1. Take a break.
“We try to focus on the biggest task that needs to be accomplished, but if it’s not going as planned, you’re best off not spending too much time on it. Stop that process, take a step back, regain momentum, then start again.” — James Peisker, cofounder, Porter Road
2. Dive in.
“I swim! It’s the best. When you’re underwater, you can think creatively and hear yourself think. I once designed a whole marketing program underwater — and won a not-so-shabby $25,000 cash award for it!” — Gabrielle Mullinax, franchise owner, FastSigns
3. Think small.
“I focus on travel arrangements. It’s a task that has a clear beginning and end and is easy to check off on a to-do list. Finishing even the smallest of jobs helps me clear my head. And since I do most of my business — travel planning myself, there’s always a trip that needs to be booked. If that doesn’t work, wine should!” — Nancy Epstein, founder and CEO, Artistic Tile
4. Breathe deep.
“I try to focus on my breathing and bring myself back to a head space where I am able to accomplish the task at hand. Listening to high-frequency music from artists like Deva Premal and David Sun also helps to lift my spirits and motivate me to get the job done.” — Holly Agassi, franchise owner, Denny’s
5. Go with the flow.
“Unproductive days have historically been frustrating — until I realized that these are the times when my brain is unconsciously cooking up my next idea! Instead of being annoyed by my lack of concentration, I let my thoughts wander and try to feed my brain with new and exciting inputs. I trust my brain knows what it needs to do.” — Lindsay Wray, chief science officer, Eighteen B
6. Look to the past.
“When I’m feeling unproductive, I’ll go back to old notes and brainstorm moments that I’ve kept throughout the years. Some are inspirational today, others are a laugh or a success point. But they motivate me to keep going forward.” — Charlotte Hale, founder and CEO, Plum Pretty Sugar