3 Ways to Save an Unproductive Week

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It’s one of the worst feelings… finding yourself stuck in a unproductive week.

In fact, it might be happening to you right now.

Turning an unproductive week around is much easier said than done, especially in the middle of a busy week.

But there are a few key ways you can get your week turned around, let me show you a few right now.

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Here are three problems that are symptoms of an unproductive week, and three ways you can turn it around:

Problem #1: Productivity “Whack-a-Mole”

Instead of making a decent plan for yourself, you instead choose to go through your day jumping from one task to another working on whatever task pops up in front of you. It’s not unlike the popular Whack-a-Mole arcade game where you bat down jumping furry animals.

Here’s the Fix: Spend 5 minutes each morning preparing a task list and schedule that spell out all your important activities. This will provide a productivity road map for your day.

Problem #2: The old kitchen sink

It’s a common predicament you might find yourself in. Many people make lists that are just too darn big, an “everything but the kitchen sink” list. That is a productivity killer. It’s easy to fall short of your expectations because there’s never enough time to get everything done.

Here’s the Fix: Try to estimate the time of each task you want to accomplish and compare it to the time slots you see available in the today’s schedule in your day planner. What doesn’t fit must be delegated or pushed to another day. A successful to-do list gets completely checked off. Strive for this victory each and every day.

Problem #3: You’re windmilling

Windmills spend their days tilting in whichever direction the wind blows. That’s their job and they are quite productive. But for you, productivity means staying focused on your tasks despite the winds of distraction blowing around you. Distraction is your biggest productivity killer whether it’s a sudden help request from a co-worker, or Facebook, all distractions lead you away from what truly needs to get done.

Here’s the Fix: Say “no” to requests and try to minimize time spent putting out fires. Delegate tasks you don’t have time to complete, and stay disciplined and focused on your your daily priorities. Unplug yourself from the phone and internet if necessary. Your daily plan of tasks and schedule is your personal commitment, so don’t let yourself down.

A final word of advice:

Give yourself a little breathing room each day. For example, you expect slow traffic on snowy days, right? So make sure you plan your days for all the delays, tangents, and detours life throws at you. Leave extra time for the unexpected and a little extra time for yourself to take a break.

Day-Timer Spokesperson Jeff Doubek can be reached at [email protected]

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