Scott H Young

Quit Procrastinating! 20 Ways to Energize Out of Your Slump


Slump

Is the caffeine wearing off? Don’t let a temporary slump ruin your day. Energizing yourself means physically, mentally and emotionally refocusing your efforts back to work.

Here’s twenty ways to kill that slump and get your work done:

  1. Stop! – Either continue working fully or stop working entirely, nothing in-between. Don’t pull up your e-mail, feed reader or browser to make yourself feel busy. Completely stop for a few seconds, close your eyes and breathe. Even sixty seconds can refocus your mind back where you want it.
  2. Know Your Goal – Take a few seconds to visualize what you want to accomplish. See how this outcome connects to bigger goals.
  3. Eat Fruit – Give your blood sugar a kick. An apple is healthier than a candy bar and eating it will give you a boost of energy until you rebuild momentum.
  4. Define the Stop Time – Are you going to work for another solid 30 minutes? 1 hour? 3? You can’t pace yourself in a run if you don’t know the length. Know how long you need to endure and you can focus your energy to finish up to the last mile.
  5. Reward After – Find something you like and promise you will give it to yourself only after you complete another section of work. Don’t muddle this up by rewarding yourself early or avoiding the reward. Early rewards defeat the purpose. Ignored rewards mean you aren’t giving yourself a prize valuable enough to motivate you.
  6. Cut Distractions – Unplug the internet, shut the door and hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign. Eliminate all the distracting elements until you only have one focus, your work. Turn off any alerts and warnings your computer might want to give you for the next hour or two.
  7. Carve Out the Next Chunk – Don’t commit to an infinite to-do list. Chunk out a section of your project the you want to work on next.
  8. Weigh the Benefits – Weigh out the benefits of accomplishing your goal in your mind. Seeing the meaning in your tasks should give you a boost of motivation. If it doesn’t, it’s time to seriously question why you are doing it in the first place.
  9. Pump the Tunes – I like to play a little music to get myself engaged. When it is too distracting I cut it off, but it is a good tool for getting yourself focused again. Just make sure its on a playlist so you don’t have to constantly switch tracks.
  10. Resist the Urge to Multitask – Focus on one thing, not two or twenty. An hour of deep focus can produce more than a dozen hours of divided focus.
  11. Brainstorm - Kill your block by brainstorming ideas. A little mental aerobics will come up with new ideas and engage your mind.
  12. Switch Gears – Shift from a logical task to a creative one. Move from a social task to a solitary one. Switch up the activity to use different parts of your brain and rest others while continuing to be productive.
  13. Reframe – Change how you perceive the work ahead of you. Are you imagining a crushing mountain of drudgery or a small list of tasks? Is there a light at the end of the tunnel or just a dark abyss? Switch metaphors in your head to keep your emotions in check.
  14. The Ten Minute Rule – Commit only to working another ten minutes. This is a great tool for pushing through idea blocks or disruptions in momentum. After the ten minutes are up you can decide if you want to finish, by which time the procrastination will be cured.
  15. Take a Real Break – If your procrastination is happening after a long period of work, your body might be telling you something. Slow down and take a real break to move your mind away from work and recover your energy.
  16. Hack the Task - Change the task to make it more enjoyable, creative and fun. You could write just another article, or you could write an article where every sub-heading is the title of a song. Mow your lawn in a circular pattern or fold laundry without folding the same type of clothing twice in a row. Task hacking can even give you a better result than you initially started with.
  17. Deadline It - Take out a timer, punch in 60:00, outline 60 minutes of work in your to-do list and go! Read this article for more info to maximize your deadline productivity.
  18. Random Activity – Make a game out of it. Write the numbers one to six on your to-do list and roll a dice. Then complete whatever it lands on.
  19. Burn Those Ships - Cut off any possible mode of retreat from your work. Give your friend a key and lock yourself in a room for an hour. Give her your internet cable until you finish the work.
  20. “I’m Procrastinating!” – Say it out loud to yourself. Sometimes the admission is enough to kick you out of a state.

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15 Responses to “Quit Procrastinating! 20 Ways to Energize Out of Your Slump”

  1. Eduardo says:

    I would like to add one more to your list Scott. This is a technique I call…get Big Mo on your side. Bascially its to make a list of easy to do things to get you started. After a while you get momentum and you can then tackle the bigger items… If you are interested here is a short article I wrote..

    Truthteller site
    http://www.reddeerblog.com/2007/04/get-big-mo-on-your-side.html

  2. Boss says:

    ive seen a lot better procrastination lists but its good you tried

  3. Scott Young says:

    Boss,

    Fair enough. I wanted to approach from a more energy management rather than time management perspective, so that leads to different advice.

    You might want to check out Leo’s guest post for his rendition. It was fairly popular and might suit you better:

    http://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2007/05/21/20-procrastination-hacks/

    He takes the more traditional time management approach, not to mention being a fantastic writer on productivity himself.

    -Scott

  4. […] Scott H Young » Quit Procrastinating! 20 Ways to Energize Out of Your Slump Is the caffeine wearing off? Don’t let a temporary slump ruin your day. Energizing yourself means physically, mentally and emotionally refocusing your efforts back to work. (tags: productivity) […]

  5. You’re right on with that list! Even though I’ve accomplished a lot with my life (I’m a deaf guy who is a former stockbroker turned motivational speaker, author and pilot, I’ve procrasinated plenty of times! And your list is surely a useful list!).

    Scott, I wonder if you’d be interested in writing a post at your blog about how you deal with overcoming or dealing with adversity? I am doing an interactive experiment over at my blog at http://adversityuniversity.blogspot.com/2007/06/secrets-of-dealing-with-adversity.html and would love to have you participate. I’ll bet you’d have some interesting things to say about your experiences in dealing with adversity. Won’t you join me?

  6. Scott Young says:

    Stephen Hopson,

    Sounds like a neat idea. I’ll consider writing something in my posting lineup this week.

  7. […] Quit Procrastinating! 20 Ways to Energize Out of Your Slump ~ from the Scott H Young blog […]

  8. […] highly recommend you bookmark this blog. Lots of amazing tips and inspiration. He even has some tips on my chronic illness – […]

  9. […] a deadline comes close, anxiety rises. Even when you’re not procrastinating, the intensity of the work you need to do to get the job done rises as the deadline comes […]

  10. […] a deadline comes close, anxiety rises. Even when you’re not procrastinating, the intensity of the work you need to do to get the job done rises as the deadline comes […]

  11. […] a deadline comes close, anxiety rises. Even when you’re not procrastinating, the intensity of the work you need to do to get the job done rises as the deadline comes […]

  12. marc says:

    Great approach! This list is really helpful. Back to work now!

  13. Rachel says:

    I procrastinated by looking up ways to not procrastinate… -_- Dang…

  14. Yasmin says:

    Can I just say… I love you x]

    yea. Without this, I would have never done anything… this page may have been what got me accepted into university =) thank you so much

Debate is fine, flaming is not. Pretend that this comment form is a discussion taking place in my house. That means I enjoy constructive criticism and polite suggestions. Personal attacks, insults and all-purpose nastiness will be removed especially if it is directed at other readers.

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