Everyone has off days when they just can’t seem to focus on getting their work done. Unfortunately, the frequency of these unproductive spells seems to increase over the summer months and carry over into the first few weeks of fall. When the nice weather is dwindling, it’s hard to want to stay cooped up indoors and you might find your mind wandering as you think of all of the things you’d rather be doing. Before long, you realize you’re behind on work but you still don’t have the motivation to get caught up! If this happens to you, here are some suggestions for coping:

Do Not Panic
One of the worst things you can do is go into panic mode. While it is important that you get your workflow back on track, remember that this happens to many people. It’s not uncommon. Instead, take some deep breaths, come up with a plan of action and do your best to stay productive. Rather than allow yourself to become overwhelmed by the mountain of work that needs to get down, set small, realistic goals.

Focus on Other Stuff
If you are able to, take a break throughout the day from your regular tasks. Have you been putting off dusting your office? Are there files that really need to be put away? Is there clutter in your workspace that you could take home or throw away? We can all look around and identify the little things we’ve been neglecting. Now is a great time to get them done. It will make you feel more productive.

Recharge and Have Fun
If you didn’t have time off over the summer, it can feel like you’re missing out. Rather than succumb to depression, find ways to relax and recharge when you aren’t at work. Set clear boundaries, turn off your phone and get outside. Get up early and go for a walk. Have your breakfast on the patio or by an open window. Read a book. Be a tourist in your own city. Create a backyard oasis and escape the concrete jungle. Whatever nurtures your soul, find some way to do it, even if it’s just for 10 minutes a day.

Stay Positive
One of the worst things you can for yourself or for the morale at your workplace is to become negative. It doesn’t help anyone if you dwell on everything that is going wrong instead of finding the good in even the most miserable of situations. If you struggle in this area, consider taking a 5-10 minute break twice a day to meditate. It can help you find some calm at even the most aggravating of times.

Try New Things
When you are in a slump, it can be really energizing to shake things up. Try a new way of getting to work (walking or biking, for example). Learn a new way of doing common tasks (learn those Excel shortcuts you’ve always admired!). Ask to be included in a project that is slightly different from what you are used to. Replace your computer chair with a fitness ball. The possibilities are endless but changing your perspective, even just a little bit, can help you get out of a rut.

Remember, you are not the first person to experience a work slump and you won’t be the last. Try these suggestions and you may find that things aren’t as bad as they seem.