Why You Should Embrace ‘Summer Brain’


Whether you have kids or know summer around the corner-- it is fast approaching anyway. It’s the time of year when people you do business with transform into beings you don’t recognize -- especially those with school-aged children. Generally speaking, during summer months, people will be slightly off-kilter, less focused cramming in vacations or long weekend breaks for much of the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Outside the US, it is very common for business to shut down in August and be very slow in June and July, so spreading out “summeritis” over three months is an improvement from the rest of the world, comparatively speaking. Instead of digging in your heels and getting frustrated the next few months, here are two ways you can do improve your relationship with summertime.

Embrace Summer Brain

The weather is finally cooperating. It's just human nature, but it is super-hard to stay focused on work when summertime hits. Embrace it. Don’t fight it. For Chicagoans, this is a long-awaited respite from our crazy weather and you deserve to let your mind wander. It’s good for you as well. Embracing summer brain rather than resisting it makes the length and duration of your distraction times go down. Allow yourself the space to “drift out” every now and again this summer. You won’t be sorry. Fall, with all its drive to “finish the year strong” will be here before you know it. You’ll snap back into normal work pace then.

Participate in Summertime Swap

Be ready for opportunities to capitalize on the needs for flexibility from your co-workers. Offer to cover that afternoon baseball hooky session in exchange for an early morning conference call coverage. Be open to lending a hand and you will see that generosity reciprocated when you need it. Don’t be shy to ask and initiate a summertime swap of work or meeting coverage. In addition to getting your needs for office absences met, you will also get to see another perspective on your workplace when covering for someone especially if your work on different teams or have different responsibilities all together. Summer swapping is especially appreciated by cohorts with school-aged children. If you’re not a big summer months fan, this swap could benefit you later in the year when you do want time off; just be sure to document any deals.

Summer comes but once a year and does not stay very long. Before you know it, we’ll be back in our non-summer routines without much distraction to break up our work pace. Enjoy the season. Take your foot off the gas. Oh, and put on sunscreen as you frolic in the sun.

Denise W. Barreto is the managing partner at Relationships Matter Now, LLC, a strategic business and marketing firm outside Chicago that connects relationships to maximize life and business. www.relationshipsmatternow.com

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