Back On Track

How to get back on track when you’re having an unproductive day
0

How to get back on track when you’re having an unproductive day

A rocky start shouldn’t dictate your entire workday. Do these things to reverse your unproductivity.
How to get back on track when you’re having an unproductive day

If you’re a high achiever, you juggle too many things over the course of a day. And despite your best intentions, you’re bound to have days where you feel burnt out, or just plain unproductive. This can lead to a self-destructive cycle–you beat yourself up for being unfocused, which further distracts you from what needs to be accomplished.

As a small business owner who manages a chronic illness, I’ve dealt with my fair share of days that aren’t as productive as I’d like. Over time, I’ve learned the importance of having a “reset” button–or, in other words, turning around my unproductive day and not letting it go to waste. Often, you know in your gut when you’re not being as focused as you would like. There are, however, also a few signs you can use to identify whether you’re primed for unproductivity:

  • You’re procrastinating, whether that means scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, or doing something you don’t normally enjoy doing, like working out or cleaning your house
  • You’re staring at a blank document and can’t get yourself to write anything.
  • You had a bad night’s sleep and you’re feeling off or tired.
  • You’re prioritizing other people’s goals and needs rather than your own.
  • You start something–a new project, document, or even an email–and don’t finish it.

You don’t have to write off the day as a lost cause. There are lots of ways to recover your time that don’t involve punishing yourself for being less focused than usual. Instead, these strategies take the reality of the situation into account–you’re tired, distracted, overwhelmed, bored, or a combination of all of the above–and change the tone for the better.

With that in mind, here are my five tips for turning around an unproductive day.

1.Prioritize what needs to be accomplished

It’s funny–it’s easy to be unproductive when you have too much to do. Feeling overwhelmed leads to prioritizing inefficiently (or not prioritizing at all), and trying to accomplish too much. When you feel stressed by your to-do list, you’re more likely to mismanage your time or even just give up. If everything is urgent and needs to get done today, you can feel paralyzed.

When this happens, stop. Take a step back and take another look at your to-do list. Identify what items absolutely have to be accomplished that day. Chances are, this whittles down your list significantly, making it feel a lot more manageable. By simply taking some of the pressure off yourself, you’re more able to focus and be productive.

Once you’ve made it through the day, sit down with your list again, and determine what tasks should be a priority for that week. By thinking realistically about your list for the coming days, you set yourself up for days that are more focused and less overwhelming.

2. Create a productive ambience

If you can’t seem to focus, take a look around you. Are you distracted by your environment? And if you’re not distracted, are there ways that you could make your environment more conducive to you being productive?

My ideal environment includes atmospheric music without lyrics, natural light, a light snack, a drink like water or tea, and a comfortable seat. If I have all these elements, I’m much more likely to spend my time productively. I can really zone in and focus on what I’m doing.

Of course, you don’t always have total control over your environment. At the same time, you’re never totally out of control either. If you get unfocused when you’re hungry, make sure you have a supply of snacks on hand. Or, if you crave quiet but work in a busy, loud office with an open floor plan, make sure you’re armed with headphones before you leave the house every day.

3. Change up the scenery

Sometimes, you need to refresh your body and mind before you can be productive. When I feel unfocused, I like to change my surroundings. I’ll go for a walk, do yoga, or meditate—anything that gets me out of my chair and stops me from staring at my computer for an hour or so.

You can also change up the scenery by heading to a different place to work, as long as it won’t be distracting. If you usually work well in coffee shops, head to a new one nearby. Or snag an empty conference room at the office for a few hours. Even if you don’t have a lot of flexibility in your schedule, there are ways to tweak the scenery just enough to give you a fresh perspective.

4. Limit distractions (social media in particular)

Distractions like social media can easily train wreck productivity–and unfortunately, it’s extremely hard to pull the plug on them entirely. Luckily, there are lots of ways to limit these distracting factors.

You probably can’t delete your social media accounts (nor do you want to), but you can remove them from your phone. Or, you can put all your social media apps in a folder that’s out of sight. Try hiding your social media apps in a folder with more serious or daunting icons first, like the stocks or your banking apps. That way, you’ll have to think before you start scrolling, and it becomes less automatic.

Many of us rely on social media for work, so we can just log out and ignore it entirely. There’s a great plugin called KillNewsfeed that allows you access to Facebook, but blocks your newsfeed (aka the place where productivity goes to die). You can still do your Facebook-centered work, but you’re not distracted by every photo, update, or ad that you see.

5. Check in with an accountability buddy

When we’re unproductive, we often feel shame, despair, and frustration. Even though we know these days happen, we end up dwelling in our negative feelings rather than moving forward.

An accountability buddy is someone who holds no judgments and provides a listening ear. It’s someone you can check in with and give an update on your progress (good or bad). The best part is, when you say your goals out loud, they become a lot more real. There’s someone else to hold you to them. They’re cheering you on and encouraging you when you veer off track.

If you don’t already have an accountability buddy (official or unofficial) in your life, it’s time to find that person. It can be a coworker, an industry colleague, a classmate, or a friend. Whoever it is, remember that the dynamic goes both ways–they support you, and you support them, too.

Most importantly, acknowledge that none of us are productive 100% of the time. It’s not about trying to be perfect. It’s about how you handle an unproductive day when it comes your way.

Source

Related Blogs

  • Aug 10, 2018
    Avoid Summer Slump

    How To Improve Productivity For Yourself And Your Team This Summer July and August are historically bad months for productivity. It might be the warm..

    0 Read More
  • Aug 3, 2018
    Emotional Intelligence at Workplace

    How To Develop More Emotionally Intelligent Employees In the quest to develop leaders who will foster a culture of equity and inclusion in the workplace,..

    0 Read More
  • Jul 20, 2018
    Rewarding Employees Wisely

    5 Ways to Reward Employees When Raises Aren't an Option Many workers are doing double duty these days because employers either can’t afford to hire..

    0 Read More
  • Jul 6, 2018
    Hiring the right people?

    5 Steps to Hiring the Right People for Your Business "Hire slow, fire fast" is great advice, but it's not always easy to follow. The..

    0 Read More
  • Jun 29, 2018
    Ready for Entrepreneurial Success?

    4 Entry-Level Jobs That Will Prep You for Entrepreneurial Success Success is a journey, not a destination, so think hard about where to start. Entrepreneurship..

    0 Read More
  • Jun 22, 2018
    Simple Work-Life Balance

    Work-Life Balance Is Simple. To Succeed at Work, Get a Life. With the right balance of health and business, entrepreneurs can maximize productivity. The Organization..

    0 Read More
  • Jun 1, 2018
    Value of Office Communication

    Why Office Communication is Highly Valued and Often Ignored A huge number of employees don't trust their bosses, and it's not hard to figure out..

    0 Read More
  • May 25, 2018
    Impacts of High Turnover

    The Negative Impacts of a High Turnover Rate High turnover rates can negatively affect a company and its employees in many ways. With the constant..

    0 Read More
  • May 18, 2018
    General Data Protection Regulation

    Five Final Checks To Ensure GDPR Compliance It is just one week until the EU update to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance deadline of..

    0 Read More
  • May 11, 2018
    Employee Onboarding Strategies

    Seven New Onboarding Strategies You'll See This Year According to a study from Equifax, more than half of all employees who left their job in..

    0 Read More
  • May 4, 2018
    Strategic Workforce Tools

    Your Workforce Tools Are More Strategic Than You Might Think This is not a typical article about attracting talented job candidates or retention — while..

    0 Read More
  • Apr 27, 2018
    AI empowers HR

    AI will make HR more Human, Strategic and Innovated Artificial intelligence (AI) is a source of both huge excitement and fear across the HR function...

    0 Read More
  • Apr 20, 2018
    Engagement Strategy

    Don’t Let ‘Meaning’ Be Missing From Your Engagement Strategy Meaning is one of the five keys in building employee engagement and it may be the..

    0 Read More
  • Apr 5, 2018
    Inclusion in the Workplace

    Inclusion Doesn’t Mean Including Everything and Everyone Inclusiveness is not about thought policing. It’s also not about turning everyone into a liberal. It’s a normal..

    0 Read More
  • Mar 30, 2018
    Inspire Change In Your…

    4 Ways To Inspire Change In Your Employees Have you ever listened to a speech that inspired you so much, you were ready to make..

    0 Read More
  • Mar 23, 2018
    Employees Feel and Act…

    7 Ways to Incent Employees to Feel and Act as Owners Building accountability into your business culture is a leadership process. It can't be driven..

    0 Read More
  • Mar 16, 2018
    Don’t Shuffle People Into…

    Don't Shuffle People Into the Wrong Job Just Because They're Already on the Payroll You grow your company by putting proven performers where you need..

    0 Read More
  • Mar 9, 2018
    The Best Internal Candidate…

    Why the Best Internal Candidate Might Be from an Unlikely Part of the Company Nearly a decade since Gallup released its bible, Strengths-Based Leadership, which..

    0 Read More
  • Feb 26, 2018
    Minimise Workplace Negativity

    Tips for Minimizing Workplace Negativity To Deal with Negativity in the Workplace, Use These 9 Tips Nothing affects employee morale more insidiously than persistent workplace..

    0 Read More
  • Feb 16, 2018
    Fail at Switching Jobs?

    This Is the No. 1 Reason Why People Fail at Switching Jobs (and What to Do About It) There's a reason changing careers is so..

    1 Read More
  • Feb 9, 2018
    The future Workspace

    Why a Coffee Shop Will Probably Be Your Workspace Within 10 Years As the gig economy grows, there are both social and scientific reasons why..

    0 Read More
  • Feb 2, 2018
    A Technique To Get…

    Didn't Get Your Dream Job? This 1 Technique Could Get You a Second Chance Every job seeker experiences this at least once, if not several..

    0 Read More
  • Jan 26, 2018
    Prepare new employees for…

    The Best Way to Set New Employees Up for Success Create an onboarding program that's both meaningful and memorable Congratulations; you've just hired a terrific..

    0 Read More
  • Jan 19, 2018
    First Hour, Day, Week,…

    Do This In Your First Hour, Day, Week, And Month Of Your New Job Getting settled into your new job is the ultimate act of..

    0 Read More
  • Jan 5, 2018
    7 Ways Modest Leadership…

    7 Ways Modest Leadership Increases Team Success When we imagine the traits of successful leaders, whether they are managers, high level executives, CEO's or owners..

    0 Read More
  • Dec 29, 2017
    Grateful Workplaces and Engaged…

    Grateful Workplaces and Engaged Employees All leaders need to ask themselves why happy and engaged employees are worth their weight in gold. If you’re a..

    0 Read More
  • Dec 15, 2017
    Employee stress during Christmas

    Managing employee stress during the festive period More than half of employees feel stressed in the weeks leading up to Christmas, with most calling for..

    0 Read More
  • Dec 8, 2017
    HR in 2022

    What's HR going to be in 2022? A Study sheds some light... A recent study shows us a glimpse of what HR might look like..

    0 Read More
  • Dec 1, 2017
    Appreciating your employees

    How to Avoid the No. 1 Reason People Leave Their Jobs William James, the father of psychology, stated that the most fundamental psychological need is..

    0 Read More
  • Nov 17, 2017
    Employee Appraisals

    Importance of Effective Employee Appraisals The performance appraisal may be one of the few times during the year where an employee and the reviewer, typically..

    0 Read More
  • Nov 2, 2017
    The workplace is changing

    From Cubicle To Coffee Shop - How The Workplace As We Know It Is Changing In the past few years we have seen a major..

    0 Read More
  • Oct 13, 2017
    Working for small companies

    Why You Should Consider Working For A Small Company Eighty-four percent of small-business employees are happy in their current job, according to the 2017 Aflac..

    0 Read More
  • Oct 6, 2017
    HR’s key role in…

    HR's key role in enlightened office design HR magazine and Landid's roundtable on the workspace of tomorrow explored how HR can positively influence facilities management..

    0 Read More
  • Sep 22, 2017
    Workplaces still hamper productivity

    Workplaces still hamper productivity Noise, lack of privacy and space are some of the factors causing the greatest dissatisfaction among office workers Nearly half of..

    0 Read More
  • Sep 15, 2017
    Lost your Job?

    Nine Things You Should and Shouldn't Do If You Lose Your Job Most of us wouldn’t think to associate the words "joblessness" and "fun," but..

    0 Read More
  • Sep 1, 2017
    Research on Gender Gap

    There’s Still a Gender Gap. How It Varies Depends on Who You Ask According to a survey, there’s a vast space between the views of..

    0 Read More
  • Aug 25, 2017
    Top 10 Benefits Of…

    Top 10 Benefits Of A Workplace Wellness Program When Google opened up in the 90s it took a unique approach to employee satisfaction. In an..

    0 Read More
  • Aug 16, 2017
    Write your first CV

    It's all about potential: how to write a CV with no work experience Follow these tips to stand out among competing candidates – from research..

    0 Read More
  • Aug 4, 2017
    Is it time to…

    The Best Ways to Reward Employees. Having an effective reward program in place can help solve many of your HR issues. Every company needs a..

    0 Read More
  • Jul 28, 2017
    Burnout: exhausted or lonely?

    Burnout at Work Isn’t Just About Exhaustion. It’s Also About Loneliness More and more people are feeling tired and lonely at work. In analyzing the..

    0 Read More
  • Jul 21, 2017
    People don’t take HR…

    People Don’t Take HR Seriously; Here’s Why That’s Dangerous Legacy beliefs like being the bad guy and a lack of strategic vision isolates HR, and..

    1 Read More
  • Jul 19, 2017
    21st Century, Cyprus –…

    Congratulations to our Director Kyriacos Anastasiou who has been selected as one of the 200 entrepreneurs in Cyprus of the 21st Century!!  

    0 Read More
  • Jul 17, 2017
    Social media data protection

    Bosses told to stop snooping on employees' Facebook profiles Bosses should not snoop on employees’ Facebook and Twitter profiles even if their accounts are publicly..

    0 Read More
  • Jun 30, 2017
    Career Development

    Think Strategically About Your Career Development In a world where the average employee sends and receives 122 emails per day and attends an average of..

    0 Read More
  • Jun 16, 2017
    Diversity and Inclusion

    Diversity Doesn’t Stick Without Inclusion Leaders have long recognized that a diverse workforce of women, people of color, and LGBT individuals confers a competitive edge..

    0 Read More
  • Jun 2, 2017
    Advance Your Career

    How To Advance Your Career In A Crappy Entry-Level Job Yes, you can still bring yourself one step closer to snagging that dream job even..

    0 Read More
  • May 2, 2017
    Employee Burnout

    What causes burnout and how it can affect both the employees and the organisation How HR Can Help Prevent Employee Burnout An engaged workforce. It's..

    0 Read More