Get Going by Changing Your Context

Outdoor working context

Sometimes the hardest part about being productive is just getting started. Every so often there’s just a barrier between you and your work and only after you’ve pounded your head against that barrier for a while can you get started on what you want to do. However, sometimes that barrier comes when you’re in the middle of something and you just get bogged down. The project that used to be clipping along at a brisk pace slows to a crawl, and your whole schedule starts unraveling.

One way to overcome sudden stops in your work is by changing your context. There are a lot of ways to do this, but the principle is to add some variety to your project. If you’re bogged down in the middle, it’s probably because you’ve spent so long looking at the project in a particular light (and that light isn’t always metaphorical). Below are three ways you can change your work context to improve your productivity.

Computer to Paper

One way to change your context is to change the tools you’re using. If you’re using a computer all day long to accomplish a task, try taking a break and going old school with paper and pen.

  • Sketch
  • Brainstorm
  • Outline
  • Write longhand
  • Calculate sans calculator
  • When you change the tools you’re using, you change your method slightly. By using a new way of doing the task, the task itself starts to look new—which in turn makes it look more interesting.

    Office to Café

    Sometimes you don’t really need to change your tools; you just need to change your scenery. There are lots of ways to change your scenery a bit.

    • Move from your desk to a conference room
    • Leave the office for a café
    • Sit on the other side of your desk
    • Stand up
    • Again, putting yourself in a new context can help you look at your project with new eyes. If you’ve been hurting for some inspiration, sometimes all you need is a different viewpoint, and that may only take moving your chair a few feet.

      Indoors to Outdoors

      Different surroundings may do the trick for you, but sometimes you need a more drastic change to get you moving again. Once such drastic change could be taking your work outside. Moving from your desk to a park bench could give you the necessary change of context. Being outside can also give you a chance to breathe different air, feel different climates, and hear a different set of ambient noises than you get inside. The outdoors are also a great antidote to the stagnation you can start to feel if you spend too much of your day indoors.

      Alleviating stagnation and monotony can help you boost your creativity and freshen your work. Matching yourself to a fresh and interesting task is a surefire way to keep yourself more engaged in your work, which in turn keeps you more productive.

      Image by graur razvan ionut via

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