5 Unexpected Things You Can Do to Help Improve Productivity

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@odincontreras via Twenty20

Hitting and sustaining a super high level of productivity is one of the ultimate grind goals. There’s no greater feeling than being a step ahead. And real talk: The sensation of winning at life is truly a natural high. But unfortunately, that’s not always the reality. And that’s fine, knowing that it puts everyone through the wringer at some point.

While certain people encounter this productivity buzz more often than others, everybody eventually has to suffer through slumps, whether it’s struggling to juggle everything on a never-ending to-do list or simply experiencing a dip in motivation. It helps to know that it happens to the best of us; bruh, even Elon Musk has setbacks—it is humankind’s greatest common denominator. 

Let’s lay it out: You lead a busy life, information is constantly thrown at you and you’re doing your best to always reach the finish line. But staying focused can be a tough feat, especially when the day-to-day minutiae requires your undivided attention, the span of which can prove to be on the short side. Obstacles are very real. Things don’t get done on their own, so devising a strategic system can determine the fate of your checklist and can be critical to snapping you out of a productivity lull.

We’ve all heard of the usual tricks, like taking a walk or doing some desk stretches (which are fine and good and will certainly provide some attention assistance), but we’re going deeper and sharing some more creative methods to help with your daily productivity. 

To infinity and beyond.

1. Take a Nap

Wait, say what?

Yup. But make it a power nap. If you’re sitting at your desk midday completely unable to focus but determined to keep toiling until you get a second wind (to no avail), just do yourself (and your employer) a favor and go lie down. Set an alarm for 20 minutes—or 30 minutes, max—shut those eyes and wake up feeling like a new person who’s mentally equipped (read: rested) for productivity.

2. Start a Side Hustle

That T-shirt line you’ve always wanted to launch? Those photography gigs you’ve been meaning to go for? If you’re having a tough go of feeling motivated at work and dragging to carry out your tasks, it could be that your gray matter is understimulated. Temporarily shifting your attention to something you’re really passionate about will reinvigorate your brain and make you want to accomplish literally everything. It’s an invaluable motivator. Nothing will push your a$$ like your noggin on fire. 

f you’ve been waiting for a sign, this is it.

3. Go for a Workout

Being restless at work isn’t good for anyone. It’s bad form for you, your boss, your colleagues and ultimately your company. If only hitting the reboot button on your brain was possible, you might think to yourself. Great news: Leaving the office to exercise in the middle of the day essentially does just that, resetting your mind and refocusing your energies. Once you’re back at your desk, you’ll be ready to do the damn thing.

4. Plan Rewards

Got some daunting tasks you’ve been putting off and really dreading, aka unproductively procrastinating? Identify some little joys to reward yourself with after whatever you’ve been avoiding gets done. Nothing like the promise of a treat, in whatever form, to incentivize yourself.

5. Self-Impose Some Sanctions

In the same way that you’re looking forward to your reward when you get your stuff done, also prepare a punishment to light the fire from under you. Think of something truly awful that you’ll be obligated to do if you don’t complete what you’ve been tasked with, like donating to the political party you don’t support, for example. If you dread what could await you more than your actual responsibilities, you’ll get in the zone real quick.

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