Every business has it’s busy times and it’s slower times. Some days are a hectic feast of important projects, other days are famine, spent playing Fruit Ninja and DrawSome on the iPad hoping the phone will ring. On the Hill, we call the latter, In Recess, and the former, In Session.
I don’t know about you, but I have the hardest time staying motivated during recess. Truth be told, I’ve been working in deadline-driven environments for so long that without that pressure, I find it difficult to do much of anything. Over the years, I have found that only one thing keeps me motivated during recess: a to do list.
The night before the recess begins, when all the craziness of Session is still fresh in my mind, I do two things.
First, I clean. I scrub my desk spotless. Papers are thrown away, files are returned to the cabinet and my keyboard gets a thorough disinfecting. Then, I go through my email inbox and delete all the spam, fundraising requests and other miscellany that’s clogging up my Outlook (literally and figuratively).
Second, I grab my notebook (hard back, spiral bound) and make out The To Do List. Not, a to do list, THE To Do List.
I put the easiest tasks on the top. This way, I can get the simple stuff out of the way early. Not only will this give me a sense of accomplishment as I cross things off my list, it will ensure that no small task lingers too long.
Once those are complete, I tackle the harder jobs. And I cannot head home on Friday night until all of the tasks are crossed off the list. Because once we return to the haste and chaos of Session, who knows if I’ll have time to finish anything on the list?
Making a to do list and crossing things off seems so simple, but try completing an entire list and you’ll see what a challenge it can be. Especially with the siren’s song that is Words with Friends ringing in your ears. But there is nothing better than heading home after a recess week knowing that you have nothing left outstanding, it makes that first Monday back in Session so much easier.
So how do you stay motivated during Recess or a lull at work? Besides coffee…of course.