work talk wednesday: in the zone

today is the second installment of the work talk wednesday series. today’s topic is semi-related to last week’s topic of work after vacation.  today’s topic is productivity.

there are some days that are uber-productive, when things get checked of the list left and right, the day flies by and you’re flying high.  then there are days when you feel tired and unmotivated, the day seems to drag, that you have things to do but can’t quite get them organized or decide where you should begin. i’m sure we’re in agreement that the former is much more satisfying.  so how can we increase our productivity and make most days feel accomplished?  are there things that help you be productive?  what gets you in the zone?

background noise helps me to be productive.  it could be the tv, the radio, the hustle and bustle of a coffee-shop just something to occupy the other half of my brain while i work.  in college i found that watching gilmore girls helped me get through my probability homework with less anxiety.  since i can’t watch tv in my office at work, pandora does the trick.  a little zac brown band or michael buble radio helps me buckle down and focus.  if i’m working on a spreadsheet or another more monotonous task, i like to listen to npr’s talk of the nation. something about background noise helps my mind stop wandering and get in the zone.

i’m also a huge fan of the to-do list. i’ll write down everything i have to do on a blank piece of paper or a double sticky note.  then i’ll start with the smallest task on the list and start crossing things off one by one.

sometimes i’ll just say to myself “ok, i’ll work for 25 mins, just 25 mins and then i’ll take a break.”  and i’m always surprised at how many things i can get done in that small window.  a lot of the time i’ll keep working straight through the 25 min mark because i’m on a roll.

tell me.  what do you do to get in the zone?  what helps you to be productive?

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