I’ve been going through a lot of life changes recently, and this state of flux has created some bad habits for me. I get like this when my life gets too busy or I have a lot of projects going on that are particularly draining.
So what do you do when this happens? I’ve basically come up with a plan to get myself out of this productivity funk. It’s worked before in the past, so I’m hoping it works again. (I’ll let you know in another month if it worked this time!)
The Bad Habits Breaking Process
Have you found yourself in a low-productivity time? Try these tips:
- Go through the motions.
I may not be writing my best material at this moment, but the time I am spending just going through the motions on a daily basis will help to get my mind working in that manner again. This is true for any task: whether you have been neglecting your calendar, not replying to e-mails promptly, or letting your voicemails pile up, going through the motions will get you back into good habits from bad habits.
- Start a new, energizing habit.
As we’re having some toddler schedule issues over here, I stopped walking in the afternoons. I think this lack of exercise was contributing to me feeling drained. So I have started walking her to the sitter in the mornings, letting the fresh air wake me up and get me ready for my day. I can also listen to business-related podcasts on my iPod after I drop her off, so that helps me to be in the right mindset by the time I get home. You don’t need an hour walk to help you start a new habit—perhaps just take a brisk 10-minute walk in the morning to get the fog out of your head and get yourself ready to start the day. Or, if you are a gym person, try going to the gym in the morning vs. the evening to increase your daytime productivity.
- Reduce or eliminate procrastination and distractions.
For more on this, check out my ongoing special Less, the Series.
- Take a mental minute.
If you feel your mind starting to get clouded, try a one minute, eight minute, or three minute meditation to bring yourself back into clarity.
- Eat power foods.
Sometimes bad habits include dietary changes as well. I know that when I get particularly busy, I start relying more on convenience foods instead of making myself nutritious meals when I am alone here during the day. By getting back to healthy summer fare, like fruit from the farmer’s market, vegetables from my garden, and whole grain products, I can increase both my energy level and my productivity. You don’t have to start your own garden to enjoy this benefit—perhaps try reaching for a salad or a smoothie instead of a greasy burger next time you stop somewhere for lunch.
- Switch gears if you need to.
If you’re really stuck on one project, there’s just no sense staring at your screen for hours. Go on to the next thing on your to-do list (or, just some easier thing on the list) and come back to the harder task later. Sometimes the action of doing work will get you in the right mode to work on harder tasks, and sometimes that boost of happiness from checking off something on your to-do list gets you motivated to tackle the hard stuff. Either way, you’re getting things done.
The Bottom Line
For your business to succeed, you need to make sure that temporary dips in productivity are just that—temporary! Good luck, and if you find any other tips that work for you, please leave a comment below to let everyone know!