There are days where getting my tasks done is just too difficult. My mind races, I get distracted by email, my feed reader is going nuts, a new beta app is released, the tasks at hand seem too overwhelming, etc. Before long, the day has passed and the items on my task list were not even touched.
Here are ten tips I’ve learned to break out of that funk and get moving on your work.
1. Set a deadline and communicate that to your customer. There is nothing like a deadline to get your butt moving.
2. Listen to some music while you work – turn up the volume. I find listening to music helps to put me in a whole different zone that is often needed to get some work done.
3. Communicate to your peers that you are “going dark” – tell them to call you if they need you. Then, shut down your email, clear your cookies so there is a barrier to check your feeds, and launch that application where you’ll be spending most of your time.
4. Find a quiet spot in your house, go to the library, go to a coffee shop and be prepared to stay there the whole day working on nothing but that project. Be careful, though – a coffee shop is a great way to get distracted and that is not what you need. The change of scenery will do you good, though. I’ve found the private study rooms in a library are a fantastic place to “lock yourself up”.
5. Compile your task list in to something very simple like a paper notebook. Use something that won’t distract you. This is not a good time to try out a new task management software app because you’ll spend a few hours just figuring out how it works, how to integrate your tasks to Outlook, etc.
6. Don’t install any beta software for a month. Stay stable on your current production environment. Beta app testing is a huge time sink.
7. Go to bed by 9:00 pm and wake up early, like 4:00 am or something. Make some coffee / tea. You’ll get more done in those early house than you will at any time during the day – no feeds, no email, no phone calls. When waking up early, set a deadline of say 1 hour to peruse feeds, check email, follow-up on emails that were flagged from the following day. Then, get to work on the tasks at hand.
8. Pick initial tasks that won’t take long to complete, then slowly move on to other tasks.
9. Turn off notifications in your email client.
10. Close your computer and go outside for a 20 minute walk. Leave your phone behind.
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