The wall. Everyone knows it. They hit the wall – the productivity wall – at some point throughout their day. First, we try to power through. Then we take a break, go for a walk, get some coffee. And yet, we cannot seem to breakthrough. Suddenly we are considering going home early or giving up on the day. The wall turns into a slippery slope.
Everyday around two or three in the afternoon I hit ‘The Wall.’ I don’t know why, but I know it can derail the last few hours of productivity I have in my body, mind, and spirit. Typically, I get through a string of tasks and it falls on me like a eerie fog in the forest. I am unable to think clearly, focus on my tasks, or critically think through complex issues before me.
I attempt to break free. Pause for a brief second. Attempt to walk or drink it off. And then I sit back in my chair and start thinking about anything but work. Facebook or random articles of information start to take over my thoughts and screens. Twenty minutes later, I realize I have lost part of my day.
What do we do when we hit ‘The Wall?’
In my quest to discover productivity tips to help me create more margin and reduce stress, I found I need a little motivation or inspiration. I used to think I might be able to come up with inspiration or motivation in the moment. Find it and finish the day strong.
But I was dead wrong.
To tap into what inspires you or motivates you, we need to be planning in advance. We need to find it before we hit the wall. Otherwise, it is useless. How do we create these motivational and inspirational tools in advance?
Seven Ways to Inspire and Motivate Yourself through ‘The Wall’
I love quotes. They help me when I am feeling down, unmotivated, unfocused, confused about life, etc. When I pull out my little index card collection of quotes, I know I will find a nugget of wisdom just when I need it. Here is a free one about work:
“Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen.” Conan O’Brien
Prepare your workspace for inspiration and motivation. People at my office say I have a lot of stuff in my cubicle. It’s because I do. While minimalists tell you to have a clean workspace, there are a few extra things in my cubicle. I keep a poster of a forest, an old lantern, some legos, pictures of my family, and some books in my cubicle.
They all help me break through periods of unfocused or remind me what I am doing at work and to get back to work. These items bring a calm and a few simple ways to allow myself distraction without derailment.
3. Headphones or Earbuds
I find when I hit a wall in my productivity, sometimes I need to change things up. So I will throw my earbuds in and listen to worship music for five minutes. Or I turn on a rain app. The sound of rain helps me think of a calm, peaceful moment for me to refocus my mind.
4. My Motivation and Inspiration Sticky-Note
Everyday, I create a priorities sheet. On the sheet is a section for motivate and inspire. Sometimes it is a quote on the sticky-note. Sometimes it is a challenge to complete all my work by three in the afternoon. And other times, it is an affirmation of who I am. This is the first place I go to snap out of my funk.
5. Saved Articles
I am an avid readers. I tend to read articles online or in magazines where I find people doing tremendous things. They started in a job like mine, and worked hard on the side to become something else. Those short articles are in a file folder in my desk drawer. If the things above don’t help, I go here next.
If I am really stuck, it helps to write out my thoughts. I take a journal everywhere I go. And on the hardest days, I pull my journal out and unload what is keeping me from working. Sometimes it is stress about work. Other times it is stress at home. Sometimes, it is the forces of this world against me. On the hardest days, this works best.
Ultimately, I know when I need a supernatural move to get me back focused I ask for help. And there is no human being in my office who can give me the power to breakthrough. I will take a deep breathe and turn to God and ask for Holy Spirit to give me the ability to move forward. And it works, because I know He wants me to thrive in my job.
These seven techniques to inspire and motivate ourselves work. Each one works for a different kind of day. Some days it is easy to breakthrough the wall and continue on. Other days it is really difficult to make it over the hump. However, I know these will help you as much as they help me.
21 Productivity Tips and Beyond
This post was inspired by this original post: 21 Ways that Make You More Productive and Create Massive Margin.