Staying Productive During the Winter Blues

We are neck deep in snow and desperately waiting for the day when the sun stays up past 5:30pm on our commute home. It’s hard to stay motivated during these times. The feeling is felt at home and at the office. So how can we break the sluggish routine that is putting us in a funk? I myself struggle with staying productive from time to time but I’ve found a few great tips that work for my schedule and might for you as well:

Time Block

Calendars have always been my thing. In school, I would color code each of my classes and make sure that all my assignments and extra-curricular activities were added. As a busy kid, this provided a lot of stress relief. Now I’ve gone away from the traditional paper calendar and rely on Google Calendar. With grassroots work, you can’t always predict how your day is going to go and that can be difficult at times. Getting into a habit of time blocking has drastically improved my time management and sanity for the days that could have easily gotten away from me. Similar to what I used to do in school, I’m able to color code each of my activities on Google Calendar. I have a chunk of time for driving, media monitoring, responding to calls/emails, meetings, writing, and even 20 minutes to relax/recharge.

Utilize Drive Time

Whether it’s to work, client meetings, visiting friends/family, or something else, you spend a lot of time in your car. In order to make sure I don’t get distracted by incoming emails, calls, or texts I make sure my phone is on silent. What’s been a game changer has been PODCASTS. When my phone is on silent I plug in a new podcast and focus on that. There are some really great options out there for development (career and self). I’ve grown to love my drive time because it’s a chunk of time in my day that I can pause from work or home life.

Make a list, check it twice…or more

Even with time blocking, tasks get added to my list throughout the week that I don’t always account for. When that happens, I like to make lists. When I first started making lists, I just put everything down and tackled the top of the list first. This is a fine way at achieved your goals however it might not always be the most productive. What I’ve found (through MUCH trial and error) is knocking out the difficult tasks first speeds up the process. If I allow myself too much time to think about the harder tasks, I tend to put them off. Getting them done as soon as possible makes the rest of the items way more manageable. Also…the physical act of crossing things out feels so satisfying.

Sweat it out

Okay, this might seem a bit obvious but bear with me! I am the first to say that after a long day the last thing I want to do is go work out. However, just going for a walk around the block or taking your dog to the park does so much to boost your energy levels—and your pet’s. In the winter this might seem daunting but you’ll feel better.

-Mary