As it becomes sweltering outside, you may find yourself becoming increasingly lazy — despite your best efforts to peel your motionless body away from that air-conditioner/fan/Dyson Air Multiplier.™ But don’t blame such slothlike tendencies entirely on yourself. Turns out there’s actual science behind your sluggishness!

Researchers from Harvard and UNC have found that bank employees in Japan complete tasks more quickly during dreary weather. With no desire to be outside, they weren’t distracted by the weather. During warmer times, however, they worked with less efficiency. Even looking at images of sunny days caused subjects to be easily distracted. Their minds wandered, thinking of the myriad outdoor activities they were missing.

The New Yorker reports how scientists have observed that “pleasant weather led people to embrace more heuristic-based thinking — that is, they relied heavily on mental shortcuts at the expense of actual analysis.” We’re not exactly our most productive selves when we’re preoccupied with thoughts of what we’d rather be doing. Moreover, studies have shown that in a given climate, people are happier on warmer days (up to 90 degrees that is). If only we could be happier AND more productive. Don’t let the the heat get the best of you, though. Below we’ve included a few tips on how to stay productive and alert:

  • Need to perk up during the day? Try roasting fruit — without adding any sugar — and blending it into a puree to make no sugar-added, all natural popsicles. We become lethargic when our glucose levels are low because they affect our ability to concentrate and process information. Get a bit of natural sugar into your system to become more productive and alert!
  • Don’t give up exercise just because it’s hot out. Go to the gym to cool off in the pool or find a facility that has one. After all, exercise has been proven to help increase concentration and energy levels. And, honestly, is it really summer if you aren’t swimming?
  • Make a set of goals to stick to this summer — they can be fitness based or involve another way of being productive , i.e. learning how to cook, training for a half marathon. This gives you something to accomplish — no more excuses for lazing around.


Slim Aarons.

Yosigo. Flickr.


Jennifer Cohen, 6 Ways Exercise Makes You Smarter. Forbes.

Maria Konnikova, Why Summer Makes Us Lazy. The New Yorker.