When we were kids, the arrival of spring meant that summer was fastly approaching. With the warm weather came a feeling of excitement and anticipation for the approaching three-month vacay. For some of you lucky people, that still may be the case.

For the rest of us, the nice weather and seemingly longer days often bring with them an even more extensive to-do list. Whether you’re in school preparing for finals, in the workplace planning for an interminable list of special events and deadlines, or a parent arranging your children’s summer activities, it’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed in the busy season. But, no need to fret – Steve LeVine Entertainment and Public Relations has come up with a few useful tips to help you keep your head screwed on straight.

  1. Take care of yourself

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What is often the most neglected, or straight up forgotten about, part of productivity is self-care when managing a heavy workload. If your mind and body aren’t operating at their optimal levels, it’s inevitable that you’re not as efficient when trying to tackle your to-do list. While it may make sense in the short term to skip out on healthy habits for the sake of checking off one more task on your list, overlooking yourself and your needs can actually make you less productive and more prone to making careless mistakes.

No matter how busy you are, never forget to:

  1. Get enough sleep (most experts recommend 7 to 9 hours per night for adults)
  2. Carve out 30-60 minutes daily for some form of exercise
  3. Get outside! Even if you have to catch up on emails, type a company report or study for exams, doing so outdoors can help clear your head and ease stress levels
  4. Fuel your body with proper nutrients. Eat a healthy, balanced diet, drink plenty of water and take a multivitamin
  5. Make time for YOU! Go to happy hour with friends after work. Begin a meditation or deep breathing routine and practice daily for 15 to 20 minutes. Curl up with your favorite book. Netflix binge. Whatever you do to unwind, be sure to make time to do that.
  1. Invest in a planner

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We recommend buying an organizer with room for both daily to-do lists and a separate month-long calendar to keep long term projects top of mind. Writing things down and numbering tasks in a prioritized list can help you keep a clear focus on which tasks are most important and which can be pushed ahead to tomorrow. Whether you need one, two or three notebooks to write down tasks and reminders, or even if you want to instead utilize your iPhone’s notepad and alarms, keeping a log of your responsibilities is essential!

  1. Take your to-do list one step further

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While general lists of what needs to get done today, this week or this month can be extremely effective in keeping yourself organized, productivity can be maximized by meticulously allocating specific time slots for each task. For example, if you only allow yourself twenty minutes to check your emails, this can motivate you to get through everything quickly and prevent you from getting caught up in mundane tasks. Avoiding becoming distracted by unimportant tasks is key to maximizing efficiency and reducing stress in the long run.

  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate

Don’t be afraid to ask your boss for clarification, delegate responsibilities to your employees, or get extra help from your professor or TA. Too often, people overburden themselves and are afraid to ask for assistance when tasks start to pile up. Everyone knows what it’s like to feel overwhelmed, and most people will be willing to lend a helping hand (especially when they know they can ask you to return the favor in the future, when they’re drowning in their own work). Bottom line: never be afraid to speak up. Trust us, you’ll be glad you did.

That’s it for this week’s #TipTuesday! Check back next week for another round of quick tips.