Warning: Autumn Melancholy, plus Lifehacks to Overcome It
Pumpkin lattes, the changing color of the leaves, caramel apples—there are so many things to love about the fall season! As the weather becomes cooler, you can bring out your favorite sweaters and scarves. If you’re the type of person who hates the sweat and bugs that the summer season brings, then you would be one of the many people who are stoked for the fall.
However, some find the changing seasons less pleasant. Employees struggle to get work done, because the weather is making them feel sluggish. If those who drive or walk to the office become lethargic during this time, how much more lethargic would be those who work remotely from their homes? For one, they are not pressured to change into their office clothes. What’s more, they have their bed within reach. Pajamas plus cool weather is always a perfect combo for the procrastinator!
Unfortunately, as a freelancer, you cannot call your supervisor and get some time off because of a runny nose or drowsiness. As a remote worker, you’re supposed to come from a different breed of modern employees. After all, you’d need rock-solid discipline to be able to focus on your work. Despite that, you must remember that you are not immune to the effects of environmental change. Unless you were bitten by a radioactive spider, or you have a bionic brain and heart, there are several ways autumn will affect your workplace.
How the Fall Season Transforms Your Mind and Body
If you want to learn how to improve your productivity in autumn, you need to understand how the season changes your mind and body. Here are some of the things you can expect in your behavior:
You’ll Either Become More Productive or Less Productive
Who’d want to go swimming in ice-cold water? Would you lounge on your patio to get a tan during fall? If you’re not that eccentric, then you’d probably prefer to stay indoors. Of course, there would be fewer mental distractions, which means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to be more efficient in your work.
Even when gloomy weather prevents you from going out and lets you focus on your job, you should still expect some interruptions. You’re more likely to get sick during the fall season, forcing you to stay in bed longer than you should. If things get worse, you may find yourself taking a break for several days. Keep in mind that the time you lose means a decrease in your productivity. If you’re working in a team, your co-workers will have to pick up the slack, which can cause them a bigger amount of stress than they’re already handling.
Your Bad Mood Will Be Amplified
We all wish there were a magic mist in the autumn breeze that would make us happier and more energetic. Unfortunately, science says that the cold weather amplifies our negative moods more than it brings out our good side. Because of the darkness and the wind, our negative disposition gets heightened. Only beautiful weather will ease that, but such days are numbered in autumn.
Generally, trying to stay positive is one recommendation you get when researching how to cope with anxiety during the fall. However, things are not that simple. The weather changes can also trigger Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a seasonal depression. As the days get shorter, you get lower exposure to the sun and less vitamin D. Consequently, you might experience an extreme shift in mood.
Don’t chalk everything up to the ‘cold blues’! Watch out for signs of depression. Do you feel less energetic and still feel tired even when you’ve had plenty of sleep? Don’t be afraid to seek professional help to address the issue.
You Will Become More Sensitive to Other People’s Feelings
You might want to keep a rigid façade, but the autumn weather won’t be any help. You may find that your stone heart is getting softer when you hear shared woes from other people. The weather is always a go-to conversation topic, because anyone can relate to its effects. Give in to the pull of the light side! The increasing chance of weather emergencies and darkness will force you to band with other people anyway—even when you’re working remotely.
Don’t be surprised to see your team becoming more generous and cooperative. Because of the low moods, the colder weather may increase people’s empathic side.
Your Creativity May or May Not Thrive
What’s interesting about the autumn season is it causes us to lean toward particular types of creativity. Studies show that the way your brain processes information is affected by your level of physical warmth. As your body gets warm, you are more relationally creative, which means that you may become mentally stronger in terms of thinking about others or maintaining your relationship with people and objects.
On the other hand, when you get cold, you will notice that your abstract and distant creativity starts to thrive. So, if you are managing a team, you may find that you will have a stronger hand at resolving conflicts and fishing for ideas from your employees.
How to Stay Productive in Autumn
Just because you can’t control the weather, it doesn’t mean you should join the choir invisible. As a remote worker, you need to push yourself extra hard to stay productive this fall. You don’t have to be a hopeless victim in this situation. You can stop blaming the weather and start taking control of your life. Here are some tips that will help you learn how to improve your productivity in autumn:
Go to the Gym
We know how tempting it is to jump into your bed whenever you see the chance to do so. However, this can lower your energy and affect your productivity. So, we suggest that you maintain your fitness routine even when the weather starts to get colder. It may be nicer to exercise outdoors in the summer, but during the fall, there are plenty of alternatives to keep you moving. You can join a gym and get your dose of exercise even when it’s raining.
Having physical activity will help you feel more focused, allowing you to improve your productivity. You can plan your exercise routine for the week, then find a suitable schedule for hitting the gym. If you think that this option is too much work for you, then you can open YouTube and find exercise videos. The benefit of working remotely is you can do yoga, circuit training or other similar activities, like chair exercises, without leaving your home!
Get a Head Start on Your Spring Cleaning
You don’t have to wait until it’s warm for you to start your spring cleaning. The great thing is, you’re already at home! So, you can declutter any time you want. If you’re not yet ready to take on this mammoth of a task, we suggest that you deal with your home office or work area first. For instance, when you’re on your break, you can go through your hard copy files and computer files. Get rid of anything that you no longer find useful. By doing so, you will become less overwhelmed. The stress of having to work despite the sweater weather will become more tolerable.
Take a Walk Outside
Staying in your home office and declaring yourself a full-fledged hermit won’t make you more productive at work. The darkness in your bat cave will make you more susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder, hampering your productivity. So, if you want to thrive at your job, we recommend that you take a walk outside whenever there’s enough sunshine. Get as much vitamin D as you can and breathe in some fresh air. You will see that even a 10-minute walk can bring a significant change in your creativity and mood.
Manage the Temperature Indoors
Do you know the fable of the boiling frog? If you put it in a pot of boiling water, it will instinctively jump out. However, if you put it in tepid water and turn on the heat, it will get complacent and let itself boil to death. Don’t worry, we’re not going to delve into deep philosophical metaphors here. We won’t even go on a myth-busting crusade to prove that this ‘fable’ holds no scientific truth. Our point is, perhaps the reason why you’re feeling lethargic is because you’re slowly dying from the cold or the warmth in your home office.
If you’re finding it more challenging to concentrate, try to find ways to make the atmosphere more comfortable. Check the temperature and make sure that it is conducive to work. If it gets stuffy, then open your windows. It may get a bit colder, but having a regular dose of fresh air can help you stay productive.
Take Regular Breaks
You may think that you’re the model remote freelancer if you work for hours on end without taking a break. However, more often, the quality of your work suffers when you push yourself too hard. Plus, taking regular breaks will help clear your head. With a refreshed mind, you will find yourself becoming more productive. Get a quick coffee or walk outside for a few minutes.
Evaluate Your Performance and Set Goals
One of the ways you can stay productive this fall is by motivating yourself. Our tip is to start evaluating your professional performance and to begin setting work goals. If you want to make improvements to your work routine, we recommend that you use a task tracking app like Traqq. A tool like this will help you identify distractions, allowing you to spot the weak points that affect your work. Here’s how time trackers make you more productive:
Assess the Challenges at Work
Using a task tracker helps you discover the areas where you struggle. It will allow you to identify the tasks that may overwhelm you and take too much of your time. This way, you will know if you’ll need to put certain tools in place to help improve your productivity. What’s more, a task tracker lets you understand your limitations. This way, you will be able to reassign tasks to others when necessary.
Manage Your Time
You should find a time tracking app that is freelancer-friendly like Traqq. Choosing this option will let you enjoy features that make task monitoring easier and more flexible for you. As we’ve mentioned, tools like this can show you the activities that take most of your work time. As such, you will be able to establish what to prioritize. As you keep track of several projects, you can get yourself better organized. Consequently, you can reduce the stress levels at work too.
By getting a better look at your achievements and weaknesses, you will be able to set reasonable goals for your work. You’ll be able to see the challenges you’ve encountered and figure out what you need to do to resolve them. Time trackers help you evaluate what you want to accomplish in your professional development.
Change the Scenery
For people who commute to their office every day, working from home is the dream. What they don’t know is that after a few months of seeing the same walls and floors, remote freelancers start to have a serious case of cabin fever. So, if you want to improve your productivity, we suggest that you force yourself to get out of your jammies! Find places in your town or city that are good to work from. Perhaps, there’s a library, a coffee shop, or a co-working space where you can finish your projects.
When you change the scenery, you will also get the chance to meet new people from time to time or even find the love of your life. Your dog or cat may be your best friend, but they won’t provide you with creative feedback on your output. In co-working spaces, you will meet like-minded people who may even become your friends, or drinking buddies. During the cold autumn season, spending time with other individuals will help reduce the loneliness that you may feel.
Not everyone is like Elsa who can boldly say, “The cold never bothered me anyway.” The autumn season can draw you to your deepest, darkest moods. It all boils down to constantly motivating and challenging yourself. As long as you have the will to improve, you will find ways to stay productive amidst the cold weather.