Had an unproductive day? Here's how to make up for it.
We all have those days when motivation is scarce and the pile of items on our to-do list simply expands. Fret not: it happens to the best of us. Sometimes, the necessary inspiration refuses to strike until we are done for the day. Other times, the ability to focus on work is incredibly difficult. But before canceling your weekend plans to catch up on work, here are a few alternatives for you to consider.
Come in earlier than usual
Go home, get a good night's sleep and head back to the office with a refreshed mind. Waking up with the sun and going to work an earlier than usual can provide you with the needed head start, especially if you're the type of person who works best when there are peace and quiet. The early bird truly does catch the worm, which, in this case, means a golden opportunity at getting yourself up to speed with pending projects and assignments.
Bow out of meetings
Almost no meeting is so important that it cannot be postponed. So unless it's an urgent appointment that requires your immediate attention, try to clear your schedule for the day. Here’s how to go about it:
- Explain to your colleagues that you have a huge to-do list and request your meeting to be postponed, if possible.
- Ask for the meeting minutes to be sent to you, so you can read them and still be in the loop.
- Eat lunch at your desk (though it's best not to make this a habit) and refrain from joining in the office banter for a day – you can catch up on the gossip when your action items are cleared.
Put your morning commute to use
Instead of catching up on social media and watching videos, use the traveling time to catch up on the work that does not require much time or effort. Getting smaller tasks like replying to emails and creating to-do lists, out of the way while you're riding the metro or bus leaves room for those tasks that require more brain power. The novelty of working away from the desk might also inspire some fresh ideas for that proposal you've been struggling to put together.
Ignore social media
While the Internet has given us vast, unbridled access to information, it has also introduced us to a Pandora's box of distractions: namely, social media, gaming sites, and content feeds that do nothing more than rob us of our concentration while precious time slips away. Don't lie to yourself saying you'll only spend a few minutes surfing non-work-related websites. Before we know it, a good chunk of your day has been spent on mindless scrolling. Close your social media tabs and log out of your accounts. To avoid losing your train of thought by sudden notifications, try to work offline if you can.
Not all tasks are of equal importance. Get started on the work with tighter timelines and high-stakes deliverables. For items with less urgency, try to push the deadlines back so you do not have to end up working on several things with the same priority and the same time. Work steadily to clear your list and avoid multitasking to the best of your ability.