It happens to everyone. Suddenly, you feel sluggish, unmotivated and easily distracted, and tasks that were once simple now seem endless. Productivity slumps are common, but knowing this doesn’t make them any more predictable or less frustrating. Here are some of the best tricks to remember for the times you’d rather slum on the couch.
Set Your Intentions
You can’t get anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going. Before you start each day, determine one or two tasks that are the most important for you to get done. As you determine your top tasks, consider your long-term targets if you’ve set goals for yourself.
By doing this, you’re setting realistic expectations for what you can accomplish in one day. Overloading yourself with a huge task list will only lead to feeling frustrated and overwhelmed when you can’t get everything done. When you prioritize one or two essential tasks, finishing them will give you a sense of accomplishment and completion.
Make a List
The importance of creating a to-do list can’t be overstated. If you don’t want to let your mind wonder what you should be doing or spend hours on the same task, take the time to write down all the things you need to accomplish for the day, week or month.
There are a huge variety of lists you can create to help yourself visualize what needs to be accomplished. Any time you feel yourself getting distracted or off-track, revisit your list and refocus on your goals.
Break Down Tasks
If productivity is the hero of your day, procrastination will be the villain. It’s easy to keep pushing off looming tasks that you know will be time consuming.
Instead of letting yourself feel burdened by a big-ticket item on your list, break it down into smaller, more easily managed pieces. Checking off the smaller tasks will be a motivator to tackle the larger pieces, and before you know it that huge project will be behind you.
Stop Constantly Checking Email
When you receive a high volume of incoming emails, they can be a huge distraction to your productivity. Stopping what you’re doing every time a notification pops up breaks your concentration. It takes time and effort to return to the task at hand.
If this happens multiple times a day, one simple assignment can eat up hours of your time. Don’t be afraid to exit out of your mail browser and schedule time specifically for checking and responding to emails.
Take Short Breaks
Working yourself to the bone only leads to mental exhaustion. It will do nothing to reduce your workload. A great rule of thumb for avoiding lethargy is to take a five-minute break for every hour of productivity. Taking a short walk or playing a game on your phone will help your mind process and avoid information overload. You’ll return to work feeling refreshed and inspired to keep going.
If you’ve been feeling burnt out or listless, try these simple tricks to kickstart your motivation. While taking time out of your day to focus on productivity may seem counterintuitive, these small steps will help you to prioritize your workload and concentrate on what’s important.