8 Tips for Beating a Productivity Slump

Staying productive and even making incremental improvements to your work process was certainly easier when you had fewer tasks and responsibilities. And you might have anticipated things to keep going in that fine direction indefinitely.

However, as you progressed to the next level, and the next, and the next, it became increasingly difficult to maintain the same rate of improvement. In fact, you may have felt like you were slowing in comparison to your early successes.

Well, if this definitely sounds like you, know that you are not alone. Struggling with productivity is something that employees and employers across all industries face at one point or another, especially in this era where working circumstances have been changing drastically. Whatever the cause, once you’ve fallen into a productivity slump, it’s difficult to break out. You have the impression that you are trapped in an endless circle with no way out. The more you want out, the more difficult it becomes.

Is there a way to solve a problem like this? It is, without a doubt. All you have to do now is take it one step at a time. We’ve rounded up some useful tips to help you get out of that productivity rut, so let’s get started without further ado.

Remove the Main Source of Distraction

Many of our procrastination triggers are conveniently located on our tablets, computers, and phones. “Just going on Facebook for a sec” easily turns into a half-hour session that results in a thorough understanding of your high school pals’ personal views. Little by little, time drains away, and you don’t get done nearly as much work as you wanted.

Determine your biggest time waster, whether it’s your email account, shopping online, or your favorite social media platform, and keep it out of the office. To hold yourself accountable, use a digital time tracking app like Toggl Track. Alternatively, try the Pomodoro technique or a variation of it.

Make a Categorized To-Do List

To-do lists are popular, especially among office workers, but yours could be negatively affecting you. We typically cross off easy-to-do items rather than working on larger ones because we enjoy having to cross things off our lists. In the end, the tougher tasks – the ones that you genuinely need a boost to finish off – still don’t get done on time.

To avoid this common pitfall, divide your to-do list into four quadrants:

  1. “High Importance, High Urgency”
  2. “High Importance, Low Urgency”
  3. “Low Importance, High Urgency”
  4. “Low Importance, Low Urgency”

Cross off the tasks in that order.

This will allow you to prioritize the most critical and urgent tasks first while identifying lower-priority tasks that should not interfere with your main initiatives.

Establish Deadlines

If you’re not working for yourself, chances are you’ve set workable deadlines. If you’re working for yourself or need to devote time to your side business, it’s all too easy to give yourself countless extensions.

To beat a productivity slump, you need to set firm, unmovable deadlines and be a demanding boss to yourself. If you are late on your personal deadline, cancel your plans, just as you would if you were late on your boss’s deadline. Your plans for Friday night dinner have now become the motivation to get back on track on that task.

Focus on One Task for 15 Minutes at a Time

The amount of time you expect it will take to complete a large project could be a psychological impediment to getting started on it. To reduce the intimidating presence, set a timer and commit to working on the project for only 15 minutes straight.

After you’ve finished that section, take a break and try again for 20 minutes next time. You’ll get closer to your ultimate goal if you work on it in smaller pieces until you’ve overcome the psychological block.

Reward Yourself for a Job Well Done

It might sound simple, but hanging a small carrot in front of yourself can help you attain focus and increase your sense of success once you’ve completed a significant task. For example, you might promise yourself a brisk walk in the nearby park once you’re done with a particularly exhausting piece of work. Know what types of little, special “treats” will work for you and utilize them whenever you need a little additional motivation to complete something.

Maintain Your Appearance Even at Home

When you work from home, it’s easy to keep your desk cluttered with papers, work in sweats, and even skip a shower. Sitting about in this unkempt state is the quickest way to feeling unproductive. Dressing more professionally during your working hours will give you a mental boost and help you better identify your “on” and “off” time.

Make Sure to Get Enough Sleep

How well you sleep at night has a big impact on your focus and productivity. It’s not just about how many hours you sleep but also about the quality and consistency of your sleep.

The most practical thing you can do to improve the quality of your sleep is to get a great mattress and set aside seven to eight hours for sleep each night. Stick to a bedtime routine and make sure to go to sleep and wake up at the same hour each day. On weeknights, try to keep the time gap to one hour more or less between your sleep schedules. Your body’s sleep-wake cycle needs consistency.

Take a Break from Work for a while

Taking time off while you’re already behind may seem paradoxical, but if you’re on the verge of burnout, a proper break is the only thing that will help.

Plan a really long weekend where you’ll entirely disconnect from work. Absolutely don’t bring your projects with you. The impending vacation deadline serves as motivation, and the unplugged long weekend will help you feel fresher in the following weeks.

In Closing

Recognizing that you’re stuck is the first step in getting out of a productivity slump. So don’t be hard on yourself. It happens to everybody at some point. Remember, it will pass, and following these suggestions will help you get through it faster.



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