How to Stay Professionally Motivated in the Dog Days of Summer

August is hard and we get it. No matter how old you get, or how established in your career you may be, there's something about August that always feels like it should be summer vacation. As tempting as it may be to just phone it in this month, doing that can obviously lead to productivity hiccups.

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August doesn't need to be the best professional month of your year, but you don't want it to be a wash either. And doesn't it sound nice to enter the back-to-school vibe of September feeling like you're on top of your stuff?

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Here are a few ways to keep your work motivation up, even when all you want to do is to re-live the days when summer meant no responsibilities, no plans, and no worries about what came next.

Start and end your days earlier.

The sun rises earlier and sets later, so take advantage of it! If your schedule is flexible, then move things around a bit. It's easier to wake up earlier in the summertime (thanks warm weather and sunshine) and thus totally possible to start working earlier and finish working earlier. You should take advantage of those summer evening while you can.

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Take 'walking' meetings.

Even if you need to be working, there is no reason that you need to be nailed to your desk chair. If you have a conference call, dial in on your phone and take it while you walk. If you have an in-person meeting, suggest doing the meeting while you walk through a park. Get outside whenever and however you can.

Make a daily to-do list.

The days can drag on if they're not structured, and if many people in your office are out on vacation, the quietness can further hinder potential productivity. Write yourself a mini to-do list every morning, and fill it with the things that need to get done that very day. Stay focused, stay centered, and get your to-dos done.

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Dress the part.

It's likely seductive to get ultra-casual now that it's summer, but don't. How you dress effects how you feel, and if you're dressed for the beach you'll wish you were at the beach. If you're dressed for a super-productive office day, gear up for one.

Set an August goal.

You might find yourself with a little extra free-time this month, so set some goals for yourself. Is there a hobby you want to take up? A class you want to take? A book you want to read? Stay productive, but diversify your activities. And enjoy your free time by doing something that makes you feel proud of yourself.

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