Feeling Unproductive at Work? Here’s How to Change Your Mindset

Feeling Unproductive at Work? Here’s How to Change Your Mindset

We all feel a little unproductive from time to time. Maybe it’s the last work day before vacation, or there’s a holiday coming up, or maybe you’re just not interested in the tasks at hand. 

But if feeling, or being, unproductive is an all-the-time thing, there might be a bigger problem that needs to be addressed. 

Here are a few ways you can help yourself feel, and be, more productive during the work week. 


  • Rearrange your work area. Whether you have a desk, a cubicle or a different kind of work space, freshening it up might help get your thinking more aligned with productivity. Get rid of the clutter, maybe bring in something new that is pleasing to look at; a new notebook or pen or motivational trinket could help bring some positivity to your work space and help keep you focused. 
  • Take breaks. A few minutes away from whatever you’re working on can help refresh your mind, refocus your thoughts and can help your brain redirect its attention to something else. You know how sometimes your best ideas will come to you out of nowhere while in the shower, washing dishes or doing some other, unrelated activity? It’s the same concept! Giving yourself little breaks throughout the day can help improve your productivity. 
  • Recognize achievements. Did you file a document on time? Complete a task ahead of deadline? Did you finish something you’ve been avoiding because it was daunting? All of those deserve to be celebrated! Remind yourself how hard you worked and how far you’ve come when any milestone is reached. Encourage others to do the same by helping them to commemorate their wins, large or small. Acknowledging the completion of a project reminds us that the work does, sometimes, come to a completion and can be taken off the to-do list. 
  • Take care of yourself. Did you get enough sleep last night? Have you had any water? When was the last time you walked away from your work space? Your body needs fuel, hydration and exercise to work its best, meaning you do too. If you’re feeling sluggish and not taking good care of yourself, your mind won’t be working at its highest level either, making it difficult to focus and think clearly. 
  • Schedule your time. Email can be a great communications tool, but it’s also a huge distraction. The same is true for chat programs like Slack, Teams, Webex, etc. Set aside a few designated blocks of time in your day for checking email — maybe 10 to 15 minutes, two or three times a day. Then mute your notifications. If something is really important, someone will call if you haven’t immediately responded. This will eliminate those little pop-up messages that are so good at pulling our attention away when we need to focus. 


Start each morning with a to-do list, from scheduling your email breaks to a pre-scheduled five-minute walk outside, and feel the satisfaction of crossing each item off when it’s completed. That alone can be a powerful motivator and you’ll know, at the end of the day, what you’ve accomplished. 

If you still find yourself more interested in staring out the window or into a blank screen, it might be time to find a new job. Contact LeadingEdge Personnel! We have great companies looking for candidates just like you, with your skills and background, and we’d be happy to introduce you. Call LeadingEdge today and let’s get started! 


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