Recently snowed-in with lingering deadlines and zero access to my life online, I had a minor melt-down.  As an over-achieving adult, a snow day doesn’t possess the same magic it once did as a kid – far from it.  Rather, a day unplugged was a gigantic inconvenience.   A punishment of sorts.   Desperate to be more productive, on some level, I needed a strategy and here’s what worked for me.

Pouring A Cup Of Coffee As A Short Break From Work

1. Recharge

The first step to attaining productivity was two-fold:

1. Establish the right frame-of-mind.  As my mood was still amiss, I decided to shovel the driveway.  Exercise not only helped me burn-off negative energy, it prepared me for a day of intention.

2. Create the right working environment.  Once at peace with being detached from email, calendar, social media, etc.,  I found a cozy space near a window and set-up camp with an ancient writing tool (‘aka’ a pen/pencil), notebook, and cup of coffee.   I then wrote down realistic objectives for my unplugged day.


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2. Reconnect 

If you’re not hoarding blank cards in your home, start.  Handwritten cards are one of the most meaningful ways to communicate and stand-out as a professional.   Take advantage of your unplugged day and write a nod-of-gratitude to 10 individuals.  Think of those you’ve met at networking events, the people who have supported you in your professional endeavors, done favors for you, and/or the folks you simply admire.

Keep your message authentic and simple with no more than 50 – 100 words and make sure you cover these basic card writing rules:

  1. Acknowledge the recipient(s).
  2. Give a reason for your message – is it gratitude? Is it an apology? Is it to set-up a future engagement?
  3. Include your contact information or a business card

Reconnecting with this lost art – and with the people who help to shape you – will make a positive impression.  As a professional, this should always be your aim.


Snow field landscape with man standing and looking on sunset

3. Reflect

Evaluate the past six months of your career by asking yourself some of these key questions – and, make sure to write down your answers using specific examples.

  1. Have you hit target goals and how?
  2. What are your opportunities for growth?
  3. What have you learned from mistakes?
  4. What are you  most proud of and why?

An honest reflection of achievements and short-comings will help you to improve inefficiencies, establish new strategies, and prepare for an upcoming performance evaluation.  Additionally, you probably need a pat-on-the-back!  So, take pride in what you have learned and achieved.


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4. Realistic Goals 

This unplugged task should take you some time – and, once you’ve completed it – feel free to grab a glass of wine.  It will be happy hour by then.

Something we tend to avoid or lose sight of in our busy, professional lives is managing goals.  Using the SMART guidelines for goal setting below, thoughtfully map out three goals to complete within the next business quarter.   Aim high, but be realistic.  Also ask yourself: how will I hold myself accountable?

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5. Rise Like the Sun and Burn

To keep yourself efficient and maintain your sanity once you return to the office, take time to create an action plan for the next day.  As everything will feel urgent, you need to focus on what needs immediate response and what deadlines matter most!  This action plan shouldn’t take you too long and it will get you motivated to rise like the sun and burn!

Field in the morning during Fall season

To my surprise, being disconnected from my life online was refreshing.  It was healthy.  I was able to catch-up on tasks I’d set aside, reshape my focus, and find new avenues to maintain productivity.  If you’re ever unplugged, I encourage you to map-out a task list that best meets your needs and plow through.   We can’t let a little bit of snow stop us from doing what needs to get done. Hopefully these tips above will help you regain your lost productivity.

We hope you enjoyed reading our post “5 Steps to Regain Lost Productivity”!

5 Steps to Regain Lost Productivity