Some days, you tick off a list of to do items and you sit back at the end of the day and marvel at your productivity. For me, that was this past Monday and Tuesday. It seems Friday has a different plan for me. I feel unmotivated to do anything today. I did some writing this morning since my friend announced my participation in this storytelling event in Hartford in two weeks. I have written several stories trying to get prepared for my storytelling debut. And I have to tell you, I’m kind of nervous.
But beyond some writing this morning and some light editing, it’s been a less than productive day. I know I got things accomplished but it does not feel like it. And I was thinking about making a list of strategies that I use to get back on track when I lose focus. It seems blogging is now a form of procrastination.
1. Make a list. Then email that list to yourself. Don’t open the actual list in email form. Just let it linger in your inbox, mocking you and also reminding you that you have stuff to do. If you really forget what you have to do, then open it. Then after you’ve read your to do list email, mark it as unread. Don’t delete it unless you actually complete all of the tasks on the list. (No really. Don’t delete it)
2. Clean your desk. [Cleaning out your work bag also counts here.] Physical clutter can lead to clutter in the brain. I would be embarrassed to show you what my desk looks like right now. It’s really not that bad, but it’s also not that great. (Husband will for sure make a comment about this)
3. Change it up! Change locations even if it means getting out of your office or your coffee shop or off your couch and physically move your bones someplace else. The change of perspective accomplishes two things. It gets your blood flowing because sitting for too long is not good for you. And it gets your face looking at something new. On this rainy day, working from the couch and home office might be associated with the lack of productivity.
4. Give in and don’t feel guilty about it. I am not one to encourage procrastination or shirking your responsibilities, but sometimes, you have to steer into the skid. (Right? Steer into the skid? I never remember) I believe in serious focus during work time, but sometimes, your brain needs a break. And if you are able to take that break (i.e. have the time, the space, the means to give yourself an hour off), do it. Like the change of scenery, you get some perspective when you simply stop thinking about what you do all of the time and actually unplug from it.
When you report to yourself, you also have to cut yourself some slack sometimes. On this Friday afternoon when I feel like I didn’t write enough, edit enough, accomplish enough, I want to remind myself that I’m truly doing the best I possibly can. And in less than 30 minutes, the socially constructed weekend begins.