Kickstarting Unproductive Days

Tradesman asleep in a wheelbarrowSometimes you find yourself in a funk.  You’ve got a bad case of the “blahs” and don’t feel like doing anything.  This can be particularly troublesome if you’re a virtual worker and need to get things accomplished.  Not only does this affect your work it detrimentally affects your mental and physical well-being.  Since putting off personal items isn’t as big of a deal we’ll focus on accomplishing work related “blahs”.

This can happen to the best of us.  Here’s some ideas that work very well for me and have been honed over a couple decades.  Try what works for you and use these as a starting point for your own “formula”.

  1. Prioritize – What are the priorities for your job today?  Mentally run through your projects and items on your list and pick the top    It’s important to begin with something that you can quickly accomplish to begin building momentum.
  2. Create a short list – of the three things you absolutely, positively need to accomplish today. If it doesn’t need to be done today it doesn’t go on this list. Start using a separate “parking list” of ideas and future activities to capture your thoughts.  Rank your top 3 priorities in order of difficulty from easiest to hardest.  Once you have this list created complete the first item and cross it off while telling yourself “that was easy”.  Now move on to the second item.  Be sure to make a big deal of crossing them off your short list and telling yourself how easy that was.  This helps you gain momentum and get your mind back in the groove.

15-min

  1. Set a 15 minute timer – Fully commit to working on your priority for the next 15 minutes. No interruptions, no procrastinating – just focused work.   You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how effective you can be in this short time-frame.  At the end of the 15 minutes take a stretch, pat yourself on the back for a job well done, and start another 15 minute time-frame. Turn off any background music, let the emails and social media rest, and fully focus on accomplishing this item.  Nothing else takes priority during these 15 minutes.
  2. Move – Change your location and view to kick-start your mindset. Pack up and got to a nearby coffee shop, move to a vacant meeting room, or just a different room in your house or apartment.  Once settled in your new location,  have clear and specific intentions on what you will accomplish while there.
  3. Keep a PMA – science has repeatedly proven that a Positive Mental Attitude has a huge impact in starting our day strong. Before starting your first task of the day take a couple of minutes and write down 5 positive things you’re aware of right now.  Your great office, wonderful friends, awesome technology that helps you shine, etc.  Develop the habit to do this at night before going to sleep as this helps you wake up in a more positive state and the unproductive days will begin to fade.

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