Feeling unproductive? Here’s how to get back on track

Feeling unproductive? Here’s how to get back on track

When you’re scatterbrained or feel like you’re spinning your wheels, it can be stressful. But these tips will help!

It happens to the best of us. Maybe you’ve got a lot of different assignments due at the same time, chores to do or other things grabbing at your time. Maybe you’re feeling uninspired, like everything you write is garbage. Maybe you keep finding yourself doing all the stuff on this list.

Whatever the case, when you need to kick your productivity into gear, here are some things you can do.

Start with some mundane or easy tasks

Don’t expect to hit the ground running with your most genius work first thing in the morning. Get yourself into gear with some boring, repetitive tasks or similar stuff that doesn’t require too much thinking. Even cleaning your desk can be a great way to get in the flow of working. Some people switch this around and start their work by doing the least-pleasant task first. This means the rest of your day will be easier by comparison.

Smash that to-do list

Well, first you have to make a to-do list. There are two options here. First, you can put absolutely everything on it, so you feel like you’re kicking goals when you tick off “email my cousin” or “put clothes away”. The other option is to strip it back to the bare minimum of important things, so you don’t feel overwhelmed by all the stuff that needs doing. Experiment and see what works best for your brain.

Fence yourself off from the world

Schedule some time where you don’t interact with anyone else, and can’t be interrupted. Turn off your phone, close your email and concentrate your heart out for as long as possible. If you plan this block of time out in advance, you’ll often be amazed at what you can achieve once your head’s in the right space. Then, once you’re done, you can relax knowing stuff was dealt with.

Do things in batches

If you need to make a few phone calls or send a bunch of emails, do them all in a row. Your brain will do better in this scenario than if you make it jump between jobs that are totally different. Doing things this way also means you can set yourself mini-milestones within a block of work, like ticking off every email once it’s sent.

Slice it all up

Some jobs seem way too huge to ever get through, but remember the old joke about how to eat an elephant. Yeah, it’s annoying when people remind you of that joke when you’re stressed out on a massive assignment, but the good news is you can keep in it your back pocket to spring on someone else who’s stressed after you’ve finished all your work. Awwww yissssss. You’ll be so smug.

Get ready for tomorrow

When you’re ready to pack it up for the day, take a minute to plan which task you’re going to tackle first in the morning. That way you’ll know what you’re in for as soon as you wake up. If this kind of planning sounds horrible, the opposite option is to go random – if your to-do list has six items on it, roll a die and do whichever number job it lands on.


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