The summer slowdown is upon us. Right now you may feel a little unmotivated, to say the least. Unless you're one of those lucky people who works from the beach, it can be hard to concentrate on the task at hand during the summer months.
You may be dreaming of your vacation and time off, but if there's still work to do then you need to find a way to kick your motivation into high gear -- fast.
The truth is, if you keep waiting for inspiration to strike, you'll be waiting forever. Procrastination can be difficult to overcome, but it all starts with tiny steps that help you take action, then building off that momentum to propel you forward.
If you're stuck in the summer slump, try one of these productivity tricks to get your head back in the game and get things done:
Identify exactly what's stopping you.
When you attempt to get started on something, what causes you to give up? Pay attention to the reasons why you procrastinate. By playing the observer, you can spot where your excuses or self-doubt may be tripping you up.
Work in sprints.
In software development, a sprint is a burst of focused, short-term effort on a single feature. You can take a note out of the Agile playbook and apply it to your own work. Time-bounding helps you leverage the power of small wins. By making your goals concrete and measurable, you'll be able to appreciate and be motivated by your progress.
For example, design a mini-challenge to tackle over the next seven-to-30 days. This could be mapping out a strategic plan that you've been too busy to work on. Consider what would get you excited. How about learning new skills or setting up a few networking lunches? Internal motivation is a surefire way to short-circuit procrastination.
Get competitive -- with yourself.
How many times have you said: "I'll spend all morning working on this," only to find yourself distracted and disappointed by lunch? Our brains can focus intensely for only 20-40 minutes at a time, so craft your productivity periods around this.
Set a timer for 25 minutes (do not use your phone -- too easy to get distracted!). Work nonstop, racing against yourself to get as much done as possible. Using the Pomodoro Technique helps you make headway quickly and avoid falling victim to inertia.
After you're done, give yourself a break. Stretch. Get up and walk around. Head outside to take in the summer sun. After all, productivity is fruitless if it doesn't allow you to enjoy life.