I’m sure I’m not the only one who has those days, the ones where your head is so foggy and unfocused you can’t concentrate on anything. You sit at your desk staring blankly at a computer screen mindlessly scrolling, hopping from window to window. It happens, we’re not work machines, we’re just human beings who sometimes need a break.
Now, I appreciate that not everyone has the flexibility at work to be able to control their own schedule, and I’ll admit that most of these tips are designed for freelancers, work from homers, or people who can control their work a little more. That said, I hope that some of these tips will apply regardless of your situation, so read on. I’d also love to hear from those of you in more traditional job roles, how do you handle these days?
Prioritise your to do list.
A lot of the time when I feel unfocused, it comes from having too much to do and not knowing when to start. When I’m struggling to concentrate, the first thing I do is write a new to do list with my non negotiables for the day, the things I absolutely have to achieve. Reducing my list to the necessities normally helps motivate me to get started.
What do you need to be productive?
As a journalling exercise once, I made a list of everything I need to be my most productive self. It was kind of an interesting exercise because it made me look outside the just ‘have a to do list and get on with it’. For me, I need a hot cup of coffee, I need to be well fed, I need a motivational playlist, social media to be turned off, fresh air and a clean and tidy work environment. Figure out what you need, and optimise your workspace.
Create a network of people with similar schedules you can chat with.
Whether it’s your deskmate in an office job, or a local freelancer in a similar field to you, it really helps on these days to have someone you can chat to, bounce ideas around with, and you can help each other get fired up. I’ll pick up the phone on my girl Kelly, or see if Sam is up for working in a coffee shop together. It helps to have someone you can ask for advice, clarity and who can keep you motivated and accountable.
Listen to an inspiring podcast.
Sticking your headphones in and listening to a work/business related podcast is always a sure fire way to get me motivated and concentrating. Something about listening to badass boss women talk really spurs me on! I love Hashtag Authentic, The Little Chapters, Ted Talks and Ctrl Alt Delete.
Relocate if you can.
Sometimes I need to just get out of my own head on foggy days, and packing up my work to head to a fresh location is exactly what I need. I’ll take my laptop to a local coffee shop, the library, or even down the beach on a good weather day. The change of scenery, walk and fresh air all do wonders for mood + concentration levels.
When all else fails, rest.
You wouldn’t run a car when the gas tank is empty, and you can’t expect miracles when your body is exhausted. If you can take a break, have a walk, a nap, read a book, whatever you need to clear your head and come back to work with a refreshed focus. There’s no shame in needing a rest.
What do you do on days when your brain isn’t co-operating?