Being Productive in a Snow Day Meltdown

The truth is that we didn’t need a reason to melt down, slow down or get back under the covers. We didn’t need a pass. The truth is that the commitments we made January 1st were falling fast enough on their own without the daily blizzards. The truth is that we were already too cold, too agitated and too easily persuaded to not get that to-do list covered, before winter began to show its’ everyone freeze look. Admit it, you were looking for the perfect excuse to not get to the gym today. You were looking for just the reason to light the fire, turn on a movie and grab a giant bag of popcorn. Yet one snow day turned into weekly snow days and suddenly the excuses didn’t even feel like excuses anymore!

The first snow day, was…well…the FIRST one! How exciting. Nothing had to get done. It was a free day! No work. It was a state of emergency and we weren’t supposed to go anywhere. The governor said so! We couldn’t go to the gym, or anywhere else for that matter. So we didn’t.  Plus, we had to make sure we had candles on hand, flashlights close by and bags of ice made, so we couldn’t really catch up on laundry and organizational tasks. We were busy. It was a state of emergency!

Perhaps by the FIFTH snowstorm, though, melting down for the day was not really the best way to handle snow days. Not if you didn’t want work and home to  begin ‘melting’ down as well.

How to stay motivated
Remember a few months ago when you were yearning for a day to stay home with uninterrupted time? Remember how all you wanted was time to get all of the tedious organizational tasks done?  So why do we shut down when we finally have it? Why all of a sudden do we yell mercy and pull the covers up a little higher and pretend we are exhausted?

The perfect excuse.
It is the ultimate excuse. The ultimate hall pass. I mean, if we can’t use the ‘state of emergency’ card to our advantage, then what’s the point? We have all had enough of the snow, cold and disruption to our schedule…even the few of us that love this unrelenting snow, so shutting down with intention, seems like the perfect answer to the winter blues.

So why don’t we feel better?
Sometimes our ideas are better only in theory.  We actually end up feeling worse because nothing is getting done. We have gone from a semi-productive 5-day work-week, to a wishful 3.5 day work week and simply keep moving our tasks from this week to next.  We have become so comfortable in our meltdown that our excuses don’t even feel like excuses at all anymore.  In fact, they feel like sensible judgment calls. Right?

There is nothing sensible about continuing to put everything off. Excuses are ALWAYS available, with or without the snow, but not caving into them, is where the rubber meets the road. Want to really see productivity in action, even in a blizzard that has the family trapped inside, and the cars buried deep?

Well then it is time to rename the snowstorm. Instead of it being a hall pass, let’s pretend it is the perfect homework pass. Not a pass that allows you to skip the homework, but a pass that gives you permission to do all of your work that has been shoved in the corner of your desk, at home! That’s right. Consider it permission to not go into the office with an opportunity to take care of over-due business.

First, you will need to get up off the couch. Nothing gets done under the covers, so stop telling yourself that it will. No matter what you say, you look like you’re relaxing, feel like you’re relaxing and before long, the remote will be resting comfortably in the palm of your hand.

It’s homework time:
1 – Find a new place to work. If you have a cozy spot in your house that doesn’t get much use (the dining room, a loft, a desk and chair in your college students room), go set up shop right there and make a list of all the things that need to get done.

2- Let the family know you will be WORKING!

3 – Set the kids up with independent tasks to do and be clear about the guidelines and how much time you will need uninterrupted.

4 – Set up a candle, your favorite non-alcoholic beverage and your day-timer. It’s work time!

But what can I do for work if everyone else is snowed in as well?
Be creative!

1 – Make calls. Most of the calls we make are to cell phone numbers anyway, so call them.  Leave messages if necessary, but make the calls.

2 – Go through your contact list and highlight all the contacts you could send warm emails to.  Then start sending out that warm letter!

3 – Set up appointments for the rest of the week so that when you can get out in the morning, you won’t have to spend time trying to find appointments.

4 – Set up doctor appointments you keep putting off.

5 – Organize your desk in a way that allows you to access items in a minutes notice.

6 – Update your filing system. Are there things that could be thrown away? Files that should be moved closer to the front?

7 – Get garbage bags and eliminate your clutter. Move things to the trash or donate them, but get them out. The more uncluttered your space is, the easier it will be to think.

8 – Pull out that workout DVD or get out there and shovel, so you can get your workout in as well!

Snow delay? Perfect! Get up the same time as always, and watch how much you can complete before anyone wakes up! Once you have turned your head around from Hall Pass to Homework day, you will feel the blues turn into bliss. I promise!