We’ve all experienced those days when we just don’t want to work and can think of a million other things that we’d rather be doing. Please, no more meetings! No more boring conference calls! No more spreadsheets and flow chart presentations! We just want to go home, get back into bed, and take a nap with our dog. However, there are bills to pay and careers to make so let’s just do our best to make it through the day.
On those (rare) occasions that you just need to power through the rest of the workday when you don’t really feel like it, here are a few suggestions:
1. Focus on only the most crucial tasks.
Staring at stacks of files on your desk and tons of emails awaiting your reply can feel overwhelming. Check your calendar and determine what things need your immediate attention. Review what is most urgent, make a list of those action items that need to be completed by the end of the day, and address any major issues first. Then focus on any “quick hits” before tackling your larger assignments. Breaking down your workload into smaller, more manageable tasks will help you feel more energized throughout the day. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way home!
2. Take a break.
Sometimes you just need to walk away from your desk and change your perspective. Leave the office to get some fresh air. Stand up and stretch. Listen to music. Get some coffee, tea or a light snack. Make a phone call or send a text to a friend. Check the score from this afternoon’s baseball game. Create your grocery-shopping list. Order that jacket that you’ve had your eye on for the past month. Take at least 15 minutes to yourself to clear your head from all things “work” before you buckle down and survive till five.
3. Plan something fun to do after work.
Make a dinner date with a friend. Find out if your gym has a new class scheduled for that evening. Research local activities to visit that night. Register to attend that networking event a co-worker mentioned. Buy a ticket to the movie you’ve wanted to see for months. Knowing there is something great planned after work gives you something to look forward to at the end of the day. It will help keep you motivated to get your work done and feel good about rewarding yourself later!
Remember, for one reason or another, everyone from the CEO to the Intern has had one of those days. So the next time you reach your desk in the morning after a poor night’s sleep, or return to your office from a meeting that zapped all of your energy, or get into another argument with your cubicle-mate about how loud he talks on the phone, take a breath and think about what you could do to help get you through the rest of the workday. Take a fifteen-minute break. Plan something new and fun for after work. Focus on only the most crucial tasks due that day.
Hey, isn’t that the 5 o’clock whistle?
About the author
Jennifer Malach has over 20 years experience in the professional services and software development industries including 16 years with Accenture, a global management consulting, technology, and outsourcing company. She has extensive experience in recruiting, coaching, training and developing talent to promote growth, retention and advancement. Jennifer has also lead, managed, and mentored teams across North America. She is a Strategy Advisor and volunteer coach for Stand Beside Them, Inc., a non-profit that helps military veterans transition back to civilian life and work. Jennifer is the Founder of 20/20 Career Solutions and lives in Westchester County, New York.
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