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4 Outdoor Activities to Try This Winter to Boost Your Productivity

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Outdoor Activities Winter Productivity

Winter is the season of the year when many people begin spending most of their time indoors. You’ll want to get outdoors this winter to boost your productivity. Consistently being indoors has the effect of blending days together. The blending of days isn’t mentally healthy for anyone — so let’s mix it up a little by adding outdoor activities to our Calendar.

This Winter Boost Your Productivity With Outdoor Activities

It’s much harder to feel like your life provides the variation needed and desired when you stay inside all of the time. Even a quick “nippy-cold-walk” at lunch will boost your productivity and confidence for the long-haul afternoon. You’ll want these outdoor breaks for that very reason and there are plenty of exciting things to do outside that will help clear your head. Here are four outdoor activities to treat yourself to when your motivation and productivity are low.

1. Go for a Mindful Stroll

When you find yourself stuck in a confusing loop of working without motivation, take a walk outside to refresh yourself. While it can be painfully cold outside, it will actually help feel that cold. Sufficient clothing will keep you comfortable as the breeze hits your face, making it easier to focus your mind on the walk itself. The outdoors provides a natural separation from work indoors. Focus on what’s physically ahead of you for the best results.

This change in environment, this combination of low temperature, fresh air, natural sound, and sunlight, puts you in a different mindset than the one you’re working with indoors. It allows you to think of other things, to look at the world outside of your work, and to experience it authentically. So grab someone from the office to walk with for a refreshing walk-talk, or set aside a permanent time to walk around once a day to break up the monotony of being at your desk.

2. Immerse Yourself in Nature-Based Activities

Take a pilgrimage to the next level by seeking out activities designed for nature like hiking or skiing on the weekend. You can, for example, trek out into the forest away from town for a few hours and be fully separated from the work that’s stressing you out. Skiing and hiking are perfect for solitude if you’re overwhelmed by your relationships at home or work.

If water doesn’t freeze over in your area, rent a rowboat and set out into the water for some time alone. Still, it’s exciting to do these things with friends or family too, and they are always welcome to join if that works for you.

You may not be the kind of person who needs solitude for you to recharge, so bring along everyone you want to stay in touch with. Getting out in nature is about getting your energy back however you see fit. Understand that everybody is different, and give yourself time to figure out what’s best for you.

Remember that you don’t have to bring people along if it stresses you. Instead, being alone with your thoughts gives you the chance to renew yourself — and that’s what you’ll want for higher productivity.

3. Return to Your Childhood

When you’re immersed in work for any period of time, it’s essential to fit in exercise for both your physical and mental health. But structured exercise can easily feel like another chore and cause you more stress in the long run. Instead, make your nature exercise something to look forward to — in this case, try stretching the meaning of the word “exercise” as much as you want. Growing up in a warm or cold climate, you’ll surely remember how winded you’d be coming in after playing in the ocean or snow all day. You felt exhausted — and it was great. Think “kid” again, and be that kid.

Snowy days (well, ocean days, too — I’ve had both) are perfect for unstructured exercise. Building a snowman (or woman) is a blast, though I’d rather not do most activities alone — how about you? Instead, explore the neighborhood, and start a snowball fight — it’s an excellent way to burn energy with the snow bearing down on you. Neighbors may think you’re nuts, but that is invigorating too.

Then, you can come back inside and settle back in with a warm cup of tea with a renewed sense of motivation. At the very least, the contrasting environments and mindsets are great for getting away from the more structured work. You’ll come back with renewed focus, and you can work longer, too.

4. Head for the Mountains to Boost Your Productivity

Sometimes longer breaks are needed after a long work week — especially if you have a family with their own responsibilities. Consider a more extended, more involved activity that you can get excited about, like sledding, skiing, or snowboarding. Drive out from the home to find the best hill to barrel down or the closest mountain resort to dust off those skis and relax your brain. Watch for freebies — like Tuesday, ladies’ night at the local ski resort is fun — you’ll spring out of bed the following day with motivation.

It sounds counterintuitive to go so far from work to be more productive but in fact, the opposite is true — you need this time to recharge.

A nice break in the great outdoors will put a spring in your step — and make it much easier to focus at work and get in the zone. It also will allow you to partake in hobbies that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to participate in — benefitting both sides of the spectrum. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference it makes.

Taking a break where, when, and how you want it will help you recharge. And, yes, if you haven’t taken this type of time for yourself in a while — you may be a little stiff (okay, really stiff). But it feels so good — and you’ll feel alive. Working too much (without a break) makes Jill a dull girl.

Trade your work shoes for snow boots, and they’ll be much more comfortable when you return.

Image Credit: Julia Larson; Pexels; Thank you!

Scheduling Kids Activities as a Working Parent

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Scheduling Kids Activities as a Working Parent

Being a working parent can make your life extremely busy by itself. That’s not even including scheduling kid’s activities in as well. With students back in school and fun activities now more of an option, it’s only natural that kids will want to do more, and as a parent, this will fill your weekly schedule. However, kids can thrive in these activities and learn so much. They keep children busy and are also a great way to meet new friends.

Instead of getting overwhelmed by scheduling kid’s activities, the key is to establish a routine and start working these after-school activities into your current schedule.

Here are a few ways to help carve out the time and energy for the kid’s activities as a working parent while still balancing and finishing work in other areas of your life.

Specify Your Daily Schedule First

The great thing about scheduling kid’s activities is that you’re in charge of which days and times you sign up for. So be sure to look at your current Calendar first to see when the best time would be to add an activity. Now, you may not be able to fully control precisely when practices or meetings are, but knowing when you’d have free time can help you narrow down the best kid’s activities for the current season you’re in.

Establish a Good Routine Post Work 

Once you have your schedule settled in, a crucial aspect is establishing a good routine once you’re out of work. Your routine is key because if you don’t get tasks done between getting home and bringing your child to a program, you’ll be in bad shape.

Go in with a game plan and use that time block between work to schedule important prep tasks. For example, your game plan could include preparing dinner, household chores, or errands. If you have other kids around the home, assign them a household chore as well and get organized.

If your partner is home around the same time and can help too, that’s even better. Divide and conquer. You can also intentionally schedule fewer things on activity days. By narrowing down your schedule and keeping a detailed calendar, you can prepare by having dinner cooked in advance or ordering out on busy days. You can also have your kids do their chores the night before to clean the house or postpone errands to a less busy day.

Utilize After-School Transportation

If your child is doing an after-school activity and transportation is provided, be sure to take advantage of that. For example, if basketball practice runs directly after school until 5 pm, this can give you more time to finish up work tasks and take care of other responsibilities. In addition, joining activities through the school means your child doesn’t have to leave campus, and there may even be transportation options afterward.

If transportation is an issue, see if you can team up with another parent and carpool. For example, assign a day or two where you can pick up your child and a friend from their activity and another day where the other parent can take over that responsibility.

Limit Activities and Consolidate Other Tasks

Avoid overwhelming yourself with too many activities. No parent wants to be running around across town every afternoon. Know your schedule and limit yourself to maybe one-weekday activity and one-weekend activity. Or, alternate if you have a few kids. For example, one child could do an activity in the fall while another child does an activity in the winter or spring.

In addition to limiting activities, try to consolidating other tasks to free up more time. One example is to prepare simple dinners on activity days. Whether it be 15-minute meals, crockpot meals, or grab-and-go options, these are just a few of the ways to consolidate dinner and make it easier to get back out the door.  For those dinners using plastic, utensils can help you avoid a pile-up in your kitchen sink. Be sure to stock up on paper plates, cups, forks, and spoons. That way, you are filling up the garbage can instead of the dishwasher or kitchen sink.

If your kids have study hall at school, encourage them to do homework during that time or stay after class one day of the week for tutoring from the teacher. Having children manage homework directly at school can limit time spent doing homework at home and clear their schedule for an activity. In addition, I have found that managing homework in a more business-like manager can help teach and prepare kids for working in an office.

Order things online to save time spent at the store and consider using local grocery pick-up options. As a family, you can also deep clean your home once a week or hire someone to do it, so all you have to do is maintain it during the weekdays.

Use Your Calendar!

Another way to get or stay on track is by utilizing your Calendar every day. It may sound like a small part, but this is one of the most important. Life is busy, and things can get skipped or forgotten. So you shouldn’t set an expectation for yourself to remember every little thing and keep every little appointment.

If you have everything on your Calendar, then you should be in a good place. Calendar makes it easy to schedule out your days that way, you can turn your attention to the things that matter. Calendar strives to help you organize your schedule. One tool is the smart scheduling link which enables you to avoid the back and forth emailing to schedule meetings with other people.

It’s also easy to add any events on Calendar, and you can even connect calendars that sync with Outlook and Google. But, of course, the other benefit to syncing these calenders is having everything in one place, so you know what time slots you have open and what days are your busier ones.


Scheduling kid’s activities as a working parent and maintaining your sanity is possible. Work is essential; we all need to make money to take care of everyday expenses.

Working as a team with coworkers — and working as a team, especially in your own home is essential. But, as always, staying organized is your key to success.

Try to make time to allow after-school activities for your children. The reality of after-school activities for our children can make all the difference to their success when they enter the adult world.

Please take some steps to make your child’s world a great place to come from — and remember. Hopefully, these steps can help you make it all work.

Too Hot to Hang: 5 Indoor Team-Building Activities to Do at a Distance

By | Knowledge Base | No Comments

The great outdoors is, well, great. But in the late summer, the heat and humidity can be unbearable. 

Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, that can cause problems if you’re trying to plan a team-building activity. Given that they allow for social distancing, outdoor activities are safer than indoor ones. But safer yet, of course, are remote activities. 

Don’t let the heat hinder you. There are activities you can do remotely and indoors that are just as engaging and valuable. Check out the following team-building ideas that you can do when the weather is far from ideal:

1. Trivia Games

Trivia is a classic team-building activity because it gets people talking and can promote healthy competition. It’s also very simple. You just need a set of questions, two or more teams, and a way to keep score. 

Doing trivia virtually isn’t much of a stretch, either. Simply follow these procedures:

  • Assign someone to be the host at the start of each new game.
  • Use breakout rooms to allow teams to deliberate.
  • Agree on how long teams should be allowed to discuss answers.
  • Establish an honor system to dissuade people from cheating.
  • Decide on a prize to motivate employees. 
  • Use an app or video conferencing service to facilitate the match.

What about the topic? It’s up to you. The questions could be based on pop culture, history, or something specific to your company. You might even try making all the questions about whoever is hosting. It’s never a bad idea to help your team get to know the people they work with a bit better.  

2. Group Wellness Day

One of the best ways to promote wellness at your company is to get together for wellness activities. A community of people can set goals and support each other. 

Consider organizing a remote wellness day for team building. You can synchronize computer screens and do things like guided meditations, yoga, at-home exercises, mental health conversations, and more.

Putting on this kind of event will take some planning. Gather some interested employees to help you plan it out. But even though it will take time, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Lean on free video sites, such as DoYogaWithMe, and trusted wellness resources, like the Mayo Clinic.

3. Anonymous Letter Writing

Writing letters is therapeutic. Plus, 81% of people consider it more meaningful to receive a handwritten letter than high-tech options, such as an email.

Think about it like a Secret Santa game. Assign each member of your team a colleague to write to. Then, decide on a theme for the letters. Ideas include:

  • Gratitude and thankfulness
  • Summer reflections
  • Hope and change
  • Mental health
  • Lessons learned
  • Funny stories and jokes
  • Frustrations and challenges

Once everyone receives their letter, get together for a video conference. Figure out who wrote what to who, and share high points from the messages. 

4. Book Club Meetings

You’ll be stunned by the way reading can bring a team together. And book clubs are a perfect way to learn and discuss various topics with colleagues. It’s as simple as choosing a book for your team and setting a date to discuss the insights you’ve gained. 

Not only can you meet virtually, but you can also set up recurring meetings to chat about each chapter. Don’t make it an obligation, but do invite anybody who might want to join. 

5. Dramatic Readings

Have you ever dreamt of being an actor? Well, a virtual play reading might be your chance to show off your acting chops. If you fancy something different, you could even recite a screenplay from a movie you all love. 

Reading through a play is simpler than it sounds: Assign a character to each team member. Encourage them to really get into the role. Costumes and accents can take dramatic readings to the next level.

How should you organize your reading? One way is to do a dry run all in one sitting. Merely getting through the play can give people a sense of accomplishment. Team members who worry about the time commitment might prefer this option.

Although it takes more time, the better choice is to give your team members some time to prepare. That way, they can get props together and really get into their character. The rest of your team can watch the performance remotely and give their standing ovation in the comfort of their own home. 

Who says team-building has to be a headache? There’s no need to suffer through sweat and dehydration to get people together. Summer team-building can be fun, simple, and yes, even comfortable. 

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