These days everyone has productivity tips to help you do more in your day. They teach you how to maximize your time and effectively cram in as much as possible in as little time as possible. But what happens when nothing works and you just can’t get more done?
That brings us to The Art of Getting More Work Done by Not Working.
My theory suggests that doing less work and getting other things done, leaves you with fewer remaining distractions and then eventually makes it easier to get back to work with no distractions.
Let’s be clear though, we are talking mostly about distractions. The whole idea is to acknowledge the distraction in front of you and remove it, by doing it. Who would have thought? There’s more to it than that though, this article explains the full technique.
Eating can be an energizing distraction if done right.
If you are absolutely starving, have a headache and can’t focus, why don’t you go and eat something. Eating is essential for survival, so I wouldn’t avoid eating. Skipping food unless very carefully and strategically planned is probably not a great idea.
Often times when people can’t focus they turn to eating and proceed to completely pig out and devour an entire box of twinkies. I wouldn’t recommend that. Bad idea. Sugar high proceeded by crash. Don’t eat things that are obviously going to put you in a food comma, use good judgment here.
What should you eat? Imagine you are a personal trainer and you want to keep your rocking body looking and functioning good – eat accordingly. However – avoid high carbs and excess calories. If you are sitting on a computer then you don’t need to eat like a triathlete. This kind of mindset will fuel you appropriately.
Drinking water gives you more energy. Take a water break.
Most people don’t drink anywhere near enough water in a day. There are different opinions on how much you should drink but everyone agrees that it should be at least 8x 8oz glasses per day. Some recommend all the way up to a gallon a day depending on your body weight.
Having a protein shake is also a good choice. Protein is another area that a lot of people are usually not getting enough of. This can also make you feel more energized especially if you don’t get enough protein in a day. I find that having a protein shake in the morning gets me supercharged for the day ahead. Avoid protein shakes with tons of sugar.
Go on a walk in the sun with your dog if you work from home.
Do you have a dog? Go on a walk in the sun. If you don’t have a dog or you don’t work from home or a dog-friendly workplace, go on a walk during lunch.
No matter where you are in the world, with a few exceptions, you should be able to find some sun even if its cold outside.
I always feel a nice balance of relaxed but energized after I go on sunny walks. Bringing the dog helps too as it gives you something to occupy your mind with instead of stressing about anything work related.
Spend five minutes walking barefoot on the grass or ground.
This is a great way to connect with the world around you and refocus yourself. Just spend a few minutes doing this, it doesn’t have to be that long. It centers you, balances you, and grounds you. I find this almost like meditating and generally walk around my house barefoot anyways for the same reason. If you have your own office this may be possible too depending on the environment.
Stretch or exercise.
There’s almost no better way to get the heart pumping than exercising or stretching. This will surely help you refocus later. Obviously don’t run an entire marathon and then work right after. Instead, do a 5-45 minute workout depending on your fitness level and conditioning.
I do this quite often and I will take little 5-15 minute workout breaks and I’ll do some calisthenics. I find that it gets my heart pumping and I’m able to quickly shift that into work focus with the newfound energy.
Achieve sustained energy with this tea hack.
Sometimes people get in the habit of taking a coffee or tea break. That can be a good thing especially if you actually consume the tea or coffee because you’ll probably have caffeine in that.
Here’s an excellent recipe for a version of Titanium Tea that Tim Ferriss came up with. It’s related to Bulletproof Coffee but a tea version. Essentially, it gives you the boost of tea or coffee but without the crash and the energy is sustained for many hours instead of all at once. It’s a slow release type of effect.
Not all distractions are created equal. Don’t engage in every distraction that presents itself.
In fact, there are a lot of things that you shouldn’t do. For example, checking Facebook every 5 minutes, is probably a bad distraction that would make it really hard to get any meaningful work done. I’ll let you check it two or three times a day at most unless you are running ad campaigns, then and especially then you can only check it once.
Speaking of ad campaigns. Over analyzing ad campaigns without collecting enough data and drawing conclusions without enough impressions is the number 1 reason why I see people fail at running ads. You need a lot of data, and hopefully you setup multiple banners, headlines and what not so you have some different variations to compare results on.
Limit how many distractions you engage in per day.
I think it’s super important to get things out of the way that are preventing you from working, but don’t overdo it.People are excellent at coming up with distractions. They’ll get up and distract themselves every few minutes if given the chance.
Choose your distractions wisely and ensure that they have an end game goal of getting you back to work with a newfound focus and energy.
How to turn your distractions into productive work.
Next time you feel distracted and really want to check Facebook or do something else that you know is not going to result in productivity, turn that distraction into work.
For example, every time you open Facebook before you can do anything else, instead of mindlessly scrolling around and gawking – instead focus on doing something that is more work related. If you have a blog that you could promote on Facebook, you can share an article on a group before doing anything else. The point is, you must do something that is work related before you just go browsing your news feed. Figure out something that works for your business.
You are reprogramming yourself to use the web in a different fashion. And from now on, every time you open Facebook (or whatever your major distraction platform is) you have to do a business task like the example above every time before you are allowed to scroll through your feed, look at your notifications or respond to messages.
Turn distractions into positive experiences
A lot of people associate “distractions” with loss of time and negative energy. It doesn’t have to be. There are things you need to do in your life that aren’t going to be work related, so you might as well embrace them. The real trick is finding ways to synchronize and transition your “distractions” into things that get you back on track and working again, hopefully with more energy and more focus.
Brian is an Inc. 500 Entrepreneur, who built the 25th fastest growth marketing and advertising agency in America. Brian is an advisor to many startups and mentor to many entrepreneurs. He is a columnist at the world’s top publications. Brian is the Founder of Influencive and the Founder at BDE Ventures.