We all hit that stage at some point don’t we? I know I’ve had those days, weeks (hopefully not months or years!). It’s what I call “in a funk!” What should we do? Well, the best approach is to be proactive and not reactive. Reaction is a needed skill to help put out fires, but proaction is much more crucial. Proaction is a critical skill needed to prevent the fires from happening. Proaction helps forecast those “funks” and helps us do what it takes to prevent those funks.
Let’s take a look at a manufacturing floor. Machinery will inevitably fall into a “funk:" that downtime caused by malfunction, breakdown, broken parts, etc. In the manufacturing business we try to forecast and prevent (that’s the keyword today) that funk. We call it preventive maintenance. It’s where we “schedule” downtime in order to work on the machinery to help avoid future breakdowns! Preventive maintenance is essential to keeping machinery running and avoiding those “funks.”
So, how does this relate to humans/managers/workers. Well, I think it is essential for us as humans to master the art of “preventive maintenance.” That is, how do we take a proactive approach to preventing those “funks” or “ruts” that we all seem to fall into at times? What steps can we take to ensure our productivity stays at a maximum level?
1) Master the art of scheduled downtime – That is, make sure you schedule breaks for yourself. If you’re feeling overworked, then take a break. Maybe you like to sit in front of the t.v., maybe you prefer to read a book. Whatever “it” is that brings you into a state of relaxation, you must schedule “it” into your days and weeks.
2) Master the art of a new approach - Break up your days. Try something new. Take a different approach to those monotonous tasks. Andrew Clark gives us a nice list to try:
3) Master the art of balance – How do you find balance? What gives you balance? For me, it’s spending time with my wife and daughters, and also participating in adult league sports. I make sure and find time to take an active part in these two “pleasure” centers, as well as my career. Don’t exhaust all your energy on one aspect of life (for many, this would be career), but make sure and save some of that energy for other areas. (Note: On the flip side, make sure you don’t get overextended and pulled into too many directions)!
4) Master the art of ESP – You know….that 6th sense? Really, this just means that you need to be able to foresee when your “rut” or “funk” may be starting to form, and head it off. Look for those familiar early warning signs so that you can be proactive in stopping the funk from ever starting!
Those are four tips that I’m sure will help you fight off those winter blues and lost productivity. What are some tips you have? What else can our readers add to their list?