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How to stay focused at work when all you can think about is being outdoors

We’ve all been there. It’s 2 p.m. on a Wednesday, and all you can think about is skateboarding … Surfing … Climbing that peak in your mind’s eye — whatever it may be.

Personally, I happen to think of skateboarding, because at around 2 p.m. every day, the skate park that shares a wall with my cubicle explodes in a flurry of activity. And man, does it make me want to step away from my desk and get outside.

Don’t get me wrong: I couldn’t be happier about the fact that the office I work at not only allows skating, they encourage it. “Bring your mountain bike to work day” could be any day, and that’s something I don’t take for granted.

Still though, for any of us outdoor types, it can be a real struggle to sit at a desk and concentrate when all you can think about is the fresh powder that just fell in Colorado.

That being said, here are five tips for focusing at work when all you can think about is being outdoors:

Bring your sport with you

Showcasing your passion can bring some relief to office drudgery. Photo: Tanner Mardis/Unsplash
Showcasing your passion can bring some relief to office drudgery. Photo: Tanner Mardis/Unsplash
Whether it’s your favorite photo of that rock-climbing trip you went on last summer, or your skateboard or surfboard, work with your company culture and try to incorporate your favorite outdoor activity in your cubicle decor.

Make time in the morning and afternoon for your passions

Early morning sessions can bring tranquility to a busy day. Photo: Frank McKenna/Unsplash
Early morning sessions can bring tranquility to a busy day. Photo: Frank McKenna/Unsplash
If you miss biking, try riding to work. Not only is it better for the environment, but if you take the time to explore, you may be able to find some local trails on your way to the office.

For those of you with kids, early mornings are most likely your best bet to fit in your activity of choice.

Drink lots of water

Staying hydrated means staying focused. Photo: Aidan Meyer/Unsplash
Staying hydrated means staying focused. Photo: Aidan Meyer/Unsplash
If you’re questioning this piece of advice, think about it: being hydrated helps us focus, and keeps our bodies happy.

If you don’t drink enough water, it’s way more likely your mind will wander away from the work that needs to get done, and land on that far-off bike trail instead.

Enter a competition or set a goal

Competition and setting goals are a great way to cure a distracted mind. Photo: Thomas Schweighofer/Unsplash
Competition and setting goals are a great way to cure a distracted mind. Photo: Thomas Schweighofer/Unsplash
Having something to work towards, or a goal you set yourself helps give balance and focus to the mind.

Rather than letting your mind wander with different daydreams of life outside the cubicle, having a specific goal means you’ll be focused on what you can accomplish when you’re done with work.

Listen to music

Music can bring harmony to any situation. Photo: Courtesy of iDriss Fettoul/Unsplash
Music can bring harmony to any situation. Photo: Courtesy of iDriss Fettoul/Unsplash
If your company allows it, grab some headphones and put together a playlist that reminds you of the great outdoors.

Include tracks from your favorite video part, or songs you listen to when you’re participating in your favorite outdoor activity. Listening to music lifts spirits, and can help break up the monotony of office background noise.