The good thing about jetlag is …

Martin is our meetings magician – helping you have effective meetings.

In this post (which originally appeared here) he explains how a bout of jet lag turned into a productive spell!


I just got back from the annual Board meeting of the International Association of Facilitators. As newly elected (pro bono) Europe Director this was my first meeting and it was a steep learning curve.

Bloodshot eye - suffering from jetlag?
Image by maxf

So I didn’t get much sleep while I was there because there was so much going on and after a 12 hour flight coming back my sleep patterns were all over the place – the net result of which was that I couldn’t think straight and certainly couldn’t give attention to the a new project I need to plan.

No problem – think productive. Which I did.

The most productive thing I could do under those circumstances was something which needed only low attention.

Having failed to do it during my monthly reviews (See “How to be a Productivity Ninja” by Graham Allcott) I decided to sort out my files. Boring but necessary.

I spent a dozy unfocussed 3 hours clearing my project folders (I have one box file for each project on the shelf in my office). What a relief it was at the end to see only box files for live projects not ones for things I’d finished ages ago. And to know that what I needed to archive was safely tucked away.

OK so what is it for you? What is it that you have put off for ages? That thing that bugs you and means you’re not as productive as you want to be? Sort out your work bag? Tidy up that drawer with all the junk in? Sort your files?

Next time when you find you just can’t focus and your attention is low, whatever the reason, don’t beat yourself and try to concentrate when you can’t.

Just put on your metaphorical overalls and do some tidying. You know it makes sense. Jetlag or not.


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Hi Martin – great article. When my brain is not at peak function I generally do physical tasks like filing or sorting through the dreaded bin of electronic cords or office supplies. It is relatively easy and also satisfying to get it done.

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