To stay focused, especially with so many distractions surrounding you, can be hard. You want to increase your productivity, and learn how to manage your time better. You’re always being pulled in different directions and you never seem to be able to get a handle on your time.
There can be other things causing you to lose focus and productivity as well. Procrastinationwill keep you from managing your time and being productive, yet often times, procrastination comes from a lack of wanting to do something or knowing how to do it.
If we think a task may take too long, we don’t know how to get it done, or we just flat out don’t want to do it, we keep putting it off. However, doing so is what causes a loss of motivation in other areas, keeping you from being productive.
Another reason we may have trouble being productive is that we’re dealing with something that’s making us feel stuck. Stress, depression, and anxiety can all lead to a lack of productivity. This creates a lack of focus so we feel like we’re doing the same tasks over and over again; we just can’t seem to focus long enough to get them done.
Let’s put all that to an end and get back on track! Getting motivated and increasing your productivity will finally help you accomplish all of those wonderful goals and dreams you have.
How to Be Productive When You’re Unmotivated
It’s hard to be productive when you’re feeling stuck. Overcoming that feeling is necessary to get on with your day. There are two things that may be keeping you unmotivated; feeling burned out or dreading the task.
If you’re working on something that has taken a lot of time and energy to complete, you may be feeling burned out. Or if you’ve been multi-tasking as you’re being pulled in various directions, burn out is something you may feel completely familiar with. In order to increase your productivity, you’ll need to minimize this feeling, known as “burn out.”
The best way to work through it is to declutter your schedule. Take a good look at what’s on your task list and decide what you can either give up or put on hold. Start prioritizing your tasks in order of importance. If you’re working on a few large projects at once, decide which one is most important and focus your time there. Put the other projects on hold until the first one is done. Your brain will feel less cluttered, allowing you to be more organized.
Make sure you’re taking some down time for yourself as well. It’s important to rest both your body and mind to keep from feeling burned out. Take some time between tasks and at the end of the day to find a way to relax. Get a cup of coffee or tea, read, meditate, or go for a walk.
If there’s a task you’re completely dreading, chances are you’re going to have trouble getting it done. Even if the end result is something you want, the task may not be something you really want to do.
Put this task on your calendar for the first thing of the day or the first day of the week. Get it out of the way as soon as possible instead of letting it hang over you. You’ll feel so much better once it’s done and not following you around all week.
Set a timer and turn everything else off; your cell phone, email, other tasks, everything. Just focus on the task at hand for the set amount of time, 30 minutes to an hour. No more. When the time is done, take a break. Just walk away for a few minutes to rest your mind. If you’re not quite done, you can go back and finish or add it back to your calendar for later in the day or the next day. Making even a little progress will help you get through it.
Morning Rituals for a Productive Day
If you start your day off right, you’ll be more energized and motivated, leading you to be more productive. Take just a few minutes each morning to help you get the day off to a good start.
- Smile First
As simple as it may seem, smiling will make a significant impact on your mood. Starting the day with a smile before you’re even out of bed will let your brain know that it’s time to feel happy. A positive outlook on the day will significantly increase your productivity.
- Drink a Glass of Water
Your body became dehydrated overnight and needs to be replenished in order to increase your energy. Avoid drinking coffee first and reach for water instead. Make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day. Being dehydrated can cause you to feel tired and keep you from being able to focus.
- Feed Your Mind
Instead of filling your mind with stress and negative thoughts first thing in the morning, skip the news and try reading something positive. Reading a few pages of an inspirational story or listening to an educational audiobook can feed your mind, help you feel inspired, and get you going.
- Move Around
Stretching and moving your body after a long night of lying in bed will get you feeling energized. Do some yoga or go for a walk. Dance around your kitchen while waiting for the coffee to brew. Find some way to get some exercise, even if just for a few minutes.
- Check Your Calendar
Before heading into your day, take a look at what you need to accomplish. Take a look at your calendar and to-do list so you’re prepared for how your day will be and you won’t be caught off guard with something you forgot.
Be More Productive
- Choose Your Priorities
Taking on too much at once will leave you feeling overwhelmed and unable to be productive. Each day, choose the tasks that are most important for that day. Limit yourself to just 3 or 4 priorities so that you can get them done and feel accomplished and productive at the end of the day. This will help motivate you the next day.
Instead of running all over town to take care of your to-do list, consolidate. Map out the places you need to go and what you need to do, then group your errands together based on location. This will save you time, money and gas. The more time you save, the more time you’ll have to be productive doing something from your task list.
- Control Time Wasters
Instead of frequently checking email and social media throughout the day, schedule time for it. This will help you stay productive and keep you from getting distracted all day. Schedule 10 minutes every hour or 30 minutes twice a day, whatever works best for you. Having time set aside for these distractions will help you to stay focused at other times.
Give Time Blocking a Try
Time blocking allows you to stay focused for a set period of time on just one task instead of multitasking all day long and hopeyou’ll get everything done.
Start by making a list of everything you need to get done for the week. Then prioritize those tasks by day. If any of them are large projects, break the projects down into more manageable tasks that take no longer than an hour to complete.
Now write down how long you plan to do each task based on how long you think it will take to complete.
Finally, put these blocks of time into your calendar. Use whatever kind of calendar works best for you. A paper calendar, a daytimer, or an electronic calendar are all good choices. Google Calendar is nice as it allows you to easily shift your blocks of time around and it syncs with your phone automatically without any extra steps. You can change the color of your time blocks to signify different types of activities. You can even create calendars for other family members or co-workers and sync your calendars together.
Block time for all of your appointments, errands, work, and time drainers. Make sure you leave a few minutes between time blocks to get up, move around, get a cup of coffee, and stretch. Sitting still too long will make you tired and unproductive. Don’t forget to get a glass of water to help you stay hydrated.
Stick to the amount of time you’ve blocked, pushing away any distractions during that time. If you blocked time to work on a project from 10 am to 11 am, during that time shut down your email, don’t open your browser, and put your phone in another room. Stay Focused is a Chrome extension that will help you avoid distractions. It will block access to time draining websites like social media for the amount of time you’ve set to work.
If you can’t manage to get all of your tasks done in a day, shift your remaining time blocks to another day and take note of what put you off schedule. This will help you to manage your time blocks more efficiently in the future.
Increasing your productivity takes focus and commitment, but like everything else, practice makes you better. Work with your calendar and manage your time, making adjustments as needed, until you have a schedule that works well for you and allows you to be your best self.