Tips for Productivity

Being unproductive is frustrating.  It’s kind of like eating ice cream for every meal.  When my husband was a little boy, his parents wisely indulged his desire for ice cream for every meal.  He got to pick his favorite kind and go at it.  The catch was that he had to eat the ice cream, and only the ice cream, for every meal…and nothing else at all.  As he tells it, breakfast and lunch were awesome, but by dinner, all he wanted was vegetables!

I think getting distracted at work is much the same.  At first, it can be really fun.  You’re chatting with your co-workers, goofing off, thinking all the while you’ll get back on track soon…however, like craving vegetables, that time is far off, and while hungering for it, you can’t seem to get it until you decide to put the ice cream away.

Thus, it’s time to set aside that scrumptious bowl of ice cream and choose the vegetables you’re really hungry for.  Here are a few tips for doing just that.

Getting rid of distractions

  • It’s up to you which you choose, but the Sonet is a highly effective noise solution for increased productivity in any individual work space.

    First, clear off your desk of unnecessary junk and move all essential items within easy reach.

  • Next, try white noise via a sound machine to block unwanted noise.  We all know how loud offices can be and usually are.  There’s no reason you have to be held captive to it.
  • If you work from home, try to establish boundaries for actually getting work done so you still have a place to work and place to relax at home.   For work, it’s important to have a good home office, I definitely still recommend white noise, and general organization.

However, I’ll be the first to say that even the most organized person in the world still has to discipline him/herself to work, even when the ideas aren’t flowing.  Thus, check out the next tips for basic tips to getting the ball rolling and getting over writer’s block.

Getting More Done

So, here are a few tips for breaking the barrier when you’re staring at a blank screen:

  • Sit and think for 10 minutes.  Seriously, before you give yourself (another) break, try to come up with a starting point.  It’s not that I don’t value breaks- in fact I have a lot due to the nature of my work day and kids.  However, I think it’s easy to procrastinate by allowing yourself too many.
  • Make a list of things that need to get done and start doing them- it may be that you have a break-through as you make the list or start checking things off.  Sometimes, the feeling of accomplishment is enough to get your mind going.
  • Take breaks.  Be intentional about when and how you spend your break time.  Breaks are great for when you need to rest your eyes, stretch, and generally after a period of real work time.
  • Frequently, I work on an idea in the back of my head…maybe it’s a real life experience, maybe it’s not, but either way, I find that my best ideas come when I am not technically working.  I usually mull them over in the back of my mind as I wash dishes or pick up toys or even play with the kids.  Then, I either work on it the next chance I get, or I at least write it down so I don’t forget.
If you’re struggling to be productive, rework your work space for minimal distractions, then discipline yourself to actually work.

Speak Your Mind