With the cooler temperatures starting to creep their way in and replacing the warm, bright hours of the day with darker skies, our shifts in mood start to take that all-too-familiar effect. We know that the weather can have a significant impact on our mental health; however, how much have you considered how the change in seasons affects your workplace performance?
It can be bittersweet saying goodbye to summer memories of enjoying the evening sunshine outside in the garden or holidays away spent basking in the heat of the season. However, fall brings with it a fresh chance to banish those summer distractions and focus your attention on tackling your work goals head-on before the end of the year draws into sight.
A study by the Havard Business School found that we become more productive during the fall months. With the distracting temptations of staring longingly out of the office window into the sunshine now behind us, the darker weather actually makes us more focused on our work. You might be surprised to learn that we’re more productive during these months, especially when the darker weather can make your energy levels deplete, easily causing you to flag and feel more tired and demotivated than usual.
However, with the summer weather comes summer activities. During those warm, sunny evenings, we’re more likely to have plans to enjoy the good weather, meaning our attention is drawn elsewhere – even when we’re in the office. No longer tempted by the lure of summer fun outside of work, our mental distractions are limited, meaning we can become more efficient in our work tasks.
What you can do: With your productivity at its peak, making the most of the hours you feel most energized will make all the difference in your productivity. Consider when you feel most alert – is it during the brighter morning hours, or do you thrive during the darker evenings? Understanding which hours in your day you feel most alert and focused will significantly help when prioritizing your most important tasks throughout the day.
The change in seasons has its largest effect on those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Due to our decreasing exposure to natural sunlight and Vitamin D during the autumn months, people affected by SAD are more likely to feel less energetic and more prone to tiredness than others during the fall and winter periods. Whilst this may affect some people more than others, the weather tends to have a greater effect on our negative moods rather than our positive ones. So even if you’re a naturally positive person, you may still feel the symptoms of SAD as the autumn months take their hold.
From this perspective, it can be easy for people to actually feel less productive during the fall. Not only can the change in weather have a negative impact on our energy levels, but it can also have damaging effects on our physical health. With sick days being most common this time of year, and bad weather amounting to more traffic and poorer travel conditions, it’s likely that the number of colleagues in your office will begin to dwindle as the cold weather snaps start to hit. This can mean that you end up picking up tasks from missing colleagues, adding to your own workload – this combined with the limited hours of sunshine can make you feel like there isn’t enough time to productively get everything done that you need to.
What you can do: Being aware of how you are personally affected by the change in seasons is critical in your ability to address and tackle the effects early on. Make a plan at the start of each day for when you will work on certain tasks, making your most pressing jobs your first challenge, so you can make the most of the daytime sunshine. Light therapy lamps can also be a great way for those affected by SAD to boost themselves out of an energy slump. These lamps mimic natural outdoor light, so even on the gloomiest of days, your energy levels can thrive throughout the day.
As much as some of us may not like to think about it, this time of year begins the start of the Christmas countdown. As the latter months of the year begin to approach us, so does the pressure of mounting deadlines ahead of the holiday season. Putting aside the gloomy weather and chilling temperatures, the fall season is the perfect opportunity to stay motivated to fulfil your goals before what is usually an extended Christmas break for most.
What you can do: With many work projects wrapping up in time for the festive break, making sure you plan your workload efficiently at the start of the season will ultimately save you headaches further down the line. The start of the fall season is your chance to refresh your work projects and work out what you want to achieve before the end of the year. Setting yourself a realistic plan for completing your work projects, that factors in your most productive hours as well as the times when your energy naturally tends to dips, will do wonders for your motivation and productivity – so you can stay on track to achieve your goals.
The fall season doesn’t have to mean a fall in your productivity. Ayoa is designed to help you stay motivated to achieve – from brainstorming ideas, creating tasks, setting due dates and so much more, Ayoa is here to make this fall season your most successful yet. Discover more here or sign up for free today.