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Dealing with Lack of Productivity & Burn Out

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photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewmalone/2032844649/sizes/z/in/photostream/

The winter months can often cause a lack of productivity due to burnout. The days are shorter, the weather is nastier {at least where I live in West Michigan}, the holidays are over, and spring is still too far away. Add in the day-to-day stress of your job, family, and other commitments… and burnout is the result.

I've been "preaching productivity" for several years already, and to date; the only way I've been able to deal with burnout is by taking a break. Even the most productive person can only stay focused for so long until they need to stop what they are doing, take a deep breath, and regroup!
If you feel like you are struggling with the lack of productivity do to burnout, here are a few ways you might be able to regroup.

Divert Daily

Take AT LEAST 15 minutes each day to just sit and do nothing productive. Go for a walk, zone out in front of the TV, play a game on your phone or computer, sit and stare out the window, check out the latest sales on Craigslist or eBay, sip hot chocolate, talk with your spouse or coworker. Do whatever you have to do to get your mind off of your work for a few minutes.

I actually try to do this a few times during the day. If I can tell that I'm feeling less and less productive, I'll get up from my desk, stretch, and get something cold to drink. Just that little break can give me renewed concentration and motivation to get back to work and be more productive. 

Withdraw Weekly

Personally, I think everyone should have one day each week where they don't think about anything work related. Unfortunately, for many small business owners and entrepreneurs that is simply not possible {yes, I speak from experience!}. So if you can't take an entire day off each week, then take a full afternoon or evening and stop thinking about work.

Turn your phone off, shut down your computer, and spend time with family, friends, or just by yourself. Whatever you do, just try NOT to think or worry about your work. I guarantee it will still be there when you get back, and by taking a few hours to recharge your batteries, you'll probably accomplish so much more when you start up again.

Meditate Monthly

I talked a lot about goals last month and one of main reason people fail to follow through with their goals is because they don't take enough time to just sit and think about where they are going, what they need to do to get there, and then HOW they are going to get there.

I like to take 1 day {or a weekend} each month to simply shut down the computer, email, social media, and cell phone and really think about both my business and personal goals. Look back on the previous month... then look ahead to the upcoming months. Are things going "as planned" or do you need to change something?
This break is a little different because you ARE thinking about your work, but in a way that will hopefully improve your job performance and get you more excited about goals you may have forgotten about.

Abandon Annually

I always encourage small business owners to take one full week off from work each year. Yes, it can be difficult -- especially if you are a one-man operation -- but I can attest to the fact that one week to totally "abandon" my stress, responsibilities, and to-dos gives me a fresh perspective and a new outlook on things. I come back with new ideas, increased energy, and ready to work even harder to achieve my goals.

Don't let yourself become less productive simply because you are totally burnt out. Take a little bit of time each day, week, month, and year to sit back, relax, and regroup. It could make all the difference!

When was the last time you took a break from work?

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