Empty Week and Productivity Problems

After three years, I’m finally starting to figure out the rhythm of life here. Summer is always slow in Moscow. It used to freak me out when all my friends left, and work suddenly dropped off, but now I know to expect it. A week of wide-open free time is a huge blessing – so much time to use however I want!

This week is the slowest I’ve had all summer. Most of my students have either been smoked out of the city, or called off to business trips. I’ve only had a paltry 4 classes the entire week! Since I knew the quiet, empty days of August were coming, I vowed to fill them with busy writing, cleaning, organizing and research projects.

Sadly (but not entirely unpredictably!), I’ve been struggling with time management, focus, and getting stuff done this week. How do you push creativity? How do you schedule inspiration? How do you get stuff done? After a week of trying to work from home, and struggling with productivity, here are a few suggestions I’ve found from the Web Worker Daily combined with The Simple Dollar and Productivity 501:

  1. Plan your day. Schedule it out hour by hour
  2. Divide tasks into chunks and set time goals
  3. Try to get into “the zone” whenever possible. In other words, try to get into a state where you can focus intensely, and put all your energy into the task at hand.
  4. Get rid of distractions: turn off your phone, log out of email
  5. Plan breaks into your schedule. These can be like little rewards. Instead of letting distractions eat into precious working time, plan to focus on “distractions” or fun stuff (like email, interesting websites, hanging laundry, tweezing hairs, whatever!) during planned breaks. Also, take walks, exercise during this time…
  6. Routine!! Whittle priorities into daily routines. Then do the same thing every day…
  7. Be flexible. Stuff happens. Go with it.

Another great piece of advice is to change one thing at a time. Don’t try to make all the changes at once. Attempting too many changes at one time can be overwhelming and all too soon you find yourself losing steam.

Last week I focused on figuring out how to translate my priorities into daily routines/habits. I made a list of my priorities, then thought about how one simple daily habit would put each of those priorities into action.

This week, I can focus on continuing the new routine I started last week and pick ONE more new thing to add. After all my wasted time the past few days, I think I’ll concentrate on #1 from my list – planning and scheduling my days, works, and breaks.

Slow and steady wins the race, as Aesop would say.

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One Response to Empty Week and Productivity Problems

  1. Pingback: Unpredictable Life: One of the hard things about living in Moscow | Breakfast in Moscow

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