“Alright. Time to get to work.” Then hours of taking care of small, unexpected tasks, chores, lunch & social media distractions later you look around & wonder what happened to your well laid plans. Sound familiar? Don’t worry, I find myself in the same position on an all too regular basis. I like staying busy so I often get caught up in ancillary tasks & distractions that take me away from the primary projects I planned for the day.
So what's the solution....?
Honestly, I don’t have a good answer. I wish I did, but there is no one right answer. Each day & person is different, but here are some of my favorite tips for getting unstuck & staying productive.
Lists are often underrated as commonplace, but they are a big part of my business. Creating a to do list helps me see all my tasks in one place, prioritize essential tasks & stay focused on what absolutely needs to get done. Crossing off tasks from my list gives me a burst of confidence that I am being productive.
With so many tasks to remember, something is bound to fall through the cracks—even with a to do list. Setting reminders on my calendar for ancillary tasks helps me make sure they get done, while keeping them from distracting me from my main focus for the day. When ancillary tasks come up, I will schedule reminders for day or two away, when I know I will have ample time to address them.
We were not built to work at 100% productivity all day every day. The brain, heart, body & spirit need time to rest & regroup. Watch a Netflix show during lunch, check social media on the train, go for a walk while the sun is still up, or doodle for no other reason than because it's fun.
Taking a step away from work for a while allows your brain time to indulge in distractions so that you can come back to projects with fresh eyes, inspiration & greater productive capacity. Set reasonable limits to indulge your distraction so you don’t feel trapped in your work but still feel accomplished at the end of the day.
Take a Deep Breath & Chill Out
When all is said & done, there are only 24 hours in a day & there may not be time to get everything done. It’s okay. The world will not end & you're not saving lives. The tasks left on your to do list can roll over until tomorrow (Unless you are actually saving lives...Then, please keep doing that).
Accepting that some days you’ll have superhuman productivity & other days you’ll only finish the essentials is an important way to understanding your process & maintaining sanity. On the other hand, if you are constantly getting sidetracked & unable to follow through, it's a good idea to take a step back to give your daily routine a solid, scrutinizing review & find where changes need to be made.
What helps your when you feel stuck working?
“Hand Lettering 101” is an ongoing series that discusses various topics on hand lettering, including the creative process and behind the scenes.