Brand Connection

How to Be Productive When You Don’t Feel Like Working

/ Aug 7, 2019 (Stock photo)

The day goes by faster when you are busy. So how to fill the hours in an engaging way? Here are our top 10 tips to stay productive, and stay sane!

It’s the dog days of summer. Your vacation is over. Everyone is out of the office. And the sunny days make it hard to focus. No one feels like working. You could spend the day online just messing around but even that gets old after a while.

We all know the day goes by faster when you are busy. So how to fill the hours in an engaging way?

Here are our top 10 tips to stay productive, and stay sane!

1) Clean your desk. Like really clean it. Go through the drawers. Throw out those old files. Clear out the clutter. If you can, move things around. Humans respond well to novelty – it stimulates your thinking. If you can move your computer to the other side or reposition your chair, try it.

2) Go through your conference notes. We always leave with great ideas that we don’t implement. Take a look back at your notebooks and see what you thought was great that you’ve already forgotten.

3) Set up some standing lunch dates—friends, colleagues, potential mentors or mentees. We don’t make enough time to connect as humans. And you never know what will prompt your next idea.

4) Catch up on your videos. Raise your hand if you have the recordings from webinars you didn’t have time to attend in your inbox. I have 12. Make your own virtual conference, curated personally for yourself. No webinars? Try TED.com – type in any subject and see where their playlists take you.

5) Catch up on reading. Go through that pile of magazines. Download some reports. Check out Otter Talk. You need to fill your idea well if you want to draw from it later.

6) Play a game. Pull some people together for Apples to Apples or Ticket to Ride. Fun and play and team building all lead to creativity, stronger relationships, and novel thinking.

7) Journey map your event. Start with the first touchpoint and write out every step an attendee must take. This helps you find areas to improve the attendee experience. If you need some ideas to steal, check out our 4 Dimensions report.

8) Get in a room with a few people and do rapid brainstorming – pick one aspect of your event and see how many ideas can be generated in 10 minutes. This is about quantity not quality. If you strike gold, spend some more time building out the idea.

9) Create the perfect to-do list. Do a brain dump by writing out everything you need to do for the rest of the year. Categorize and set priorities, and then plan out when you will do everything around your travel and meeting schedule.

10) Write some thank-you notes. At this point in the year, there have been some people who have helped you a lot: a vendor, a team member, your boss, a friend. Pick five people to thank and send them a short note. Bonus points for handwritten cards. They’ll feel great and you will too!


Interested in more? Subscribe to“Otter Talk,” a bi-monthly newsletter that highlights trends, ideas, and actionable takeaways for your association events, written by an experienced member of the planning community who has lived the “planning life.”

Beth Surmont, the Director of Experience Design for 360 Live Media, has nearly 20 years of professional planning experience. A Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) since 2008 and Certified Association Executive (CAE) since 2016, Beth has worked in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors and has a wide range of knowledge, with experience in almost every aspect of meeting planning, from registration, to logistics, to program management and production.