Updated on June 23, 2017.

The summer months bring much needed sunshine, longer days, and better moods all around. But sometimes as the temperature in the office rises, energy levels can dip.

Once the sun starts streaming in through the windows in front of my desk, it can be easy to start imagining picturesque beaches, a cold drink, and a good book.

Over time I’ve learned tricks for staying focused though, and now snapping back from that mental vacation is much easier.

So when the warmer weather begins and your mind starts wandering far, far away from the office, use these tips to stay productive at work all summer long.

1. Plan for Sunshine Breaks

If your office has a lot of windows like ours, you know that nice weather is enough to distract even the most determined worker. Still though, you don’t want the first time you enjoy the summer weather to be when you’re leaving at the end of the day.

Here’s the good news: Exposure to sunshine is a natural way to be more productive at work (benefits include improved moods, increased alertness, and more). The key is finding strategic ways to fit sunshine into your schedule to help you stay productive throughout the day. So try eating your lunch outside, going for a lap around the parking lot, or even taking your next meeting for a walk.

2. Get the Hard Stuff Out of the Way

We all have that one task (or tasks— we’re not here to judge) that we keep putting off. But pushing it out of your mind is only a short-term fix, and it may lead to unexpected issues and delays in the long run.

Try this instead: Set aside some time in the AM strictly for getting whatever “it” is done. Or if it’s a large task, set aside an hour each morning for a few days to finish it. Using a timer or tool to eliminate distractions will help you stay focused, and accomplishing something so significant in the morning will set the tone for a productive rest of the day. 

3. Get Enough Sleep

Did you know that 1 in 3 American adults isn’t getting enough sleep? And once the longer days of summer start, and your favorite outdoor happy hour beckons, getting the recommended 7 hours of rest per night can prove even more difficult.

But getting enough shut-eye is as important for staying healthy as it is for boosting your productivity. Consider this: Sleep deprivation has been tied to higher stress and increased errors in the workplace. So whether you get to bed earlier or #treatyoself to the snooze button a few times, getting that extra sleep could be the difference between a rough day and a productive day.

4. Make a To-Do List

That busy day you’re facing will probably look a lot more manageable once it’s mapped out in a list. Now, instead of trying to remember all the different things you need to do, you can focus on actually accomplishing those things.

As a huge fan of to-do lists (and a huge fan of writing things down just for the satisfaction of crossing them off immediately). Check out HubSpot’s collection of to-do list tools to see which one can help you stay productive at work all summer long.

5. Use That Vacation (or Staycation) Day

Vacation days exist for a reason. They give us a chance to step back, take a breath, and unwind. Whether traveling somewhere distant or just relaxing at home, time away from the office can help us recharge and be more productive once we eventually get back to work.

Yet 41% of American workers don’t use all of their allotted vacation days in a given year. So instead of staying holed up in the office all summer, take advantage of the beautiful weather by getting ahead on your work, making sure your supervisors and peers have what they need, and then letting yourself reap the benefits of those three beautiful letters: PTO.

How do you stay productive at work during the summer? Let us know at @QuattroPhilly.