Productivity on the loose

Productivity on the loose

You know those days when it just starts out incredibly slow? And stays that way? Productivity seems like a definition, that someone once explained to you in high school, but you forgot everything about it. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the most convenient for this kind of mental state.

The thing is that it is hard enough when you have your team lead over your shoulder, watching with keen eyes if you are actually putting something on the table that day. However that is not the problematic one. It’s the day when nobody is there… When everyone is on holiday. The boss, the partner, the college you love to have coffee with, the colleague you hate to have coffee break with (but sometimes they have to make do).

Well here are some tested tips, gathered from savvy veteran colleagues, the internet and brainstorming sessions. With rating:

  1. Coffee (3/5)

Is any explanation needed for this? Go, drink, preferably double shots (of espresso) and if you can swallow it, drink it black. Without the sugar and/or milk (and/or whatever you usually put in it) the taste alone can give you an awakening kick. And all you get is the caffeine.

However it can come with a very mixed result. Heaven forbid you get the elevated heart rate, without the actual energy. You know what I’m talking about, the worst possible scenario to happen during coffeeing up.

  1. The ambitious colleague (5/5)

Technically, it requires to have one of those always full of ideas and energy guys around. But boy if you do. Have a kind of peace offering with you (tea or coffee, if I may suggest, but chocolate can work too) and sit down beside them to listen. The sole amount of aspiration radiating from them can do the trick in simple cases. Just make sure they don’t drag out the conversation more than 21 minutes.

Alternative scenario is when they guilt you into working by simply existing as you see yourself pale in comparison to their agenda. Either way, the result outweighs the sacrifices. What is 1 hour of self-loathing for your laziness, for 2 hours of productive work?

  1. Pump yourself up (4/5)

This one is my personal favorite. You might want to put in some epic music from a couple of movies, or even the motivational speeches. Soundtrack of the battle of Narnia? Elizabeth Swan’s encouragements from Pirates of the Caribbean? All work amazing. Now the next step is to really get into the mood. It might not seem as exciting to report the month end budgets or to check the available stock in the 4000th system, but imagine that the whole country’s future… the whole universe’s future depends on it! Sit on the edge of your chair, if the spreadsheets are not done by 4 pm today the secret services will lose the galactic battle against whichever race is trying to invade us in this time. Feel the blood flowing, imagine the magnitude of the work you do and…

Tough try not to get carried away, but at this point I guess it’s already too late.

  1. Accept the defeat (2/5)

If all else fails, go ahead and do it. Sometimes the day is just useless, you are just useless and well it’s perfectly fine. Once every quarter, if can happen that the biggest achievement at the end of the days it that you actually reached the end of the day. Browse your old mails and delete or archive some that you don’t need anymore. Nicely clean up and organize your desk and time table. Water the plants, get new stationary stuff and check out the new coffee machine on the 6th floor. Basically do those minor little things that need to be done, but works fine in autopilot mode. Never even try to skip anything urgent tough! But maybe that questionnaire to the client can wait one more day (if you already know that the reply is only going to be the “I’m on holiday, loser!” automatic OOO.)

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