5 Practical Ways to Climb out of Any Slump

By Ron Pereira Updated on July 13th, 2009

Are you, or have you ever been, in a slump?

Do you ever find yourself feeling unmotivated, uninspired, and just flat out crappy?

Or maybe you feel a little overwhelmed as there is so much to do and you’re not sure where to start? Sound familiar?

I can definitely relate as I’ve been there – both personally and professionally.

With this said, here are a few tips I’d like to offer to help you climb out of the pits.

And, as always, I would love to hear your thoughts on how you deal with these lulls life sometimes throws at us.

1. Tidy Up Workplace

There is something powerful about a clean and organized workplace. Oftentimes, when I am feeling low and uninspired, I find myself surrounded by a messy desk, office, etc.

Some good old 5S can go a long way to help. Just focus all your attention on clearing out the items you don’t need, then cleaning and straightening the things that are left, while doing your best to understand how to keep it this way.

If you hit it hard for even 10 minutes you’ll be amazed how much better you’ll feel as your work area becomes simplified and less chaotic.

2. Tidy Up Computer

If your email inbox is full of unread messages you need to clean it out. Down to zero. Yes, zero emails in your inbox. This might require batch processing but I won’t think less of you if you do batch this.

Also, if your computer’s Desktop is full of files and icons you need to “sort” this out. In other words, clear out the files and icons you don’t need. Just press delete. It’ll be OK.

And for the files you just can’t bring yourself to get rid of… create a logical folder structure and place them there.

3. Identify Top Tasks

Now that your workplace and computer have been organized… it’s time to focus in on those tasks.

Specifically, it’s time to list out everything you need to get done on a piece of paper or some electronic form (I use Google Tasks).

Once you have all the tasks listed out – both small and large – it’s time to prioritize them.

Each day you should have 2 to 3 “top tasks” that must be completed before everything else.

In fact, if you find yourself working on another task – when a top task is not yet done – you should ask yourself why and do something about it.

4. Manage Your Tasks

Now that you’ve gained some control over things it’s time to buckle down and manage the dickens out of those tasks.

Start with your “top tasks” and work them one at a time. Try to not multi-task as this rarely works well.

Again, this is why I like to use Google Tasks as I can check things off as I complete them which gives me a sense of accomplishment and motivates me to keep going.

5. Reflect

Finally, it’s important to reflect on what you’ve accomplish each week.

To do this, take at least 5 minutes at the end of the week to review the things you’ve gotten done while asking yourself how you could have done better. This is hansei at its best.

But be sure to feel good about what you’ve accomplished. It’s OK to celebrate and be proud of all the things you’ve achieved.

What do you think?

Do you agree with this list? What do you do you do to climb out of the proverbial slump?

  1. Alan Shephard

    July 14, 2009 - 7:41 pm

    Good list. I like to write my tasks on the white board so I can cross them off and see exactly what is next. I do like the top tasks idea and will give this a try.

  2. Jeff Hajek

    July 15, 2009 - 12:29 pm

    I had a coworker years ago that used to call making his daily priority list his ‘renewal of hope.’

  3. Observer

    July 16, 2009 - 5:53 am

    How do I climb out of a slump.

    Shut off the normal work. May be shut off the comp.
    Go out for a walk. Take a bath.
    Pick up a book in the humour category.
    Alternately catch up on sleep if there is a sleep deficit.

    If my work place gets too straight through others’s help I would start having trouble locating stuff. So I prefer to do all the cleaning myself. I have the bad habit of not throwing things away. So I tend to collect a lot of junk. When the quantum of junk is high, I postpone cleaning. It is a vicious cycle.

    I would like to try your suggestion.

  4. Rick killien

    July 20, 2009 - 6:39 am

    Very good! I plan on using it in our daily “Plan of the day (POD)!

Have something to say?

Leave your comment and let's talk!

Start your Lean & Six Sigma training today.