Productive Transitions

You know that satisfying feeling when you complete a task? Your success gives you the chance to take a deep breath, bask in your achievement . . . and then what? Get back to work. I have a tough time transitioning between projects or tasks, and I bet you’ve struggled before, too. Once I have something to show for myself, it’s tough to find the motivation and energy to start fresh on something different. But, if I want to increase my productivity this year, I’ll have to confront this issue.

So, how do you transition smoothly to a new project? There are many strategies—you may have to try a few to find a system that works for you. Here are a few suggestions you can try implementing to help you increase your productivity this year.

Ask questions

You may have a few questions you need to get answered as you embark on a new project. If you don’t have any yet, sit down and think of what questions might arise in the future. Then get answers for your questions. Asking questions will help you get in the mindset of your new project. You will start the project with the important information you need and a piqued interest in the task at hand.

Take a walk

Another transition technique is to reset your body and get a fresh view of your surroundings. Take a walk around the office or outside to gain a new perspective on your day. You have just been working hard at your desk; you need a fresh view of your office to transition to the space and materials you’ll need for your next project. With a clear head and a desk ready for a new project, you should be able to make the transition smoothly.

Review notes

In the same vein as asking questions, you can simply review any notes you have relating to your next project. Not only will this help change your mindset to your new project, but it will refresh your memory on the project details. With all the requirements fresh in your mind, your chances of having to redo or repeat any of the process are slim.

Outline the project

If you feel overwhelmed as you start a new project, you may want to start by outlining the steps necessary to make it happen. Defining not only your next actions, but the rest of the steps for the project will help you gauge the amount of time and energy needed to get the project done. If you have a deadline, make a tentative schedule to get each step done. Then you can start with step one. Tackling the project piece by piece will make it easier to jump in and get involved.

Find a system—maybe the ones suggested above, maybe another strategy you’ve thought of—to help you transition between projects. You need both mental and physical energy to make transitions, and in order to maintain your productivity, it is smart to have a plan for conquering obstacles like these.

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