Admit it, you’ve been ‘at work’ for a couple of hours already but you haven’t really achieved much have you. It’s been a long week, it’s cold outside and you are really looking forward to whatever you are planning this weekend.
You are probably not the only one who finds themself in that position with lunch looming on a Friday but a real sense of un-productivity hanging around. Don’t beat yourself up about it though. We all have those days and in fairness all need them, working flat out often means you miss some basic things out of that proposal or perhaps overlook a massive opportunity if you did something slightly different and less like an automaton. So a more laid back day is good for you – honest – just make sure you don’t waste it.
On days like this, don’t write it off completely just approach your job from a different angle, the freshness of that usually brings with it some fresh inspiration.
1 Make a task list
If you are not gong to be productive today, make a prioritised list of what you should have been doing and still need to do. Organise your tasks in importance and before you leave the office tonight leave it on top of your keyboard. That way it is ready to deal with as soon as you arrive on Monday.
2 Have a brainstorm
Get 10 blank sheets of A4 paper – you may not need them all. Begin thinking abut new projects or existing projects or processes and the many facets to them. How could you do something differently? What contacts may be able to add another dimension. To them? Place the project name in the middle of the paper and build your other thoughts around them to create a spider diagram. When you’re done put them in a file marked ‘inspiration’ and keep that within eyesight of your desk as a constant reminder for future days and weeks and make sure you keep revisiting, building the diagrams and following up your thoughts.
3 Send some emails
Not ones disturbing your colleagues, or ones to your mate who is still travelling the world, but catch upon those important emails you have put off for ages or ones just rekindling business relationships you haven’t followed up for a while. Suggest some dates for potential meet ups and pencil these I your diary.
4 Have a look at the competition
Browse their websites. Any new offers? How is the design better than yours? What’s the user experience like – especially through the buying process. You will be amazed how inspirational this can be and the chances are you will end up being more productive than you normally are on non-non-productive days.
5 Read a trade journal
You probably let them clutter up your desk. You may flick through the contents but when did you last read it cover-to-cover? Do it know. It invaluable research and much better than flicking elastic bands. If you don’t have a journal check out industry relevant online forums, blogs or news aggregators. Understanding what others in the industry are talking about is vital to predicting trends and staying on top of things.
6 Go for a walk
There is a tremendous value in clearing your head. It isn’t just a tool used in tv dramas it is a tool to use in every day real life. Take five minutes and use it it switch off so you come back to your desk refocused. Walk up the road, round the block, to another part of the building, just move and download.
After all that you have probably had the mot productive day of the week without realising it. Success in business is as much about balance as commitment . Taking a different approach every now and then is actually a good thing, the key is to make those less inspiring days productive in some way.