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5 Tips for Pushing Through and Being Productive at the End of the Day

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It’s almost the end of the day. You have one or two more things to do before you can go call it a day…but you lack the motivation or energy to get it done.

It’s a challenge all of us have faced at some point in time. You might start off your mornings productively, but as the day goes by and your energy goes down so does your productivity. You get more easily distracted, you start to procrastinate and you logically know what to do but somehow you can’t push yourself to do it.

What can you do about this? Here are five tips that will help you push through at the end of the day.

1. Play Your Favorite Music

This is one of our favorite ways to push through – play your favorite music. It’s an easy thing to do and music is incredibly powerful for changing your mood. Every time I feel like calling it early but I know I need to push through, I always play EDM music to get myself pumped up and it works.

Pick songs and tracks that are upbeat. Turn up the volume and play it louder than you normally do. Think of all the fond memories that the music reminds you of. Get off your chair and dance like nobody is watching.

Let the power of music help you push through one more time. If you need suggestions on “productive music”, check out our playlists and suggestions from fellow Asian Efficiency readers:

2. Change Your Environment

After sitting all day in your chair it’s easy to get into a slump. Our bodies aren’t made to sit 8+ hours a day. The key here is to change your physiological state by moving your body.

In the Productivity Blueprint we call this Changing Your Environment. Sometimes you have to leave the work scene and come back later to push through one more time.

Get away from all distractions. Get away from the problems and challenges. Get away from the energy draining environment.

Instead, do any of these:

  • go for a walk / run
  • talk to someone you enjoy talking to
  • run an errand
  • play with your pet
  • meditate in a different room
  • go get something to eat

The point is – change your environment and come back to it later. I usually do this when I’m having a problem I can’t solve or a challenge that seems too big to handle at that moment. One of my favorite Einstein quotes is:

No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. – Einstein

Usually when I leave and come back, I’m reinvigorated and I know exactly what I need to do next. It might feel counter-intuitive to go away and leave for a moment, but experience has proven that it’s one of the best things you can do.

3. Green Tea to the Rescue

If you’ve been following Asian Efficiency for a while, you know how much we love green tea. This Asian wonder drink will make you calm, focused and ready to get things done.

The combination of caffeine and L-Theanine (that coffee is missing) promotes relaxation and a surge of energy at the same time. Plus, L-Theanine negates the caffeine crash that you usually get from coffee and energy drinks which is one of the many reasons we like green tea so much (aside from all the other health benefits).

I don’t try to rely on green tea to get things done near the end of the day, but it’s good to know I can drink it whenever the situation calls for it.

4. Set a Timer

External accountability can be useful to help you push through one more time. Having a personal trainer yelling “one more lift!!!” works. Having a boss look over your shoulder will definitely get your gears going. Having your kid tell you “I want to see you” will get you to take action.

Unfortunately these are all situational and you can’t have these all the time and at the right time to push yourself. One alternative that we have found, that works just as well, is to set a timer.

When you set a timer you feel like the accountability is not on you but on the timer. It’s like the pressure is off you. Also, your mindset changes from “I really need to do this” to “I’ll do the best I can do within that timeframe” and it strangely works really well.

Whenever it’s late in the day, I’ll set a timer for 25 minutes (one pomodoro) and just push through one more time. In my head all I’m thinking is “let’s do this one more time for 25 minutes and then I can call it a day”. What usually ends up happening is that I’ll finish it regardless of time spent. All I really needed what that external accountability to get myself started. The rest took care of itself.

5. Think Of The Negative Consequences

Another way to get your gears going, especially when you don’t want to, is to think of all the negative consequences you’ll face if you don’t take action.

What will happen if you don’t push through, right now? Try to think of all the BS you have to deal with. Imagine all the negativity that comes with not doing the things you have to do.

Things like:

  • getting fired from your job
  • letting down your friend, spouse or child
  • people nagging at you
  • disappointing someone that looks up to you
  • all the extra (paper)work that comes with not doing it now

Are you still going to drag your feet? Probably not.

Considering the negative consequences is one of those “dark techniques” that we usually don’t like to advocate, but it can be really powerful at times to get you going.

Pick One

To get that one thing done before the end of the day is easier than you think it is. If you’re in a slump right now near the end of the day – pick just one of these tips and apply it right away.

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Posted by Marco  | May 22, 2014 at 12:44AM | Reply

1 and 2 would never work for me, since music distracts me too much and it hits me right out of my concentration, and 2 wouldn’t work because I can’t work in a lot of atmospheres. I sadly need that library to work on my papers and I would never start working again after doing something else and leaving the library.

And the last one: Actually the source of my motivational problems is that I know what happens if I don’t write these papers. That freaks me out so much that 5 would cause the opposite effect with me. – so if someone’s writing their final thesis or doing something else which is important for his/her future, I wouldn’t recomend strategy 5 a lot….

Well, pomodoro is a nice one, I already know it and I will try it next time for pushing through and green tea will be tried, too. :)

Posted by vito  | March 20, 2014 at 7:29AM | Reply

Green tea works for me :) thanks for other advices and tips

Posted by Madeleine Giorgio  | January 22, 2014 at 1:07AM | Reply

That’s exactly what I do to get productive throughout the day. Glad I’m not alone.

Posted by Kosio Angelov  | January 20, 2014 at 11:28AM | Reply

Take a shower or at least splash your face with some cold water does the trick for me every time.

Also, stretching and moving around or going up and down the stairs. This gets the body activated and the mind disconnected so it is a great energy boost for the end of the day.

Posted by Thanh Pham  | January 20, 2014 at 12:21PM

Oh yeah taking a shower (for those who work from home) is awesome too!

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