When you’re on, you’re on. You arrive to the office early. Your workout for the day is done, having hit the gym before most of your coworkers’ alarms had gone off. You check all of your e-mails by 9 a.m., crank out a blog post by 11, then prepare for your afternoon presentation, attend a few meetings, and send in a first draft for your next e-mail campaign by the time 5 o’clock hits. You go from one project to the next, without ever having to come up for air.
If every day were like this, I would have given up caffeine years ago.
Then, there are days when you’re off. SalesForce.com had a bug. The e-mail campaign you were working on goes through six rounds of edits before launch. Your presentation isn’t finished all because you can’t decide whether to use Prezi or PowerPoint. Oh, and that blog post you were supposed to publish? It’s sitting as a blank Word document.
These are the days that suck every last bit of life from your productivity soul.
You’re not going to be “on” all the time. However, there’s a difference between an off-day where you move at a steady pace (not breakneck speed, but still moving forward) and an off-day so diluted in inefficiency that you are forced to come to work on a Saturday.
To help minimize the damage of your next off day (because you will have them, I promise) follow these simple productivity hacks:
- Don’t get sucked in by news articles
Catching up on new articles is one of the easiest ways to go down the dark hold toward an unproductive morning. Instead of getting caught up in blog posts and your Twitter feed, use Pocket to save material for later reading. Buffer and Hootsuite also both have Chrome extensions, which work great for tweeting articles on the fly.
- Have your snacks delivered
When you hit a bad dose of writer’s block, it’s easy to say, “I’m going to go grab a latte” or “I’m going to run to the store real quick.” Instead of avoiding the task at hand, use Instacart to have snacks delivered to your office (to meet order minimums, team up with your coworkers). If your office has a snack budget, Naturebox is a great snack service, which provides corporate plans.
- Connect your platforms
If you constantly find yourself with 25 tabs open on Chrome, it might be time to automate your day-to-day tasks. Tools like Zapier and IFTT allow you to create workflows between two different platforms. Plug answers from a Wufoo form directly into an Asana task, automatically tweet all your Instagram posts, or even get an e-mail reminder each time there’s rain in the forecast.
- Dine in for lunch
If you’re already moving at a slower-than-usual pace, this is not the time to walk down the street and wait in line for 20 minutes at Chipotle. ZeroCater brings food from restaurants and food trucks directly to your office, so you can stay productive through your lunch hour.
- Upgrade your to-do lists
There is a seemingly endless supply of productivity tools out there: Evernote, Wunderlust, Asana, just to name a few. I have personally latched on to iDoneThis, because it carries uncompleted to-do’s from one day to the next. It also never deletes completed to-dos, so you can keep track of where your at in any given project.
What are some of your favorite tools to keep you focused and productive in the workday? Tell us in the comments!