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I find myself going through long periods of inactivity such as a long vacation or time spent doing things not really related to work (routine, non-complex errands which take a lot of time and put your mind to sleep).

How do you get 'back in the game' and jump back into production? Should it be abrupt (jump right into a lot of complex tasks) or should it be something smoother (give yourself some time to accommodate before you are back at 100% production capacity)?

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

This is a question looking for subjective answers but a common one, so I'll give it a go.

I know exactly how the above feels and I think it's a motivation issue. To address it I find that I need to things to get going again:

  1. A relatively simple task/job that has a clear requirement(s)/goal(s). It's something that I can complete in a day or less. Even better if it's a milestone/part of a bigger more complex project.
  2. The above task/job must be enjoyable and immersive. It's something that you can get stuck into for a hours and get going without needing much push. For myself personally, this could be something involving programming/making things. Like an early mock up/prototype for a project or something like that.

When I get into a task that fits above and complete it to requirement and on time (that I or someone/something set for it externally) I'm back in the game. It gives a confidence boost as well as energy and focus needed to get on with bigger things.

Important note: I don't think it's too hard to find a task fitting the two criteria. It can even be vaguely related to the bigger jobs you have to get done. Sometimes even errands/house jobs and projects you have been putting off could work. As long as it gives you a sense of accomplishment in the end it should work because you are bound to want to get that feeling again, soon and in bigger quantity which will require you to do something bigger, more complex and more meaningful, ultimately getting you into the groove.

As I said at the start, this answer is subjective in line with the question posed. We might get a completely different answer below which would fit your preference better.

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I like the last phrase about a sense of accomplishment, thanks! – Mihai Oprea Jun 28 '11 at 5:58

Don't see it as negative inactivity. See it as giving your creative mind space. Recently I have began to realise the huge value in mental space between programming work.

If you are using your mind and body differently in between doing your 'creative' work then it a good way to stay refreshed and focussed when you do come back to it. It also can give insight into your creative work by experiencing different activities.

I have done manual labour (landscaping) between development projects and I used my brain and body completely differently, but oddly, for me one helped the other.

Your long period of non-productivity may require you to have a more significant change in lifestyle even if temporarily particularly if you are experiencing a kind of creative block.

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