Although we strive to have productive days consistently, even the most disciplined and focused people have productivity slumps.
It is no different to a sports person going through a period of bad form — we’ve all experienced it! When we’re going through such a period, everything feels difficult, heavy, mundane and demotivating.
If our productivity slump is not addressed and turned around quickly, it will:
- Delay the completion of what we’re trying to get done.
- Cause us to feel we’re not making progress or progress is very slow.
- Make us question the value of what we’re doing.
- Affect our energy levels.
The sooner we can apply strategies or tactics to overcome our productivity slump, the better off we’ll be.
Whenever I feel my level of productivity is not where it could be, I will always take whatever steps I need to in order to get myself back in the groove again. Usually all it takes is something simple, as I describe in the steps below. I have found that since I have applied all the steps below at some point in time, it doesn’t take me long to pick myself up from any productvity slump.
The good news is that we all go through phases where we’re not at our best, so there is no need to be hard on ourselves. There are always things we can do to get out of our slump and get back into the swing of things.
Here are ten things we can do to easily overcome any productivity slump we may be experiencing and get back to doing the things that are important to us with a lot less effort and stress.
- Work for shorter durations and take more frequent breaks. It has been proven that those who constantly take breaks during their work day are more efficient, effective and productive over the course of a day. Using the Pomodoro Technique of working for 25 minutes then taking a five-minute break is a good one to maintain our energy levels. Alternatively, it can be changed to working for 50 minutes then taking a 10-minute break.
- Do something different to what you have been doing. Sometimes doing the same things over and over again can lead to boredom, which will affect our engagement and concentration levels. Adding variety to our day gives our brain a much-needed boost, which in turn, will help with our ability to maintain our focus. It can be as simple as cleaning out our working area or adding something that will keep us motivated.
- Maintain a healthy mental attitude. Negativity depletes our mental energy so much quicker than when we’re in a positive frame of mind. This is why who we spend time with is critically important. If we’re around people who have a healthy outlook on life, that will affect us in a positive way. Likewise, if those around us consistently complain and focus on what’s not going well, that will also affect us in a detrimental way.
- Engage your body. A valuable thing I have learned about our emotions is that most of the time, the way we use our body directly affects our emotional state. If we are hunched over or slouching all the time, then our energy level will low, which will reflect in how we work. Similarly, if we condition our body to be strong, present and engaged, our energy levels will be much higher, which we will be able to direct towards healthy outcomes. One easy way to engage our body is to go for short walks, do some quick stretches and also do some deep breathing.
- Eat something nutritious. This may be quite obvious but eating healthy foods is vital for maintaining our energy levels. As we are all different and have different preferences for what we want to eat, the key thing is knowing what is good for us and what isn’t, and how that affects our productivity levels. The more aware we are about what we’re putting in bodies, the better food choices we can make.
- Watch or listen to something uplifting. Any form of inspiration always gives us a lift and raises our energy levels. There are so many things we can now watch or listen to for free online that will give us a boost and get us refocused on getting things completed. It can be as short as 10 minutes to get the inspiration and motivation we need to pick ourselves back up again.
- Speak to someone who will make you laugh. Laughter is often the cure to a lot of things. Whenever we speak to someone who makes us laugh, we feel good about ourselves, which in turn, makes us want to do productive things, which will also make us feel good about ourselves. Sharing a quick joke or doing something funny together with other people is a good way to get a quick laugh in.
- Get a quick win. Personally, I find I will want to continue being productive after I’ve had a quick win such as completing something I have been working. For example, whenever I write a new blog post, it always inspires me to want to get something else completed because I have built up some momentum. A quick win can be sending off an important email, or making a phone call that’s been on our To-Do List, or finishing something off from the day before.
- Set up a reward for yourself. I like to give myself rewards for getting things done. Sometimes it can be having a longer break, having something to eat or drink, being able to surf the internet a little longer or if I have completed something really valuable, I will buy myself something. There are numerous other options for giving ourselves rewards. The key is knowing whether the reward system will be something that will drive you to get things done.
- Do something fun. This can include listening to music, dancing, exercising (if that is fun for you), or having lunch with friends or colleagues. This again relates to adding variety to what we typically do. If we make our day fun, it will reflect back in how we work, which will give our productivity level an enormous boost.
We’re always in control of our level of productivity. If we find our productivity level is starting to crash, then applying any of the above ideas will get us back on track. If our productivity level falls and we don’t do anything about it, we will very rarely be satisfied with what and how much we produce.
Question: What can be another useful way to overcome any productivity slump?
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