Summer is the time for vacations here in America. Loads of people get out of the office, head to the beach, to the mountains and elsewhere with family and friends. In late June and early July, I took a few days away from work, relaxing with family. While I expected some loss of focus and productivity when I got back into the office the next week, I struggled to get back into the swing and rhythm of work in the office. To encourage, cajole and force myself back to an acceptable level of productivity, I rely on a number of techniques.
Here are my tips and techniques for getting back into the game, recapturing focus and restarting the engine of productivity.
Write My Daily Goals
Over the years I’ve learned a lot from Brian Tracy, a leading professional development trainer. One of his most valuable practices is the writing of daily goals. In a nutshell, the practice involves spending a few moments in the morning to list my top 10-15 life goals. For me, the list includes a mix of professional, personal, spiritual, health and financial goals. In taking the time to list these goals (in a notebook, writing in pen), I remind myself of those goals which are most important to me. I use the goal-writing process to help me dive into a productive day.
Lean on My Daily Schedule
While I am a devoted technophile, I place great value in pen and paper. I start my work day by printing up a day calendar. On that calendar, I have the day broken into 30 minutes slots. After filling in my pre-arranged meetings, calls and appointments, I pencil in various tasks from my to do list. This quick process allows me to plot out my entire day. I know what I will be doing and when. This approach helps keep me on task and focused throughout the day.
As the day proceeds, I rely on my handwritten schedule to remind me what I should be doing. It provides strong visual encouragement to get me back on task.
Listen to My Favorite Podcasts
There are some truly wonderful podcasts out there on practically every topic under the sun. I listen to a whole range of programs. Yet the following the ones are what I turn to when I need help getting back on track.
- Advanced Selling Podcast: Sales coaches Bill Caskey and Brian Neale talk through a range of topics geared to helping their listeners to be better sales people. I find the podcast does a great job of offering insight on hardwork, focus, self-determination and more.
- The Dradcast: Each week, Brad Williams and Dre Armeda talk about the latest news and happenings in the WordPress community with a new host. While the conversation focuses on WordPress, they invariably talk about running your own business, entrepreneurism and networking.
Go for a Fast Run
I appreciate the value of exercise as a way to stay healthy and focused on work. When struggling to get back into the swing of work, I make time to go for a fast paced run. I’m no marathoner, so if I want to run quickly, I keep the distance to less than 2.5 miles. Then I make the point to run as quickly as a I humanly can. The confidence and sense of accomplishment that I get from that dash gives me the pick-up I need to get back into the office with a real focus.
What Works for You?
Without a doubt, the tricks that work for me won’t be right for everyone. I’d love to hear what other ideas or advice others might have to getting themselves back into the game after a break.