Four Steps to Being Productive When You’d Rather Be on Vacation


You are fried after a busy June and now you are counting the hours until you leave for the beach next weekend. Or… you just got back from the beach and a cold, air-conditioned office is the last place you want to be. Too bad those aren’t good excuses for not getting your work done. Instead of chatting with your friends or surfing Pinterest, try this step-by-step approach to being productive, even when it hurts:

  1. Block off 15 minutes. Turn off or hide all of your notifications (cell phone, email, news alerts, etc) and focus on your to-do list.
  1. Organize your to-do list by priority. Is there anything that absolutely has to get done today or even sooner? Put those tasks in a short list.
  1. Then organize your to-do list by size-of-task. Are there any to-dos that could be accomplished in 10 minutes or less? Make a second short list of those items.
  1. Now look at your calendar for the rest of the day. Where you have blocks of open time, complete your “must-dos” first. Then, dive into your “quick task” list. Make it your goal to accomplish as many of them before the end of the day as you can.

Why this works:  You are already distracted today. Going from quick task to quick task fits the mindset that you are already in. Plus, if you approach it in an organized way, you’ll have the added benefit of a shorter to-do list at the end of the day.

If any time management gurus are reading this, they are probably groaning out loud. Yes, the concept of a “quick task list” does go against many proven productivity techniques. But desperate times call for desperate measures. If you have to choose between slacking off and at least shortening your to-do list, wouldn’t you rather have the satisfaction of crossing things off?

How do you survive being distracted in the summer? Share your tips in the comments below!


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