Sometimes I get that feeling that I just can’t keep going on. I lose focus and have a hard time getting anything done unless completely necessary. I’ve found that while there may be different reasons for this, a lot of it comes down to small changes in my own life that took the wind out of my productivity. I’ve also found ways that can fire me right back up and help me either completely get over a slump, or power right through it.
1. Find a rut but keep it shallow
I find that when I get into a routine, I’m able to focus much better. When I have my favorite notepad and favorite pen, at my favorite desk with my favorite soundtrack playing I’m able to buckle down and crank through any task put in front of me. Finding this routine is not always easy, and takes experimentation but when you find it, remember it and stick to it until it stops working…
2. Make a change
When I stay in a routine for too long I start to feel really bored of it and sometimes that boredom and familiarity can even convert to discontent towards that routine. I start to loathe all those things that helped me get through my work in the past and I have to make a change. I’ll change radio stations in Pandora, the type of music I play, the setting, the temperature or even the outfit I like to wear when working. That change usually happens with the seasons. Wearing sweats when Spring is in full swing really makes me hate Winter and I have to change into Spring mode. The biggest changes I typically make when I’m feeling stuck is the setting, working with my laptop instead of at a desk or vise versa, and the time of day that I work. These make a huge difference to my productivity.
3. Get away
Stepping away from my work, for a minute or an hour and doing something else really helps get ideas flowing again. I like to take walks, and showers but always keep my phone on hand so I can record things in Evernote as they come to me. It’s interesting that thinking about something completely different than what I was working on will spark thoughts that help both areas move along.
Exercise is my biggest tool to being productive. I don’t know if it’s the endorphins or the blood flow to my head, but if I’m ever feeling crappy and unproductive it’s usually because I haven’t worked out in a few days. I’ll even plan my workouts in the time right before I plan to sit down and get things done. There’s nothing like a brisk run or bout of kickboxing to melt away the stress and built up frustration of the rest of your day and let you focus on what you need to get done.
5. Feel the rhythm
Music is really important and studies have shown that having some background music when working increases productivity. I have to agree, but I’ll also say that the type of music has a huge affect on how I feel, think and work. I like to listen to something peaceful when I’m doing work I don’t like because that keeps my heart rate down as I get frustrated. And when I’m working on something I’m excited about, I’ll listen to music that is exciting, fast, loud and fun. Find your rhythm and go with it.
What tips do you have for productivity?
Image by pdxjmorris