There are days when productivity doesn't come naturally. Whether you're on a deadline or the house seems to be in a infinite state of chaos, sometimes you need an extra push to get things done. I'm a firm believer in lists and prioritizing but sometimes even that isn't enough. I have lists for everything within sight so I don't forget anything yet I still struggle probably once or twice weekly with being productive and accomplishing things. This is ok, it's human. But what's not ok is letting it rule your life. Don't let lack of motivation get the best of you. Here are some tips to perk up your energy and get ahead of whatever it is that needs to get done.
1. Ask yourself why you're not feeling motivated. There are a lot of reasons why we might lack motivation. It could be that we're tired, we're not feeling the creative juices, we feel overwhelmed or we don't know where to start. Maybe you're hungry. Take a second and see if your body tells you anything. If it's something that can easily be fixed like eating a sandwich or getting a glass of water, that's a quick fix. But if it's any of the former, you probably need a figurative kick in the butt.
2. Take a walk. Sometimes instead of forcing yourself to be productive, it's more beneficial to walk away for a few minutes. When I'm having a exceptionally hard time concentrating or just waking up in the morning, I'll take the dog for a walk. Getting outside, breathing in fresh air and getting active gets my blood pumping and forces me to be more alert. When I get back, I'm ready to tackle a project at least long enough to get it complete.
3. Have a snack. Feeling peckish? I have a terrible habit of awarding myself lunch after I've finished something. That's not the right way to go. If you're feeling hungry, eat something. There's nothing worse than having stomach rumbles while you're trying to concentrate on finishing that assignment you've taken hours to work on. If you've eaten a meal or it's not quite time, have some water with lemon. It will hold you over until you get work done and if you're still hungry, grab a snack. Sometimes stress will trick us into thinking we're hungry when we're really just thirsty.
4. Talk to someone. Nothing is more motivating than getting all excited over new ideas and brainstorms. You're ready to go and don't want to stop in case you forget. See if a colleague is up for a call or go to your coworker's desk to discuss that new client you just brought on board. Get fired up about new ideas you bounce off each other and then get to work.
5. Find more active tasks to conquer. There will be days when you just can't handle sitting at a desk anymore. I just had one the other day. Instead of wasting time, knock things off your to do list you've been putting off because you haven't had time. Organize your email inbox. Get papers filed. Clean out your office and get it all organized. Catch up on some reading. I have a stack of books that I need to read for reviews. I've been taking breaks to read lately. It takes me away from the computer and relaxes my brain and body because I'm not thinking about things too much or stressing out. It's helped me be a bit more productive in the afternoons (my worst time of day).
Being productive takes motivation and drive. It's not something always easily had. Whenever you're feeling a lack of energy to accomplish tasks, try one of the above tips. Sometimes, however, you just need to know when you're body is saying you need a break. It's easier for some professions than others to take breaks when necessary but if you can, try to work them in. We're humans, not machines. Even if we were machines, we'd still need to reboot and recharge every once in a while. My point is, if you just can't...don't. Forcing productivity does not give you the end result you want. It's better to take a step back and come back to the task when you're feeling inspired.