By Alyssa Gregory

This post shares some of my own tricks for staying productive during the summer. It was inspired by the Office Depot Business Solutions Center, and is a sponsored post for Socialstars #GearLove.

Being a small business owner can have challenges all year long, but summer can be one of the most stressful times. We all want to take vacations, get outside, and enjoy the weather, but the business isn’t going anywhere. So how can you get the best of both worlds, thoroughly enjoying the summer while keeping your business thriving? Here are some of the summer productivity tips that have helped me get a lot accomplished and not miss out on any summer fun.

1. Create a Mobile Office Kit

One of the best ways to make the most of the summer season as a small business owner is by creating a “grab and go” mobile office kit that has everything you need to take your work with you.

What do you need in a mobile office kit? There are just two pieces of equipment I need to bring my office with me: my laptop and iPhone with Wi-Fi access enabled (though the personal hotspot option). With those two devices and a few apps (i.e., TeamViewer to access my desktop, Carbonite to view/download my files, Evernote for in-progress work, OmniFocus for comprehensive task lists, RingCentral for access to phone and voicemail), I can basically run my business from anywhere.

If you’re not sure what else you may need for your mobile office, check out the video below. Are any of these supplies things you can’t live without? If so, make sure you add them to your mobile office kit!

2. Work a Compressed or Modified Schedule

Want to take off every Friday during the summer, or do you want to fit in some outdoor activity more often during the week? As a small business owner, you can. Modify your work hours on Monday through Thursday so you can take Fridays off or work a half day. You can even shift your entire schedule to make time for summer activities during the week. If you’re an early bird, start your work day an hour or two earlier so you get in some outdoor activities at the end of the day. If you’re more of a night owl, enjoy some free time in the morning and make up the work time later in the day.

Not only is a little extra downtime to your schedule during the summer good for your psyche, but knowing you have some time off ahead can be the motivation you need to ramp up productivity and kill it the rest of the week.

3. Take a Working Vacation

I don’t recommend doing this every time you go away, but if you have vacation plans and just simply cannot leave your work completely behind, bring it with you for a working trip. The key here is two-fold: 1) make a plan that balances work and vacation, and 2) be prepared with your mobile office kit so when it comes time to focus on work, you are ready and can get it done efficiently.

If you plan to work while on vacation, make sure your family and other travel companions support your plan in advance (definitely not something you want to spring on them last minute!).

4. Make Your Office Summer-Friendly

Even if you are maximizing your time this summer to be out of the office as much as possible, there is still a lot of time you will need to be tethered to your desk. Ease the pain of being indoors by making sure your office is ready for summer productivity. Keep the room a nice cool temperature, open blinds to let in the sunlight, bring in the outdoors with plants and seasonal decorations, and arrange pictures of recent summer activities to keep you motivated.

These ideas are fun and effective because they allow you to do more of what you should be doing in the summer — relaxing and having fun — while keeping work a priority. And once you let yourself enjoy some downtime you are much more likely to be focused and engaged when it comes time to work.

How do you stay productive during the summer?