trying to rebuild work ethic and productivity in light of a vacation, thoughtful preparation can go a long way. Depending on how one approaches it, such preparation can reduce stress, facilitate achieving goals, and more.

Of course, preparations need not be an ordeal in and of themselves. For those who may feel restricted or trapped by planning ahead, even simple preparations help limit uncertainty and improve focus.

For example, students can prepare for the semester by reviewing their syllabi to know what lies ahead. In the workplace, employees can do something as small as organizing their calendar to prepare themselves for the tasks at hand.

Realistic Optimism

While toxic positivity is rightly warned against, a bit of realistic optimism can do a lot in terms of improving mental and physical health, as well as productivity.

Sometimes, positive thinking is just what is needed to facilitate a smooth return to work or school, and the best part about it is how many different ways it can be approached.

For both students and employees, merely thinking that the months ahead will bring good things or that the struggles one might face will only serve to make them stronger can leverage the power of optimism — and that power is not to be underestimated.

According to a study about its effects in people across 61 countries, optimism is associated with improved perceptions of physical health, well-being, and psychological functioning.

Create a Routine

Whether it is to improve a sleep schedule, build good habits, or beat burnout, creating a routine has several benefits; and among them is improving cognitive function. This makes developing a routine a solid option to prepare for a return to campus or office life.

As with the previous tips, creating a routine does not need to be complicated or burdensome; the purpose of it is to help ease back into a working mindset.

With that in mind, routines can range from anything from growing used to a busier schedule to simply setting standard times to begin or end one’s day.

As long as some degree of order is achieved through the routine, it will kickstart productivity and make the transition back into a productive mindset less jarring.

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