You know those times when you leap into your workday with both feet, knock out a ton of important tasks early, and coast into quitting time knowing you just had an amazingly productive day? Unfortunately, not every day can be like that. For every highly productive day, there’s a day where you can’t seem to focus, or something derails your plans. On those days, it can be easy to just give up. After all, if you couldn’t focus in the morning, what makes you think you’ll be able to focus in the afternoon? But before you write off the remaining hours on the clock, try some of these tactics to reset your brain and recover some productivity.

·         Switch gears. Have you been trying (and failing) to write emails? Are you struggling to get through a boring technical task? Try switching to a to-do that uses a different set of skills. This feels like a fresh start, and gives you a new opportunity to be productive.

·         Take a minute. Sometimes we all need breaks! Humans aren’t robots, and we’re not designed to operate at maximum efficiency for eight straight hours, five days a week. Try taking a walk, having a snack, or doing some stretches. Then, approach your work again in ten or twenty minutes, when you feel refreshed.

·         Set a mini goal. Sometimes the guilt and frustration over an unproductive morning can weigh you down and make it even harder to get back on track. Try assigning yourself a quick, achievable task, so you can give yourself a small victory. Sometimes that win can be the beginning of an upward curve. And even if it’s the only thing you achieve that day, at least you can end on a positive note.

·         Identify what’s stopping you. Why haven’t you been productive so far? Are you caught up in social media? Stash your phone in a drawer, or put it on airplane mode. Too many workplace interruptions? Shut your door, put up a “do not disturb” sign — whatever it takes to signal that you need a few hours to yourself. Identify the obstacle, and then take steps to eliminate it.

It stinks to lose the morning to distraction or putting out fires, but it doesn’t need to ruin your whole day! If you can identify when your workday is going off the rails, taking these easy steps gives you the chance to correct it.

Wishing you a productive and successful month! Feel free to call or email me if there’s anything I can do to help.– Sally-Jane Busk with Supreme Lending, 704-609-8600