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5 tips to stay productive

No matter how efficient and organised we are on our finest days at work, no one can escape the occasional day when you want to do nothing but procrastinate. Even the very best of us sometimes simply can’t be bothered putting the effort in today.

Maybe they didn’t sleep well. Maybe they’re ill. Or maybe it’s just one of those days.

One of the days when you reward yourself for opening Word or typing up your title. The days when it seems so much more urgent to tidy the house. The days when you finish off a six month old To Do list because what you’re supposed to be doing isn’t appealing right now.

On those days, the only thing you can do is to push through. To try to find motivation somewhere. To do whatever you have to in order to be passably productive.

KEEP AWAY FROM ANYTHING WITH ADDICTIVE APPS OR GAMES

Leave your phone in a different room if that’s what it takes. Every five minute break will turn in half an hour of time wasted on pointless, joyless game apps. Whatever you achieve in game won’t seem half as exciting to you when you realised you’re much closer to your deadline than you realised.

DON’T LEAVE YOURSELF LOGGED INTO FACEBOOK

Or Twitter. Or Reddit. Or Tumblr. Or wherever online you absent-mindedly scroll when you’re pretending to be productive. If you can’t resist the temptation of going for a little peek at your social media, you might give up at the hurdle of having to type out your whole username and password. Having some kind of obstacle in the way of it can be off-putting. It gives you time to remember where your attention should be.

CLOSE ALL MESSENGER APPS

It might seem like a little harmless conversation in the background that won’t have that much of an effect – that it might even keep you focussed, that you might think of new things to do through talking to someone else about it. Except you won’t. You’ll talk about something irrelevant and get drawn into conversations that you might not come out of for hours. And in the meantime, what energy you do put into your work will be subpar.

HAVE A GOAL IN MIND

If you’re sitting down to work for a set period of time, think about not just the ultimate objective of your project, but specifically of what you want to do today. Set yourself something to aim towards by the end of your work session. Give yourself some set marker by which to measure your progress as you work, so that you can see throughout how much more you have left. Set yourself immediate targets.

MAKE A LIST

Once you’ve decided what your aim is for now, think about what you have to do to get from where you are at the start to where you want to be at the end. Break it down into much smaller tasks and write them down. Seeing them broken down will make them seem more manageable. You won’t be so quick to put them off in favour of some distraction that requires a lot less concentration.

Kirstie Summers,

Daily Zen.

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