As you’re reading this, Jake, my partner, and I are on our first real vacation in five years. It’s not a fancy vacation but I couldn’t be more excited about it. And it’s got me thinking a lot about vacation, rest, summer, and productivity. In a recent conversation, someone mentioned that during the summer, engagement in their programs goes down and attendance is low. So, are summers productive? I did some research to find the answer to this question.

Are summers productive? Yes! Photo of Holland Lake, Montana, on a clear summer day.
Lake Holland, Montana

Here’s what I learned about summer productivity:

A quick Google search results in articles and blogs like “7 reasons you’re less productive in the summer,” “Why we’re less productive in the summer,” and “Turn your summer slump into the most productive time of year.” 

The ‘summer slump’ appears to be accurate, and why will depend on who you ask. I appreciate the conversations around weather and productivity. There is even a study from 2015 that concluded higher temperatures decrease productivity.

“We show that overall economic productivity is non-linear in temperature for all countries, with productivity peaking at an annual average temperature of 13 °C [55.5 °F] and declining strongly at higher temperatures. The relationship is globally generalizable, unchanged since 1960, and apparent for agricultural and non-agricultural activity in both rich and poor countries. These results provide the first evidence that economic activity in all regions is coupled to the global climate and establish a new empirical foundation for modelling economic loss in response to climate change with important implications.”

Burke, Hsiang & Miguel: Global non-linear effect of temperature on economic production, 2015

One more reason to tackle climate change, no?

Without digressing, what I find is that our productivity is tied to our environment. It makes sense to me that during the summer months, our environment changes so much that our productivity goes down. 

But, is that a bad thing?

In exploring and practicing an anti-hustle mindset, I say let’s redefine what it means to be productive during the summer (and beyond).

Here’s how summers are productive

Rest is productive. 

Our bodies, including our minds, are not machines. When we take it a little bit easier, take the summer vacation, or cut out early from work occasionally, we’re being kind to ourselves, physically and mentally. That kindness is rewarded because when we are rested, we are more productive

And rest doesn’t always mean being still. There are lots of forms of rest. When was the last time you went for a casual walk by yourself and let your mind wander? And wonder? 

“Walking may not be as beneficial for focused, analytical thinking; but there’s good reason to believe that it stimulates creativity and may aid you in solving problems encountered on the job, particularly if you walk when problems are still fresh in your mind.”

Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, How Resting More Can Boost Your Productivity

In so many ways, I define rest as anything that is not in front of a screen. That being said, I love binge-watching TV shows and that can be restful too. 😊

Reconnecting to your purpose, or discovering it’s changed, is productive.

Maybe this is more of a ‘spring’ thing than a summer thing, but I’m going to say it’s summer. Or maybe, because Montana springs are weird, I perceive this as a summer thing. Either way, when things are warming up and when the trees leaf and flowers bloom, I feel reinvigorated. There is hope in the renewal. 

That hope and renewal help me reconnect to what I’m doing. Helps me reconnect to my purpose. I think that’s why recently it’s been easier for me to write and share and find a better definition of Cascadin

Sometimes, though, that renewal tells us our purpose has shifted. Maybe this is one explanation for why a record 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in March. Whatever the reason, it’s okay to recognize your current job isn’t working for you anymore. That’s healthy. That’s productive. 

Reflection on your goals is productive. 

When you have the chance to step away from the grind, whether it’s through a vacation or by taking Fridays off in the summer, or through other ways that you can, you have a chance to pause. In that pause, you can take a deep breath and reflect.

In that reflection, you can access your goals more clearly. Are you effectively working towards them? What do you need to achieve them? Are the steps you’re taking to achieve them reasonable and manageable? Do you need to be more intentional with your goals and the work you’re doing to achieve them? 

Those are very productive questions that you may not always make time for in the daily grind of our productivity-obsessed society. Just saying.

So, how does Cascadin fit into this? 

It’s the anti-hustle productivity tool.

Here’s why:

  • Cascadin is simple.
    • It’s not going to take you days (or worse, weeks) to learn how to use it. We’re not interested in taking up more of your time – we want to help you get your time back.
  • Cascadin is designed for intentional use. 
    • It doesn’t scream at you all the time, seeking attention or demanding more of your time. 
  • Cascadin makes tasks more manageable.
    • You can break down those big tasks and projects into easier-to-manage smaller steps. The power of small steps is helpful when fighting burnout or feeling overwhelmed.
  • Cascadin keeps everyone in the know.
    • If you’re part of a team, Cascadin helps your communication, even when you’re not all on the same schedule. You keep everyone on the same page and make it easy for team members to catch up when you use Cascadin together. 
  • Cascadin is your institutional memory.
    • You can review and reflect on the work you’ve done, what’s coming, and better determine how you’ll move forward.

These are some of the reasons why I’m grateful to have Cascadin. And why I know that while we’re away from our vacation, I’ll be able to pick up right where I left off. I don’t need to worry about forgetting something or losing track of it. I can take a breath, enjoy the outdoors, and come back refreshed. And not feel guilty about what comes next.

Because summers are productive. Period.

Your summers are productive. Your time matters. You and I only have so much of it. We’re human, after all. Be kind to yourself this summer (and beyond). Take that vacation. Rest. Know that you’re being productive even when you’re sleeping, or wandering aimlessly, or going for a bike ride, or just about anything that you do already. 

Let’s all agree to remember that, okay?

Alyson Roberts

Co-Founder & CEO

Known for organizing the dirty dishes before cleaning them, Alyson is learning how to do less, better and helping others do the same. She loves exploring beautiful lands near and far, trying new recipes, aspiring to be the next Star Baker, growing her garden, and avoiding board games at all cost.

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