How To Recover Quickly When Your Productivity Is Destroyed

5 Actions You Can Take To Get Your Day Back On Track

Sometimes even the most productive people have days where they find it difficult to get into their groove and get things done.

Have you ever had a day, which you started off with the intention to get a lot done, only to find yourself distracted or sidetracked by other things?

The good news is that it happens to all of us. While having an intention to get certain things done on a given day is better than not having any intention, there will be times when unexpected things occur.

If we are not prepared to deal with such instances, we will:

  • Lose valuable time.
  • Slow down our progress.
  • Experience reduced levels of motivation.
  • Delay how quickly we get things done.

How to recover quickly from unproductive days

Recently at the start of a day, I lost my internet connection. For a brief moment, I noticed myself going into panic mode after checking with my internet provider that service would not be restored for around eight hours.

It’s quite amazing how dependent we have become on the internet. As I rely on the internet to do research and also share content, I stopped to consider my options because I knew I did not want to “lose” a whole day. My options included:

  1. Use my phone as a hot spot and get internet access via my phone data.
  2. Go to the library and use the public wifi for internet access.
  3. Work on tasks that did not require internet access.

I chose to work on tasks that did not require internet access because I did not want to waste time travelling plus I still had access to emails or messages via my phone. As I already had a plan for the week, I was able to shuffle things around and move forward other projects I had to work on.

It’s inevitable things will happen that can take us off course, so it’s important to have ways to get back on track. Here are five things we can do to regroup and refocus whenever we find our productivity is affected so that we can continue to get done the things we want to.

  1. Take a break. Sometimes it’s best to get away from what we are doing. This can mean getting some fresh air or getting hydrated. Giving our brain a break from constant focus is a way to regroup our thoughts, re-engage our bodies and refocus on what we need to do next. At a minimum, we should take a short break at least once every hour.
  2. Revisit your priorities. We often allow ourselves to get sidetracked or distracted because we have many things that we want to get done. The reality is we can only work on one thing at a time. When we find ourselves slacking off, that’s a good time to evaluate what’s most important to us and recommit to it. One question we can ask is, “What’s one thing I can work on now so that when I reflect back on my day, I will feel good about the progress I made?”
  3. Let go of things not important. Having too many things going on at once can result in overwhelm, stress and frustration. When we are not operating at our best, it often means we are not working to our strengths or working on things are not important right now. That’s the time to let go of unnecessary activities we have been doing.
  4. Do something different. When I have been working on one thing for a long period of time, I sometimes find it hard to continue to stay motivated. That’s a trigger for me to do something different. Usually I need to disengage from what I am doing and that could be by watching something funny, reading a book for a short period of time or even taking a nap. These all help me refresh and ready to get back to what I was doing.
  5. Engage your body. It’s amazing how much of a difference doing something physical can make to our concentration levels and how much we get done. For me, this means going for a brisk walk, doing some stretches or push-ups, and also doing some deep breathing. Re-engaging our bodies facilitates a better flow of energy through us, which will help us get focused again quickly.

We should not feel guilty when we have bad days but it’s more important to recognise when we are not operating at our best because we will be able to apply strategies or tactics to get our day back on track. When we consistently have productive days, that’s when we accelerate the achievement of our goals and feel good about ourselves.

Action Step: Next time you find your productivity getting derailed, take a break from what you are doing so that you can regroup and refocus on what you want to get done.

Question: What is something else we can do whenever our productivity is destroyed?

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