It's August out there, folks. And let me guess, you're not feeling your most motivated for work some days. There's good reason for that (beyond the beach daydreams). 

Today we divide time into regular intervals -- hours, days, weeks, months -- but for thousands of years before we built this system, humans lived by different rhythms. We measured time by the turning of the seasons and the sun and moon. We paced ourselves by the needs of the harvest or the movements of game. 

These more primitive seasonal rhythms won't help you finish that report by September 1st, but they've left a mark on our psychology. 

The minutes tick by regularly, but our energy ebbs and flows. The 60 minutes after 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. are identical to your clock, but as we all know the afternoon generally feels a whole lot longer. March and August have the same amount of days, but your mindset in the two months is probably far from the same. 

You'll get a lot more done (and be a lot happier) if you find ways to honor, rather than fight these natural rhythms. Each season shouldn't be the same, and relaxing into that lazy summer feeling actually helps you get more done in your year overall. So how do you honor the spirit of summer and make sure you experience the long, lazy summer feeling we remember longingly from childhood? 

Blog Cup of Jo recently offered a handy checklist of essential low-key summer activities everyone should get through before back to school/ fourth quarter madness hits. 

  1. Swim. Cup of Jo offers a beautiful quote by writer Jamie Varon to back up this obvious but essential first idea: "Go to the lake. Or the beach. Be the first to jump in the water. Tell everyone else, 'Come in! It's nice in here!' Be the arbiter and instigator of joy. Make memories so precise and wonderful that, 20 years from now, you'll say with longing and light in your eyes, 'Remember that beautiful summer of 2019....'"

  2. Try a new-to-you ice cream flavor. I'm open to any and all suggestions in the comments. 

  3. Watch a movie from when you were little. 

  4. Play board games.

  5. Read a great book. All sorts of smart people have amazing suggestions for every taste

  6. Leave your phone at home. Yes, really, you can manage this once in a while. "It feels so good to turn your brain off and simply notice things, like clouds that look like waves or chubby babies learning to walk or a mom with a cute skirt or roses at the park that you can stop to smell," says Cup of Jo. 

  7. Make a crumble. "This recipe works for any fruit," promises the post.  

  8. Stay inside and don't feel bad about it. Here's a crazy idea: when you need a break, actually take a guiltless break. "Stay inside and do nothing at all. Maybe watch a movie at 1 p.m.? Just make sure not to do anything productive because that's against the rules," instructs Cup of Jo. 

Got kids? Check out the complete Cup of Jo post for a few more parent-specific suggestions, as well as more details on the activities above. 

What activities would you add to the list?