This is how to get your productivity back on track

Here it is Memorial Day weekend. For most of us that gives us an extra day off. For many of us we are working from home and trying to balance life. This may include kids with school work, buying groceries, doing laundry, maintaining relationships, etc. etc. etc. With everything going on in our lives the question is are you a wonder woman or a super man? The answer is no. We are only human. We can only do so much. There are only so many hours in the day. We are never 100% productive. We all need down time. The question is how do we balance everything and remain sane? Understanding The Collaboration Effect®, associated with connecting relationships, actively listening and educating judiciously let’s explore what to do looking at ourselves instead of others.

There are three steps to this process. These are:

  1. Explore what is keeping you from being unproductive.
  2. Ask yourself why you are feeling so unproductive.
  3. Ask yourself what should I be doing right now.

Let’s take a look at all three of these.


Explore what is keeping you from being unproductive


Connecting with yourself realize that there are times when it is perfectly acceptable to be unproductive. In our society we tend to think we need to always be productive. We all need down time too. We need this to recharge, listen to ourselves, listen to nature and let ourselves unwind by what works for us. It is very important to have a work life balance. What works for you won’t work for anyone else. You need a break. Prayer, meditation, reflection are all ways our brains can reboot and allowing us to come out the other side feeling more refreshed.

On the other hand, busy work, lack of concentration, worrying about other things, and many other distractions can be making us more unproductive. So, the question is how can concentrate better and avoid negative thoughts? The Dali Lama offers some insights. Christianity offers insight from the Bible. Islam offers insights from the Quran. They each emphasize patience, understanding, and looking at the world more broadly than our own current situation. Perhaps seeing where you spend your time and exploring what is important to you can give you some insight to address your concerns.


We are what we measure


Measuring things against a baseline allows us to determine where we have been, how much progress we have mand and how much closer we are to our goal. Think of this in terms of going from point A to point B. How abut in terms of spending and a budget? What about working on losing weight?

Let’s explore where you spend your time and how you recharge yourself.

Do we connect to ourselves and listen to ourselves? Does this this vary throughout the day? Evidence indicates it does.

Dr. Wendy Patrick, PhD found that productivity is a function of time. In the morning carrying out short term memory tasks works best in general. It was also found that age makes a difference. It was found that older adults have peak memory performance in the morning compared with younger adults that appeared to have better memory in the afternoon. In late afternoon (after 2 PM) performance and accuracy really fell off. However, there were no differences relate to executing the tasks.

As the day progresses, we tend to lose self confidence and begin to perceive more negative thoughts.

Knowing this should we spend more time simply going over emails for a significant period to start our day or swallowing the frog and working on that huge task that will take us real concentration? The answer is to focus on the hard and more demanding tasks early.

Take a look at yourself.

Do you work too much?

Are you too worried about things you cannot control?

Are you letting yourself have fun with what you do?        

Mary Poppins taught us

In every job that must be done
There is an element of fun
You find the fun and snap!
The job's a game

This might not always be the case, but still we can look for the fun in each task we take on. Listen to your body to connect with yourself and don’t take yourself to seriously.

Here are some ideas to connect with yourself, listening to your self so that you can educate yourself to take appropriate actions

  1. Plan each day at the end of your day.
  2. Work on the most important tasks at the beginning of the day.
  3. Carry out more mundane tasks near the end of your day.
  4. Schedule meetings with others when you need an energy boost in the midafternoon.
  5. Take a stress break – go for a walk
  6. Am I burning out and do I need to look for another job?


Ask yourself why you are feeling so unproductive


We are very emotional beings. You need to ask yourself some questions such as.

  1. When you last were really motivate to work on something, what was it and why?
  2. What do you enjoy working on and how can I find more work like that?
  3. What is causing you pain now and what would happen if I dropped that work project?
  4. How would you like to spend 80% of your day?
  5. What have you decided is your most important task and why did you make it your most important task?
  6. Are you spending too much time on email, meetings, other distractions and interruptions?
  7. What could you spend more time on that would get you closer to your goals?

By asking yourself questions like these from time to time you can rethink your priorities and determine what is truly most important to you.


Ask yourself what should I be doing right now


In Army Special Forces Training this is a mantra that is embedded into the minds of soldiers. The are constantly asking themselves this question. They focus on one thing at a time, doing it well and moving onto the next activity. We do not multitask. Rather we carry out one task at a time, but switch quickly. It turns out that by focusing on one task at a time we are actually more productive and efficient. So, what does this imply?

If we ask ourselves what it is we should be doing right now, focus on that task and move onto the next task at any given point in time works best.

We feel that we have more control of our lives, giving us confidence and helping us reaffirm ourselves. What we have done is connected with ourselves, listened to our body and educated ourselves to do what is most important to us at any given time.

So, the next time you want to know what you can do to be most productive consider

  1. Explore what is keeping you from being unproductive.
  2. Ask yourself why you are feeling so unproductive.
  3. Ask yourself what should I be doing right now.


About the author


Mike is a former IRS executive that oversaw business valuation nationally and who brought mediation to the IRS Field Specialists Program. He is a professional speaker, mediator/negotiator that helps clients resolve issues and be more productive as a conflict resolution expert. Is conflict blocking your results? You may contact Mike directly at and at (651) 633-5311. Mike has written 11 books including, The Servant Manager, Business Valuations and the IRS, and Peaceful Resolutions that you may find helpful. [Michael Gregory, ASA, CVA, NSA, MBA, Qualified Mediator with the Minnesota Supreme Court]

About the author

Mike Gregory is a professional speaker, an author, and a mediator. You may contact Mike directly at and at (651) 633-5311. Mike has written 12 books (and co-authored two others) including his latest book, The Collaboration Effect: Overcoming Your Conflicts, and The Servant Manager, Business Valuations and the IRS, and Peaceful Resolutions that you may find helpful. [Michael Gregory, ASA, CVA, NSA, MBA, Qualified Mediator with the Minnesota Supreme Court]