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Stay Motivated and Productive By Going Into Energy Saver Mode

Stay Motivated and Productive By Going Into Energy Saver Mode

Whether you’re ill, tired, or just woke up on the wrong side of the bed, sometimes you just don’t feel like attacking the day the way you normally do. But that doesn’t mean that obligations like your job, chores, and family responsibilities conveniently go on hold for you. (If only.) You still have to find a way to make it through the day—preferably while checking off all the necessary to-dos.

So how do you stay productive when all you want to do is crawl back under the covers? By taking a cue from your computer and going into “energy saver mode.”

Here are the key components of operating in energy saver mode to stay motivated:

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1. Only take care of the most crucial tasks.

We’re a society that likes to Get Things Done, but when you’re not feeling up to par, you need to let go of the things on your to do list that aren’t critical to your life’s basic functioning.

Do you need to finish that big project that’s due today? Yes. Do you need to attend the birthday luncheon you know will only devolve into an hour of gossiping and inane reality TV show talk? No. Wish the birthday guy or girl a happy day, apologize for not being able to make it, and take your lunch break somewhere soothing (like your favorite coffee shop) so you can recharge.

Do you need to do the laundry so your family won’t go naked tomorrow? Yes. Do you need to iron all the wrinkly items so everyone has a full wardrobe to choose from? No. Let them choose from their easier-wear items and leave the more high-maintenance ones for another day.

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In other words, decide what is really important for your day and what isn’t—and be okay with letting the unimportant things slide.

2. Allow yourself some lull time.

Computers in energy saver mode stay efficient by not running at full capacity 24-7. They go into screen saver mode, then sleep mode, keeping only the most basic processes running while letting everything else cool down for a bit.

The human body and mind are the same way. We can’t be “on” 24-7. If we are, we will quickly burn out and become sluggish, foggy, and frustrated. So allow yourself some time to “lull.” Take a 15-minute nap. Let yourself watch an episode of your favorite guilty pleasure reality show. Tell the dishes they can sit for a night and instead curl up with a good book for half an hour. Even a small pocket of “you” time can help you refresh and keep going.

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Instead of rush, rush, rushing around like you normally do, allow yourself to do things at whatever speed you can muster. Don’t multitask. Don’t try to be a hero. (You can be one tomorrow.)

3. Put on your screen saver.

Screen savers—be they cutesy kitties or clichéd beach scenes—say “someone is working here; he just left for a minute but he’ll be right back.” If your boss comes by and sees your screen dark, he’ll wonder if you came in that day. If he sees kittens in baskets floating by, he’ll figure you just stepped away to get some coffee. (You could actually be taking that 15-minute nap in the utility closet, but he doesn’t need to know that.)

Similarly, getting through a day you don’t feel like getting through requires a bit of a “Yep, I’m here!” poker face. You can’t let your inner blahs translate to outer grumpiness, or you’ll just feel worse and have more trouble navigating the day. So learn to disconnect from your feelings, put on a mild smile, and give the “I’m here (but not 100%, please forgive me)” vibe.

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Don’t engage with the people who normally frustrate you. Give short and sweet answers to people instead of launching into full-on conversations. Don’t try mustering up loads of enthusiasm and cheer you don’t have. Just be responsive enough that your screen doesn’t go blank. If anyone wonders why you’re not being your usual perky self, just tell them you’re a bit tired today. They’ll understand. (They may have their own screen savers on, for all you know.)

Featured photo credit:  Mixed Race Young Female via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

How about a unique spin on things?

These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

1. Empty your mind.

It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

2. Keep certain days clear.

Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

3. Prioritize your work.

Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

4. Chop up your time.

Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

5. Have a thinking position.

Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

7. Don’t try to do too much.

OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

8. Have a daily action plan.

Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

9. Do your most dreaded project first.

Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

11. Have a place devoted to work.

If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

12. Find your golden hour.

You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

14. Never stop.

Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

15. Be in tune with your body.

Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

16. Try different methods.

Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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