How to be Productive (When You’d Rather Just Go Home)

Skylar Wooden and Katie Butler

March 05, 2017

At 10AM, we’re alert and ready for anything the day throws at us. If only that feeling lasted until the last item on the to-do list was crossed off. Once 2PM rolls around, we’ve had a filling lunch, our necks are stiff from staring at the computer, and all we can think about it what to make for dinner.

How do we break away from the rut and use our last few hours to the fullest?

1. Stand Up to Stretch

If you work a desk job, your desk is home base. You subdue yourself by sitting down for long periods of time. It’s a big part of your job. You should be at your desk, doing your job. However, stand up for a few minutes every hour. This will break up your day and, most importantly, will increase your circulation. Your focus on your body being comfortable is a big step toward productivity. If we’re uncomfortable, we focus in on discomfort and begin counting down the hours to 5 o’clock. Listen to your body.

2. Make Hot Tea

Coffee lovers may disagree, but tea has the perfect amount of caffeine to glide through the day without the jitters. The act of making tea will refocus your mind, preparing yourself for your next task. Be mindful of the process: you can watch the water boil, see how the water pours over the tea bag, and notice the way the tea diffuses. Taking your mind off work (and focusing fully on another process) clears your head. The tea will energize you without mental strain, making your last few hours a success.

3. Clean Up Your Desk

A cluttered space is a cluttered mind. If your thoughts are all over the place, try organizing your desk. You’ll be able to refocus your thoughts once you’ve prioritized your desk items. Throw away the sticky notes you’ve already taken care of. Put together a pile of papers you need to take action on. A clean desk will make you feel like your life is in order, even if it’s only an illusion…

4. Write a To-Do List

You can prioritize what should be done by the end of the day with a to-do list. The list doesn’t have to be full of big productive tasks. If your brain is determined to go on autopilot, use the time to update your supervisor or send emails. As long as you’re checking off items, you’ll feel more productive—more productive than staring at your computer, that is. Your list helps you see what your day ideally looks like. If it feels like a lot, it will drive you to be more efficient. It could also push you to make a to-do list for the next day. Either way, you’re one step closer to productivity.

5. Read a Motivational Blog Post

If you’re big on reading motivational blogs like we are, you will find this tip extremely helpful. Sometimes all you need is to read that someone else also suffers from the urge to take a nap at their desk at 2PM. You aren’t alone. And now they’ve shared all of their tips on how to be more motivated. How lucky are you?! Some of our favorite motivational blogs:

How do you stay productive when all you want to do is go home and curl up on the couch?

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