Quick help to get back on the productivity waggon

the productivity wagon
Sometimes, the coach needs coaching.

I had an unproductive day yesterday. I decided to work from home instead of going into my co-working space. A client call was cancelled, so I had an extra hour.

Instead of using it, I ended up watching John Butler play Ocean. More than once.

Hey, so maybe 3 or 4 different versions. It’s a beautiful piece of music. Then my morning drifted. I did finish my pitch deck, but that was probably 2 hours or real work that took 4 hours.

What I should have done was rebooted, reset, and re-energised. But I didn’t. I simply continued idling along. We all have these days. At work, we might find ourselves reading emails or checking job ads on LinkedIn. At home, we might spend a whole morning fussing over the best font for a blog post.

We all have these days. At work, we might find ourselves reading emails or checking job ads on LinkedIn. At home, we might spend a whole morning fussing over the best font for a blog post.

I asked my clients to share with me their tactics for when they realise they’ve fallen off the productivity waggon? What do they do when you need to get back to work?

I go for the low-hanging fruit. Work that doesn’t take a lot of commitment or brainpower, to build the momentum back up. Maybe it’s a quick email, or a project that I know will take less than 30 minutes. Better yet if that task is plucked from my backlog. The gratification of completing a low-stakes task shifts my mindset back to work. – Jason

I call an Ace. An ace for me is someone I know gives me business. Even though I know I got the biz, I pretend it’s a cold call even if we talked yesterday. Boom. Connection. I’m back. – Rob

2 things that work for me – one is to go for a walk or do some exercise. The other is if I’m stuck on something I’ll mindmap my thoughts – that often unblocks me really quickly. – Tim

A walk with my dogs is always great for clearing my head and I always feel refreshed and blessed afterwards.  – Dan
My mental state after blowing a few hours when I know I should have been doing something is that the whole day is a wash. My best hit rate with breaking that loop is to go running. Run, take a shower, feel good, go back to work. The whole process to reboot takes 1-2 hours in of itself, which is annoying, but I haven’t found anything else that works consistently. – Jon


I force myself to start with something small; like a quick email reply. A small victory that will generate traction to keep working. After this, you beat that initial inertia it gets easier to increase your output for the day.  – Phil


My prescription for retrieving productivity is a change of scene. If I can get as far as a cafe and just be around people, that usually re-focuses my attention. – Claudia

All good tips. I think the things that will best suit me are to pack up my gear and walk to my co-working space. That’s why I signed up to The Frankston Foundry in the first place?

What about you? Any tips or tricks to help get back on the Productivity Waggon?




3 thoughts on “Quick help to get back on the productivity waggon

  1. Great post Marshall, it’s always good to see a fellow coach being transparent about their own current issues and not pretending like all those things are in the past. I can attest to that too — as a coach we are really no different than anyone else, we’ve got our own challenges to face. (It’s my opinion that’s what makes us good coaches, we KNOW what it’s like to be in the same situations)

    I’ve got the added challenge of ADHD so this scenario is very familiar to me 😉

    Like the comments from some of the others, I find the reset doesn’t always have to do with work — sometimes it’s counter-intuitive, like taking a nap or a walk. But I like what Jason said too about the low-hanging fruit too. When you are distracted or not quite connecting with the current task what better way to break things up then by switching to something else personal or business wise that needs to get done but doesn’t take the same level of focus and then hopefully you’ll gain some momentum from knocking something off the to do list.

    One tip that has helped me a lot is using focus music or brain stimulating audio to get myself going on the task at hand — even when I don’t feel like it. For example, Brain.fm — I’ll see that I’m not feeling like working on the thing in front of me but I’ll open up this app and give myself a chance to see if I can get in a flow with the help of the binaural beats that encourage focus. Usually that works, if it doesn’t I give myself the freedom to step away and come back later.

    Thanks for sharing your own challenges and engaging your clients for ideas too, your clients are lucky to have you in their corner.

      1. Haha, awesome! Thanks for the link — I might need to check this out. I think it was Tim Ferriss or one of his podcast guests talking about theme music from movies as a productivity thing too.

        My go to for music is dubstep — something about the energy in that music always gets me in the flow working at a faster pace, it’s generally mostly instrumental plus the drops and the climaxes can add a lot of fun to some boring work! 🙂

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