No one expects to be laser-focused on their work 100 percent of the time. Still, it’s frustrating when you can’t seem to concentrate and focus on a single task. Maybe you find yourself distracted while working from home, or maybe you feel overwhelmed by all you need to get done.

With the holidays and the pandemic, it’s easy to lose focus on your work. Fortunately, you can take a few small steps to reset your productivity and get back on track. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share guidance from Eric Barker, creator of Barking Up the Wrong Tree, on how to reboot your productivity.

  1. Focus on progress, not time. If you are constantly watching the clock at work, you are just coasting. To reset your productivity, get into a proactive mode by looking at tasks instead of time and measuring results instead of hours. If you are working from home, Barker recommends using this flexibility to focus on what is important. Do things that move the needle, he says, instead of knocking out the busy work.
  2. Know your magic hours. Some people are most productive in the evening; others do their best work in the morning. Knowing yourself is crucial to rebooting your productivity. Barker says you should leverage what you know about yourself to implement a new strategy. For example, if you know you have the most energy and brainpower after your morning coffee, block off time to accomplish the most critical tasks then.
  3. Tailor a system that fits you. According to Barker, systems beat goals. He says that people who set a goal of losing 10 pounds will often regain the weight while those who have a system of eating right and exercising every day will sustain the weight loss. You can create your own system for productivity by scheduling everything according to when it makes the most sense for you personally.
  4. Create a productivity zone. Whether you are working from home or the office, you can adjust your environment to bolster your productivity. Just as bars are loud and energetic to let you know it’s time to have fun, you need a space that triggers the mindset that it’s time to get things done, says Barker. Try closing an office door, putting on noise-cancelling headphones, or simply going to a spot where you know you won’t be distracted by the TV or other people.
  5. Reach out to others. If you are working from home, you know it can be isolating. Instead of waiting for others to reach out to you, be proactive in your check-ins with your colleagues or superiors. Ask how your sales reps are doing and find out what they might need. And when you are checking in with your boss, come prepared with a list of what you have accomplished. Be conscious of your connections with others and be intentional about maintaining them, says Barker.
  6. Monitor your mood. A big part of motivation comes from your mood. According to Barker, when you are in a good mood, you are not only more productive, but also more effective. He points out a Harvard study that shows that nothing is more motivating than making progress in meaningful work. To leverage this, he suggests keeping an inventory of all the important things you have accomplished. Seeing what you have already done will lift your mood.

If your productivity has lagged the past couple of weeks, give yourself some grace. It’s a busy season in the middle of a pandemic. Fortunately, you can regain your productivity with intention and focus. Put the six strategies above in play to reset your mindset and boost your output.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Eric Barker is the creator of the blog Barking Up the Wrong Tree, which presents science-based answers and expert insight on how to excel in life. His work has been mentioned in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, TIME, The Week, and Business Insider.