Kindred HQ

Working in the Sunshine

14 ways to get productive outdoors
sunjump

The sunshine is breaking through! It’s at times like these that I love being a free agent as I can really make the most of the lovely weather. After spending years cooped up in corporate offices staring jealously out of the window at builders, gardeners and traffic wardens (well, maybe not traffic wardens), I can now top up my vitamin D levels whenever I please. And you probably can too. Here are some easy ways to get out in the sun:

  1. Re-arrange your schedule by starting work an hour or two earlier or planning to finish a bit later. Then put an unmovable two-hour “meeting with the sun” firmly in the diary between lunch and dinner.
  2. Maximise your phone time. Write down all the important calls you have to make, then set aside an hour or two to do them. But instead of sitting indoors, make them on your mobile whilst walking through a park, along the beach or even just around the block.
  3. Step back from the computer. One of the big challenges of working outside is the perennial battle between strong sunlight and your computer screen. So why not go back to basics? Head out with a pencil and paper and write your to-do list, sketch diagrams, outline presentations or wireframe your new website. When you’re back inside, simply photograph or scan them into your filing system.
  4. Get fit! Just 30 minutes’ exercise can boost creativity for hours afterwards. My current all-round favourite is outdoor burpees, but a run, cycle or stroll in the sunshine will leave you feeling more healthy – and you won’t have to shell out for an expensive gym membership.
  5. Relax. Meditating in the park or simply spending some time contemplating nature can boost your focus, patience, clarity, insight and perspective. It’s another great technique for boosting your creativity.
  6. Get social – nice weather provides a great excuse to meet up with your personal or professional support networks. Instead of going for a coffee, wine or beer, why not arrange a walk or a picnic?
  7. Teach yourself something new. You don’t have to sit in a classroom or stare at a monitor to learn a skill that could improve your career prospects or inspire a new direction. Sites such as Tasterlab offer lots of new challenges, from photography to parkour! Or you could always take a loaded Kindle or old-fashioned textbook to the park and soak up some sun while you read.
  8. Eat al fresco. If you need to spend most of the day indoors, try to make the most of your lunch break. Dig out a lunch box and fill it with a delicious super-quick slow-carb salad, then go eat in the fresh air.
  9. Conduct a survey – one of the best ways to research your ideas is to speak to people about them. It’s often useful to video your interviews too, as it’s a powerful way to demonstrate your findings to others at a later date. Here’s a great example of interview technique, but you should probably test a hypothesis that’s a little more relevant to your business!
  10. Do a recce of new workplaces and venues. You probably know that we love the idea of being able to work wherever you like, so why not use the good weather as an opportunity to tour various places you might want to work, have meetings or run events.
  11. If you have a meeting scheduled, get inventive with the venue. How about a sunny terrace, by the side of the river, or even just a coffee shop with outdoor seating.
  12. Create! If you run a blog (or any other form of marketing) then you’ll know the on-going need for good photographs. So pull out your camera, pick a direction to walk and start snapping. You’ll have a library full of new pics in no time.
  13. Find inspiration. If you’re in the creative business, a stroll around your area can be a much more effective source of inspiration than Youtube. Slow down and look out for hidden history, natural ecosystems and the small details you generally overlook. Who knows what creative sparks these new discoveries will trigger?
  14. Crush your fears – apparently ‘rejection therapy’ is a new craze that helps you overcome fear and unlock more of your potential. There’s some solid science behind the method but it will absolutely put you outside of your comfort zone. You really need to get outside of the home/office to play the game properly and it might just give you the extra business confidence you’ve been looking for.

I’m sure there’s a whole heap more, so please share your own tips in the comments.

Thanks to Daniel Peckham for use of the fantastic image
and Jane Crossby for supreme editing skills.

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