Guest post by Hillary Pitts, Product Marketing Manager, Consumer Apps at FullContact
We’ve all been there – when the clock strikes 3pm and the afternoon slump settles in on a workday. If I’m going to be honest, I’m at one of those times as I sit here writing this. Productivity crashes are never fun, and they can be hard to bounce back from. Getting back on track doesn’t have to be difficult or require some crazy brain hack.
Here are three simple tips I’ve picked up over the last few years that can help with getting back to a productive state:
Start by being unproductive
This may sound counterintuitive, but trust me – it can work wonders. Sometimes if you’re stuck on a problem, the best way to find the solution is to step back and partake in “hammock driven development”. Getting away from your screen and changing your environment can even help you find a more creative solution than you wouldn’t have thought up had you not changed anything at all. There is a reason FullContact offers paid paid vacation with the stipulation that you must fully unplug. Without time to disconnect and recharge, you might be doing more harm to you and your team’s productivity, and you could potentially burn out.
Pick one task to focus on (and stick with it!)
Part of what can cause productivity to crash is trying to manage multiple tasks at one time. To refocus, pick a single task to tackle – maybe it’s a timely one or a “quick win” that will give you the boost you need to get back on track. Momentum dashboard is a great tool to help you focus on one thing at a time. If you get distracted and go to open a new browser window, Momentum will be front-and-center to remind you what really needs to be done. For those days when you’re REALLY struggling, try closing all of the browser tabs you no longer need, so you can further remove distractions. Another tip I follow is turning off distractions – close email windows and snooze Slack for a bit. If you must leave email open, you can use SaneBox so only the most important emails can divert your attention.
As cheesy as it may sound, sometimes taking a breather can be the best remedy for a productivity crash. Focusing on your breathing for even just a few minutes can be all it takes to refocus on the task at hand. If you need a bit more of a push to work through getting centered, I highly recommend the Calm app. The app has guided meditations aimed at all levels and for all goals (and yes, they do even have a meditation guide specific to refocusing at work!).
These three tips are high-level for a reason. Take the general theme of them and make it your own to uncover what works best for you. For some, going through all three tips – as if they were steps – might work best. For others, an abbreviated version of one of these tips might suffice. Getting back to being productive is a personal task, and challenge, that you can hack by experimenting your way to the right solution for that works for you.
Hillary Pitts manages Product Marketing for FullContact’s suite of contact management apps. When she’s not working, you can find her listening to podcasts, attending meetups, and obsessing over the latest in blockchain technology.