The past week of work has been unusually long and tedious. Just wanted to share a few small tips I’ve been using to power through it:
Listen to the same thing on a loop. I picked this up from Tim Ferriss. Apparently, several top performers listen to the same song on repeat when they need to stay focused. I find that one song gets old pretty quickly, so I loop an entire album instead – right now, The Shape of Colour by Intervals. It’s energizing, has zero lyrics, and all the tracks sound similar enough that they flow together into one 34-minute opus (turning on cross-fade helps too).
Ignore the time. Nothing makes a long day worse than thinking about how much longer it’s going to be. I’ve removed the clock from the menu bar on my computer and keep my phone out of sight.
- Write down what you need to do in small steps. Separate what you need to do from how you actually do it. This gets all the racing high-level thoughts out of your head so you can prioritize and execute. You’ll be surprised how much more efficient and effective this makes you, especially if you’re tired.
- For the developers: if you’re having a hard time with a complex function, use comments or pseudocode to outline it first. If anything, you’ll probably write cleaner code with this approach!
Switch tasks for a few minutes if your brain really gets fried. Guess where this post came from…
- Don’t let yourself totally stop working. Even though I’m taking a break by writing this, I’m still producing something. Keep up the little bit of momentum you do have. The sooner you finish what you need to do, the sooner you can put it away and forget about it. Fight to the finish.