How to recover when life interrupts your productivity

Have you ever had an interruption that derailed your day? Or come back from vacation and can’t get back into your flow? Or life happens and you find that you’re not going to the gym anymore? These are some of the things that occur when life knocks us off our productivity horse. In this article, I share a simple approach to recover and get back into your groove.

How to recover from interruptions

The problem is that interruptions happen when you are already doing something else. You have momentum going, or you’re in a flow state. As a result, we are still in one place, yet yanked into another.

What this does is that it leaves you forked. The interruption divides your attention, focus and mental ram into two places.

As a result, you can’t do either of the things you were trying to do well. So here are some steps to follow to get back on track when life interrupts you or thrown off your routine.

  1. Capture what you were working on: You could write it down on paper or create a document. But register a placeholder for what you’re currently doing.

  2. Acknowledge the interruption, give your attention to the thing that came across your radar, then choose as to how you would like to handle it.

  3. Give yourself room to recover. - Take a break after the interruption and regroup to tackle the thing that you’re working on at the moment. The key is to do it in proportion to the amount of the disruption. For example: if you went on vacation for a week or you fell off your routine for a week then give yourself a week to get back. Or if someone interrupted you for five minutes, then give your self a five-minute break and then get back to it.


You work hard, and you’re hard on yourself. You feel like you should be able to take things in stride as they come at you.

But also remember that interruptions are a part of life and that they will happen. When they do, you need a routine that gets you back to what you were doing.

I’ve found that the above steps have worked well for me and friends that tried it. But it’s still a very personal process. To take it, tweak it, or completely change it, but create a process. You need steps that you can follow to get back on track when interruptions happen. This way you can always get back to being productive when interferences occur.

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