Some days, getting back to work is a real struggle. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by our endless to-do list or tempted by the social media or news just a tab away. And we can quickly find ourselves zoning out and procrastinating the work that needs to get done. So how do you shift gears and actually get back to work? Try these five proven strategies to get going again and finish what needs to get done:
Just Start, And Start Small
The hardest part of getting back to work is always—getting back to work—or, actually starting up again. But every big project is really just a compilation of small, simple steps. A proposal is started with just one word. A phone call is started with dialing one number. A new initiative is started with just one e-mail. Everything is started by just—starting. It can feel overwhelming to get started when you don’t know how to complete the entire project or have clarity over what the end result will look like. So don’t. Instead, just start.
Reach Out for Support
According to Newton’s Law of Inertia, an object at rest will stay at rest unless acted on by an outside force. Or, in other words, you’re unlikely to get yourself moving again without a little support. It’s really hard to get started up again once you’ve stopped something. So odds of willing ourselves there without some outside force are pretty low. That means that you need something outside of yourself–like a friend or colleague–to re-motivate yourself.
Make a Smart to-Do List
Getting back to work feels overwhelming when there’s a lot to do. And, these days, the endless tasks on our to-do lists make it hard to even begin to tackle them. When we’ve got a really long to-do list, our first instinct is actually to avoid doing anything rather than even look at that laundry list. So, instead of focusing on all of the tasks, get smarter with your to-do list.
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Reward Yourself for Completing the Task
When we’re not feeling motivated, the most effective way to turn it around is to create motivation. Create some reward that you’ll give yourself if you complete the task at hand—it could be an afternoon walk, an ice cream sundae, or an hour of video games at the end of the workday. Whatever reward you choose, just make sure it’s one that actually excites you and that you’ll look forward to.
Take a Time-Restrained Break
We all need natural breaks from work. While it might feel like we just need to plow forward and push ourselves to finish the work, research actually shows that short breaks can actually improve focus, replenish energy, and increase productivity.
How do you stay focused?
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