How To Get Shit Done In The Heat Of The Day
Europe is huffin' and puffin' under a heat wave that is keeping us in its grip since 8 weeks now. Even the cool Northern countries are sweating and fighting unstoppable fires.
Not one drop of rain.
The grass is brown, trees and plants are dying, rivers are running dry, we're no longer allowed to sprinkle gardens.
The farmers are turning to their last resorts to save their poor crops. Cows don't have grass to chew on anymore.
Life has slowed down significantly in our cities and villages. After all, we're used to cool, wet weather.
But more importantly for you if you live in an area that's threatened by intense heat and draught: how do you stay on top of your game in your business?
See, it might be vacation for many others but for you, vacation may mean that you're working your pretty butt off to create and launch your new program in September.
Or you're take these slow summer months as your strategizing time for the last sprint of the year.
As a Belgian who is used to having cold rain at least a few times a week (yes, in summer too), I never really understood why people in the South would take siesta time and close their stores at noon.
I never got that lay back mode of California.
I realized how important it is to adjust...
✗ to get my shit done
✗ in the crunch time of creating, serving and preparing my move to NYC in a few weeks
✗ while my brain starts feeling like a pack of over-fried French fries
How can you stay productive despite hot weather that slows you down?
1. FOLLOW THE RHYTHM OF THE HEAT
Why torture yourself and sweat out your business in the heat of the day? You are your own boss. You can work ANY time you wish to.
Simply change your schedule. In Spain they know how to: skip the hottest hours and keep those to yourself for some calm down time at the pool or by the ocean.
⤞ Get up at the crack of dawn, have a good stretch, a green smoothie and get going with your most important big rock of the day when it's still cool so you can clearly feel that you ARE moving forward.
You'll be stunned how much you can get done in those very early hours. No phone calls, no appointments, no personnel asking if you have "a minute."
By the time the sun rises up high, you don't have to feel guilty when you close your computer and reach out for a book.
⤞ Still have some catching up to do? Schedule a shorter, second block of time after dinner, when a summer breeze cools down the evening.
This is how you will keep your cool in the heat.
2. EAT LIGHT
For most people summertime means: barbecue!
And the busier you are, the more attractive the idea of throwing some meat from the local butcher on the fire.
Because it's so "easy."
But how easy is it to deal with the aftermath of your juicy steak, that soft chicken leg and breast, and oh that sausage and maybe some salmon too?
Almost every evening I hear the neighbours puffing by the pool: "Oh boy, I had too much again!"
Here's why. When it's hot you don't feel as hungry as usual and it's easy to overeat. But your body is slowing down to adjust to the temperatures, to cool down and keep its energy to itself.
So is your digestive system. Your body's enzymes have been "cooking" in the heat. They slow down. Your energy levels drop. You feel lazy. You feel like doing nothing.
And when your digestion slows down, it will take hours on top of the usual time to break down those massive amounts of processed foods.
Bye bye energy. Bye bye focus.
Get ready to welcome some extra pounds that will add up over summer.
Bye bye beach body.
Instead, teach yourself to go with the flow of your heated systems:
⤞ Eat smaller portions that you can easily digest
⤞ Fix fresh, light plant based meals that only take 30 minutes to maximum a few hours to digest
⤞ Start your day light, with green juice or smoothies
⤞ Eat your biggest meal when your digestive system is working at its fullest: at noon
⤞ End the day light -and stop eating at 7 or 8PM- so you're done digesting when it's bed time
If you still want your meat, cut down those portions halfway and replace the other half with a delicious salad (of vegetables, not of chicken or pork of course) :-)
3. KEEP YOUR BRAIN SMART
When I was watching the alarming news yesterday (the heat is the biggest chunk of news these days), the weatherman gave us a bonus lesson: "Drink enough water." he said while putting a glass at his lips to give the example.
But what is "enough" water? A glass? Two?
And WHAT is "water?"
There's quite some misconception about that, you know?
When I start working with new clients, they usually consider any liquid as "water."
"Oh yeah sure, I drink enough."
"Oh, can you give me an idea of what you drink in a typical day?" And they start summing up.
A few glasses of white wine with lunch, red to wind down after work. A trendy aperitif at business lunch. Soup as a starter. And a cold beer because it just tastes so good. Coffee as dessert and in between pick ups.
Now, I'm sure you know that when the heat is on, alcohol hits even faster: your brain dehydrates.
Bye bye focus and smart ideas.
Did you know that the French serve a glass of water with every cup of coffee to rehydrate from caffeine?
So let's keep things simple: water is water.
Not wine. Not beer. Not Mochito. Not coffee. Not Gin-Tonic.
Only water will pick up your water level and bring or keep it up to the 70% you need to sustain if you want to make smart decisions, be concentrated, and get a lot done.
Here's how much water you need, especially when it's hot:
✗ Here's how much your personal minimum of water is per day: half of your body weight in ounces
✗ When you're in Europe use this formula: your weight in kg. X 100:3= amount of liters water per day
✗ When you're sweating more than usual, add 1 to 2 quarts/liters per day to catch up with what you lose
Ok, I get it. You may find it real tough to drink so much water.
I struggled with the same thing.
Here's how to program yourself for drinking more water
⤞ In the morning, fill up the amount of bottles with the water you need to drink for your constitution
⤞ Flavour them with colourful berries, mint, cucumber slices or add a teaspoon of Chia seeds
⤞ Always have an inviting water bottle on your desk and sip away (you'll become used to it)
⤞ Serve your water with style: I love drinking it from in a nice wine glass
Now you can easily measure what you had exactly.
Drinking the water your body really needs will expand your brain to its full capacities, increase your concentration and productivity levels fast.
On top of that, you will lose some pounds, upgrade all your body's functions, wipe out wrinkles, make your skin smoother.
Bye bye botox.
4. KEEP YOUR COOL
When you're overheated, it's tough to keep your cool. I mean, just look at how heated traffic gets when temperatures go up! There are more fights, more accidents, more fingers up.
So how can you cool down your body so you feel like yourself again?
Believe it or not, but nature thought of that.
⤞ Eat more local and seasonal vegetables and fruits: there's a reason why cucumbers grow in summer and (originally) not in winter. What grows around you in your season is what you need to keep your body's functions optimized in harsh circumstances
⤞ Eat cooling foods that bring your body temperature down: all summer veggies do that. Cucumber, celery are the most cooling examples: turn them into a juice, slices them up in salads, or just eat them more as they are. Summery leafy greens do the trick too
⤞ Another trick is: drink hot herbal tea. First you'll feel warmer, but after a few minutes your temperature will come down and you will feel comfortable again
5. SAVOUR YOUR SLEEP
Last but not less important: your sleep. Nothing is as compromised during heat waves as your sleep. When the night temperatures still feel like a good day, you may be tossing and turning in your sweat, fighting mosquitos, night after night.
And when you just found some sound sleep, it's time to get up and start your business day.
Now, I can give you a bunch of practical tips to improve your sleep. But they don't always work when the heat is on. I noticed that myself since a few nights.
Well, unless you have airco. Then again, that can be challenging for your throat and eyes.
What works better is: allow yourself to slow down in the middle of your day and rest, to just hang, have nice conversations or read a book and take cat naps when you need them.
Short power naps inside are very refreshing. Catch up with the sleep you had to miss during the night.
Just having the assurance that you can compensate your lost sleep on another moment -and that it's ok-, will give you peace of mind during the night and calm you down.
When you keep worrying that you're not getting enough sleep, chances are high that you'll toss and turn until the wee hours.
Savour the moments you fall asleep without effort. You'll feel refreshed enough to catch up guilt-free.
Found this helpful? Let me know what works best for your productivity in the comments!