Keeping your head cool as temperatures soar
When hot weather hits, it can be tough to stay cool. And that can affect your work. This week: some pointers for keeping a cool head—even amid record highs.
Own up when you’re irritable and be forgiving when others are. Keep in mind that folks likely aren’t sleeping as well as usual and may have a shorter fuse when it’s hot. If you notice that in yourself, voice it. That de-escalates things on the spot. And be gentle with others; everyone’s in the same fix. At times like these, it helps to remember where those intense reactions are coming from.
Start your day with a brain dump to de-stress and streamline your plans. My biggest stressor is having lots on my mind. Take time at the start of the day, when you’re fresh, to dump your brain into a simple list, and use the one thing method: What’s the one thing you want to focus on most today? Make time for a thorough Friday recap to catch any loose ends.
Try out a schedule fit for the tropics: start super-early and knock off early for the day. That can make a big difference in the heat you have to cope with while on duty. Bonus: it can get you into a relax-in-the-shade-with-a-cold-drink mode by the time the really high temps hit.
If it cools off in the evening where you are, you could experiment instead with a siesta-style schedule: take an extended afternoon break, then work a few hours in the evening once it’s cooler.
Save heated topics for cooler times. It’s always a good idea to match your work to your energy levels, but this summer, wherever possible, deal with any emotional topics (where tempers can run high) at a time when heads are coolest. Don’t tackle them at the end of a hot afternoon.
Use newfound freedoms about where we work to your advantage. Of course this depends on your situation, but perhaps you can work at home in the morning and then head to an airconditioned office after lunch, when your place gets stifling. Or vice versa. Or give that deck chair under a shade tree a go. Try things out and share what works. Your colleagues will thank you.
Have a good week,