5 Tips For Salvaging An Unproductive Day
Do you ever have one of those days when you’re doing things but… you’re not actually doing anything at all? Maybe you’ve spent the past two hours in an internet-trance, clicking links like some zombie. Maybe you’ve been attending to lots of things, none of which are actually pertinent to the business of life-progressing. Maybe you spent a few minutes longer than you intended reading that magazine, Instagramming photos of your door knob or your mole or your yogurt cup. Suddenly the day has gotten away from you and you haven’t accomplished much of anything, the realization of which sends you careening into a place of self-loathing. How to recover?
1. Catch yourself sloth-handed
The best and only way to salvage an as yet unproductive day is to acknowledge that you’ve been acting unproductive. You might say out loud to yourself such things as, “You have just spent the past three hours doing absolutely nothing of value.” Or, “Wow, I just let that half-a-day pass me right on by.” If you don’t admit to yourself that you’ve been unproductive, you won’t easily be able to abruptly shift your mindset. Instead, you will simply carry on as you have been, picking your nose and flicking your boogers on the carpet until it’s bedtime.
2. Switch things up
Sometimes nothing can be more transformative for your productivity level than to make a change in your working environment. I, myself, am very sensitive to factors like lighting, noise, smell, etc. As silly as it sounds, there are times when the juju happening at my table just isn’t working for me. But walk a couple feet to my couch and voila, it just feels better and I’m instantly able to hone my focus on the task at hand.
Pay attention to the small triggers that are quietly deterring your concentration and alter them; if your hair is down, put it up. If you’re hot, take your sweater off. If the office is too noisy, seek solace in an empty conference room. If it’s too quiet, crank up the tunes. Etc.
3. Create a time division
This may also be referred to as “taking a break,” but creating a time division is what taking a break results in. If you’ve been not-actually plugging away for a handful of hours and you’re about ready to tear your eyelashes out, stop what you’re doing. Step away. Then go do something, almost anything else for 20-30 minutes. Take a walk around the block, enjoy a quick chat with a friend, go grab a coffee. By doing so, you will create a division of time: there was the time before the break, when you were a lazy piece of poop, and there will be the time after; a clean slate offering the chance for you to scrap what has happened before and begin anew.
4. Do one productive thing
Okay, so you’ve squandered some precious moments away. A shame. Now, grab the to do list by the check boxes and force yourself to do one thing that you originally intended. In some cases, doing that single task will be just the thing to get the momentum rolling again. If not, you’ll still be able to console yourself at the end of the day with the thought that you did one productive thing that in some way moved you forward.
5. Scratch it and plan for the morrow
If you feel yourself truly unable to get it back together, the only option may be to give up and give in. Shrug your shoulders, remind yourself that everyone has unproductive days and that you aren’t a bad person because of it. You’re allowed some of those.
Do not walk away from your work before you have made a plan for optimal productivity the following day. Write it out. Write out which tasks you will tend to, all the details pertaining to those, and if necessary, an hourly schedule of when you will work on each. Make a pact with yourself to act with such admirable gusto and get-to-it tomorrow that you’ll more than make up for today.
How do you get back on track when you find yourself being unproductive?Image credits: Time, World Fashion Blogs, unknown, Eva Black, Invite.L [subscribe2]
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