Getting Over Slumps in Productivity


We’ve all been there. Unmotivated or overwhelmed to the point of not knowing where to start. What can we do to overcome these lulls and continue being productive?

In today’s busy world managing our own time is a constant battle for all of us. It is no wonder we find ourselves in dips of productivity – exhausted from the daily battle. Particularly in the sales role, but you could probability argue it’s the case in any high-pressure role where you are consistently asked to produce at a high level. When faced with a question like this, I look at other high performers and see what they do on a daily/weekly basis to help overcome these moments.

  • Health – Most of the top performers I know workout and manage their health. Sure, at first, we all say, I wish I had the time. But, the truth is these individuals make the time. They make working-out a “must do” vs. a “when I have time” event. One of the best ways to overcome a slump is by having the energy to push through it. Additionally, we have all experienced the rush of energy and confidence after working out. I find it a great way to clear the mind and re-energize myself to attack the day ahead.
  • Organization – Top performers are also more organized. They know what is most important and manage their time accordingly. I personally review my calendar at the start of each day – planning the day ahead. I also plan the week on Sunday or Monday morning before jumping into any tasks. Prioritizing my time is part of the reason. But, the main reason, is to make sure I am working on what is most important to accomplishing my goals. I find this helps to overcome that overwhelmed feeling of too many projects or tasks.
  • Goals – We know that top performers set goals for themselves. In times of a slump, having an end goal is key to pull you through. Think of it as running a race. Sometime during the race we all get discouraged. It is the visualized finish line that pulls us through and keeps us focused on the goal. Our own goals do the same for us in our work and personal lives. Where are you on your first of year goals – ahead of schedule or behind? Use this time to re-commit yourself to achieving those goals.
  • Lists – Joel Barker said, “vision without action is merely a dream.” Call it a to-do list, action plan, or whatever, but when things get tough, I take a big breath and write out a list of items that need to get done. I put my head down and work the list one a time. I do recommend you prioritize the list. Sometimes my list is bigger than humanly possible. Working on the “must dos” first helps.
  • Help – lastly, top performers know when to get help. Whether it is delegating a task or leveraging someone’s expertise, know your limits. Leverage the team around you, especially if it is a mutual goal.

Now, I know some of you are saying, I use to do some or all of these things, but I just got too busy or simply off track. Well, it’s not too late to get back on track. Pick one thing to do today and enjoy the sense of accomplishment.

Carlos has 25 years of experience in the enterprise software industry, including sales, service, business development, creation of partner alliances and business operations. He’s advised companies including Comcast, NCR, Sumo Logic, ServiceNow, and VMware.