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You Thought You Couldn’t Be Productive When Feeling Depressed, Just Wait Till You Read This

You Thought You Couldn’t Be Productive When Feeling Depressed, Just Wait Till You Read This

Depression takes you by surprise, drains your energy, and leaves you without motivation to accomplish even the simplest tasks on your to-do-list. But never fear – it doesn’t have to render you lifeless! Don’t let your work-life suffer, and don’t feel overwhelmed by all the chores waiting for you at home. Check out these twelve ways to stay productive even when you’re depressed.

1. Practice calming techniques.

Depression can affect people in different ways. It might make you feel frustrated with yourself and your life at all times, or you might feel nothing at all. Regardless of how depression makes you feel, you need to make time in your day to practice calming techniques. Force yourself relax. Clear your mind, close your eyes, let all your muscles unclench, and try to leave the daily grind behind.

2. Have a support circle.

Have people you can talk to about anything. These should be people you can be open and honest with, so you can tell them how your depression makes you feel without worrying that they’re judging you. You should also respect these people so you can value the quality advice they give you to help you through tough times.

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3. Get physical.

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    Sitting on your butt might be making you feel worse! Get out and go for a jog around the neighborhood. If it’s too hot or too cold outside, then go to a gym and get your heart pumping. Lift weights, walk on the treadmill, or try to learn how to use equipment that is new to you. Keeping your body busy will also occupy your mind, and being active instead of stagnant will make you feel better overall.

    4. Start new goals.

    Don’t be deterred by broken resolutions! Who cares if it’s not January anymore? Resolutions don’t have to be started at the beginning of the year, the beginning of the month, the beginning of the week, or even the beginning of the day! You can resolve to change your life at any moment. If your goal is to eat healthier, don’t be frustrated that your breakfast was a pastry – start by eating fruits and veggies for lunch! Starting new goals at any time will make you feel more productive.

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    5. Spend time outside.

    Sit on the porch in the sunshine; lay out in the grass; soak up the great outdoors! Getting fresh air and sunlight will make you feel better than being cooped up inside.

    6. Eat well.

    Eating junk food is going to make your body feel worse, which will in turn bring down your mood. Eat healthy foods, and don’t overeat. You don’t want to feel sluggish when you’re trying to be productive.

    7. Clean.

    Spending time in a messy space is going to make you feel bad, because you’ll feel claustrophobic and unorganized if you’re surrounded by clutter. Take time to clean your work or living space; the act of cleaning will make you feel productive, and you’ll feel great once you have all of your stuff organized.

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    8. Rearrange.

    If your space is already clean, try rearranging it! Moving furniture and wall hangings around will make your space look different and new, and that might rejuvenate your mood. If nothing else, the act of rearranging will give you something to do, and the results you’ll see as soon as you get started will keep you motivated!

    9. Stay healthy.

    You’re already getting physical, going outside, and eating well, right? Then you’re well on your way to staying healthy. Keeping your body in good shape is the best way to keep your mind in great shape! This will elevate your mood and make you feel inspired to be productive.

    10. Be social.

    Depression makes you want to close yourself off to others, but don’t let this urge take over. You need to be around people. Even if you have to push yourself to act interested or like you enjoy their company – do it! Forcing yourself to act social and talk and smile to others will make you feel surprisingly good. You’d think it would make you feel fake, but making yourself smile will actually lead to real smiles. Try it!

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    11. Take breaks.

    Don’t overwork yourself. Take frequent breaks from your tasks, whether it’s a project at work or chores at home. Overworking yourself will wear out your body and mind, which will be inviting the depression to overstay its welcome. If you’re worn out and frazzled, you’ll find it harder to be productive.

    12. Take one step at a time.

    Don’t let your goals seem too daunting. Thinking that something is unattainable will make it even harder to get started, which means you’ll never be productive! Break larger goals into smaller steps that will be easy to accomplish. Make to-do-lists that give you time to tackle each project without feeling like you’re on a tight deadline.

    Featured photo credit: Young business man with problems and stress in the office via shutterstock.com

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    Last Updated on November 19, 2019

    How to Measure Your Team’s Productivity Effectively

    How to Measure Your Team’s Productivity Effectively

    Have you ever looked around your office and thought: my team is busy, but are they productive?

    You can see how much time your team is putting into their work. They come in early, or work late. They fill their calendars with meetings, and respond to every email that comes their way. You know that your team has the best intentions. But what are they actually doing? And is it producing the results you need? You need an effective way to measure your team’s productivity.

    Is there a way to know that all that time they spend devoted to their job is moving your company forward, and not simply spinning their wheels? Is there any productivity measurement you can make use of?

    The most effective way to find out your team’s productivity is to answer the questions below:

    1. Does Your Team Know Where You’re Going?

    One of the best ways your team can improve its productivity is for everyone to understand where you’re going — to have well defined corporate goals, and to focus on only a few at a time. According to John Doerr in his book Measure What Matters:

    In a survey of eleven thousand senior executives and managers, a majority couldn’t name their companies top priorities. Only half of the could name even one.

    If your team doesn’t know the company’s direction, they will have no idea how to do the things that will add value. Bob the Senior Manager might talk to 10 key contacts per day, but he might not know that none of these contacts have bought something from your company in the past year. He doesn’t know that increased sales from your team is an important, which is a way for you to contribute to the company’s key goals.

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    So the first way to measure your team’s productivity is to ask if they understand what is important.

    2. Are You Committed to Your Specific Goals?

    When I was CFO at a small startup, we worked hard to clarify a handful of important goals. The company was early stage, so our three goals were: fundraising, corporate partnerships, and pipeline product development.

    But the CEO had Shiny Object Syndrome. Every time someone mentioned an interesting idea in the industry, he wanted to give it a try. We found ourselves assessing several product acquisition opportunities which would require a complicated debt agreement. As the CFO, I was dragged into days of work on these side projects.

    As a result, our progress on fundraising and corporate partnerships stalled, which created a fire drill as time went on. We managed to raise funds in the nick of time, but missed our corporate partnership goals.

    It was impossible to be productive as a team when we were running in so many different directions. We would pivot every time the CEO found something new and interesting.

    The lesson is, while it’s critical to have defined goals, they won’t create a more productive team unless you commit to them.

    3. Do You Have a Leading Indicator of Performance?

    Once you’ve determined the few key goals for your company, you communicate them to your team, and commit to those goals (without chasing down every shiny object). The next step is to see if you have an indicator that measures your team’s performance.

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    Many companies use a P&L (profit and loss) statement to measure performance. And that is an important piece of the puzzle. But by the time you look back on the month, quarter, or year, all the activities that went into the P&L already happened, and all you can do is respond to them. But as Geno Wickman writes in Traction: Get A Grip On Your Business:

    According to an old business maxim, anything that is measured and watched is improved.

    So instead of looking backward, think about what you can measure to look forward in your business.

    Let’s revisit Bob the Senior Manager, who talks to 10 key contacts per day. Talking to contacts can be one lead indicator, but that’s not enough. Talking to those 10 contacts is not generating the sales, and everyone on your team now understands is a key goal. But if you track the steps in his process, you can determine what is working and what isn’t. And better optimize your team’s productivity.

    So for Bob, he could track the number of inbound versus outbound calls, the number of in-person versus phone conversations, the number of times he needs to talk to a contact before they make a purchase, and then the number of sales per week/month/quarter.

    Keeping track of each step will give a much better metric of what is working and where things are breaking down. It will also tell you the most productive step.

    For example, after tracking all the steps, Bob could realize that he makes 3 times more sales after in-person meetings than he does after phone conversations. So the way to measure Bob’s productivity is to keep track of his percentage of in-person meetings.

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    4. Does Everyone Know Who Owns What?

    So your corporate goals are set. Everyone understands which direction the company needs to go, but that doesn’t meant that everyone on your team knows exactly what they are supposed to do. How they, individually, contribute.

    Accountability is a key component to measure your team’s productivity. It is critical that everyone knows, understands, and owns their independent actions that contribute to the organization as a whole.

    When everyone is held accountable for their contribution, your team is more productive. They know what other people seek in them. And when team members show both ownership and accountability, your team develops trust in each other.

    Trust means less people checking or duplicating other team members’ work, or wasting time micromanaging; and a much more efficient workplace.

    5. Is Your Team Making Decisions?

    The ability to make decisions is an effective way to measure your team’s productivity. Decision making is difficult for almost everyone. People don’t want to commit, in case the idea is wrong or something better comes along, especially in a team environment.

    But in Napoleon Hill’s classic book Think and Grow Rich, he mentioned a study that analyzed 25,000 people that had experienced failure. In that study, lack of decision-making, or procrastination, was one of the major causes of failure.

    If you find that your team is spending a lot of time kicking a can down the road, instead of picking a direction, it’s likely that your team is not as productive as you might hope. Kicking that can take up a lot of time and energy, and can often take more time than simply picking a direction and then pivoting later.

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    6. Is Your Team Focused on What Is Urgent, or What Is Important?

    So you’ve set and communicated a few, clear goals. You have found your leading indicators, and your team has the power and ability to make decisions. But they still aren’t reaching their targets. You still feel like they are working hard, but their results are not reflective of their actions…

    Take a deeper dive into what is slowing them down. Some productivity slowdowns come from a team culture that requires immediate responses to email and days filled with meetings. It’s easy to use these actions as a proxy for productivity. But they aren’t actually producing anything.

    So take a look at the daily actions of your team. Find out what they are doing that isn’t directly related to the communicated goals.

    Help them prioritize the important tasks versus the ones that feel urgent because they showed up out of the blue. Remind them that it’s okay to address unexpected tasks but, as David Allen recommends:

    Do unexpected work as it shows up, not because it is the path of least resistance, but because it is the thing you need to do vis-a-vis all the rest.

    The Bottom Line

    There are a lot of ways to measure and enhance your team’s productivity. But even if you find that your team is struggling with several of these issues at the same time, don’t change everything at once. Pick a few things that stand out the most. See what works in your unique workplace and what doesn’t.

    Take a few mindful steps toward a more efficient environment and be consistent. Productivity is always intentional.

    Remember, it doesn’t mean that everyone on your team has to perfectly managed every moment of every day. The goal is to focus on actions that create the results you want and minimize the ones that don’t.

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    Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

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