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Be productive even when you feel lazy

Even the most successful people experience times when their energy is low. Maybe you are having trouble concentrating or you are procrastinating.

Such lulls are inevitable, but don’t waste your time surfing the Web or staring off into space. Instead, when you can’t find the motivation to take on bigger tasks, focus on simple but necessary to-dos. Make good use of your time with these tasks:

Update your to-do list.

Highlight the top three things you need to accomplish and number them in order of importance. Focusing on what is most important will eliminate the feeling of being overwhelmed. With the pressure off, you may be ready to begin tackling those items. If not, you will know what to do first once your energy picks up.

Complete routine tasks.

Purge e-mails, organize documents or clean your workspace. Not only will you take care of much-needed maintenance, but a clean and organized workspace can jump-start your motivation.


Review your contacts and make connections among people who should get to know each other. Pick up the phone or send an e-mail to reconnect with someone you haven’t chatted with recently.

Catch up on industry news.

Read newsletters and trade magazines to stay current on business trends and changes. Reading publications for other fields also can spark your creativity.

Re-evaluate your goals.

Pull out the list of goals you set for yourself in 2011. How much progress have you made toward reaching them? Determine if the goals you set months ago are still priorities. Establish new goals for the remainder of the year. Then set deadlines for reaching each of those goals. Refocusing can pull you out of a rut.

The secret is to remain productive even when your energy plummets. That’s the perfect time to catch up on tasks that you neglect at other times.

— Reprinted with permission from The Organized Executive,