Productivity feels like a constant battle.
No matter how hard you try it feels like your brain just doesn’t want to be productive.
And, it’s not like you don’t want to get the work done, is it?
Once you end up in this productive slump, it feels almost impossible to get out of it. Your to do list keeps growing, while your attention takes a vacation.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, once you know how, you can break this slump in no time at all.
Here’s 40 ways to break your productive slump in under five minutes:
#1: Drink a pint of water.
#2: Create a ‘break’ schedule. Try Pomodoro or 50/10, to keep your focus steady throughout the day.
#3: Apply David Allen’s 2 Minute Rule and find a small chunk of your task that only takes 2 minutes.
- Writing a sentence
- Ironing one t-shirt
- Bullet pointing your next brief
- Creating a blog graphic
#4: Turn off your phone…
#5: Or, at least turn off the alerts and put it on silent. If you’ve got a Samsung, switch off the notification light at the top of your phone, too.
#6: Exercise in the morning for better focus. Richard Branson said this gave him eight hours more focus than if he didn’t exercise. Try doing:
- 10x Press Ups
- 20x Squats
- 1x 30 second plank
For two or three circuits before your morning shower. It might not be much, but it’ll give you a nice boost to carry you through the day.
#7: Set specific times to check your email. And, make sure it’s no more than three times per day.
#8: Listen to an Audiobook or Podcast on your morning commute. Taking in new information now can make you more creative. And, help get you into a working mind set before you even get into the office.
#9: Automate your easy decisions, like:
- What you’re having for lunch
- What you’re wearing for work
- Where you’re going to park
So you spend fewer attention points and save them for the important tasks for the rest of the day.
#10: Say “No!” to the next extra-task that comes to you. You already have enough to be working on, don’t you?
#11: Make a note of how focused you feel every 30 to 60 minutes and make a spreadsheet of it.
#12: Look back on the last hour and ask yourself, “What have I achieved?”. Then, see if you can improve on it in the next hour. This is a great hack to keep yourself in check.
#13: Take a shower. The raise in body temperature will improve your productivity.
#14: Make yourself accountable to someone who’s not your manager and will be honest with you. Even if it’s just a quick text to a friend.
#15: Give yourself a bedtime, and stick to it. Disrupted sleep has the same impact on you as a hangover, without the great stories to tell.
#16: Set tighter deadlines. Parkinson’s Law states that the time you give yourself to complete a task is the time it will take. So, tighten your deadlines and limit your distractions.
#17: Create a quick week plan on a Sunday evening to reduce Monday morning stress.
#18: Turn off the news. Not only does it distract you, it causes you to worry and over think issues that could wait for a later date. Larry Kim wrote a great article about it, here.
#19: Schedule an ‘Airplane Day’ like Bryan Hassin does once or twice a week. No phone, no connections, no interruptions. Act like you’re stuck in your seat at 30,000 feet with no outside contact. Miniature drinks are optional.
#20: Eat The Frog, by putting the worst task first on your schedule or to-do list. Once you get it out of the way, the rest of the day feels like a breeze.
#21: Downgrade your Facebook friends to acquaintances. That way you only see the highlights of their updates instead of “Hey, look what I ate for lunch…again”.
#22: If you’re not “F@!k yeah!” about it, it’s a no. Don’t waste your time on it.
#23: Outsource any jobs or tasks that are sticking points – or you’re just bad at – on a website like Upwork or Fiverr.
#24: Write your three most important tasks on a post it note. Don’t do any others until they’re all complete.
#25: Go for a walk.
#26: Change your workstation. As my Grandmother used to say, “A change is as good as rest”.
#27: Install Rescue Time and keep track of how productive you’re actually being.
#28: Learn a lazy cheat code to complete your tasks quicker. Because it’s better to finish your task early and do fun stuff.
For example, I learned the 3-second shirt fold. Ironing and folding clothes is my least favourite activity in the history of the world. Ever. And it made more time for fun.
#29: Put an inspirational sign somewhere in your office to keep you on track. The more relevant to your goals it is, the better.
#30: Eat something high in protein, like Beef Jerky.
#31: Or, something leafy and green. For me, I find a Greens Smoothie with a little fruit and a peanut butter is magical for productivity.
#32: Steal the ‘No meeting Wednesdays’ idea from Facebook. Commit to having one whole day a week where no meetings take place.
#33: Map out your daily/weekly tasks on Trello.
#34: Trust the workers around you and delegate the tasks that don’t need your input to someone else.
#35: Find somewhere quiet and a do a quick five-minute meditation.
#36: Make all your emails and messages five sentences or less. Say what you need to, cut the fluff and burn through more emails in less time.
#37: Set your Thermostat to 70-70 degrees Fahrenheit (or 21-22 degrees Celsius) for the optimal productivity temperature.
#38: Download the Twilight app for your phone for better sleep. It reduces blue light (that keeps you awake) and turns off overnight notifications. Best of all, it’s free.
#39: Do a ‘flow state’ activity. Choose a task that’s challenging, but not so hard you can’t do it – that gets you into your working zone.
#40: Define three outcomes (not tasks) for your day that you need to achieve, and work towards them.