how to be productive when you really don't feel like it

How to Be Productive When You Really Don’t Feel Like It

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how to be productive when you really don't feel like it

I have a confession. As much as I love to write and create content for this blog, sometimes I just don’t feel like it! Today is one of those days, and I’m choosing to write about the thing I’m struggling with as a way to beat my desire to procrastinate and not show up. If you’re also having an “off” day where you really don’t feel like being productive, you’re definitely not alone.

Honestly, it’s our human nature to want to conserve our energy (i.e. do nothing) and put off things we perceive as difficult. It’s a classic survival strategy, right?

However, what do you do if you still want to get things done?

That’s a great question! I will be sharing the process I went through today to get out of my own productivity funk and maybe, just maybe it will help you too. *crosses fingers*

Related post: 8 Signs You’re Self-Sabotaging Without Even Realizing It

Step 1: Do something totally unproductive first

We all love to play the procrastination game sometimes. Again, it’s a part of being a human. So I’m going to give you some unconventional advice: Let yourself be unproductive for a little while.

Why this works: Think back to when you were a teenager and your parents said you couldn’t do something. It only made you want to do it more, right? Your mind works similarly even today. The moment you make something off limits, you also make it irresistible.

An hour or two of not being productive won’t kill you, I promise!

Step 2: Take care of a small, nagging task to create a quick win

I’m willing to bet you have a running mental list of little nagging tasks you tell yourself you’ll get done. That little list can drive you nuts. I know mine drives me a little nuts sometimes!

When you’re procrastinating and trying to avoid doing something, it’s the perfect time to do one of these simple tasks that’s not super important because it will be a quick win you can feel good about.

A box ticked feels great, right? It may be that this alone is enough to put you in the mood to be more productive.

My nagging task of today was to go to the store and pick up the cleaning supplies we were running low on at the house. When I got back, I felt like I’d accomplished something even though in the grand scheme of things I won’t be changing any lives by cleaning my house lol!

It doesn’t matter, though, because now I’m writing this post, which I’m hoping will help at least one person get out of their productivity rut. Sometimes mindless, boring tasks are exactly what you need to get your motivation back!

Step 3: Give yourself permission to be imperfect

Perfectionism kills more dreams than anything else. When you really don’t feel like doing something, you’re not exactly gonna be operating at your highest level. So don’t expect perfection!

Instead, give yourself permission to create a messy first draft and just get started. This doesn’t only apply to writing by the way. The quickest way to get out of a productivity funk is to just start creating, without pressure of it needing to be the best thing you’ve ever created.

Free Printable: Daily Inspired Action Map Worksheet

Step 4: Stop thinking and just start doing for at least 10 minutes

Sometimes you just gotta get over your damn self, and tell your mind who’s boss! I’ve found that when I stop overthinking and just start doing I can outsmart my mind.

The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to 1) act like I’m flicking an “off switch” in my mind and/or telling my subconscious (ego) to go sit on the stairs for a time-out, and 2) set a timer for 10-15 minutes.

When you set a timer, it creates focus and oddly enough you instantly feel a bit more motivated to get stuff done! The key to this is that you are only committing to 10-15 minutes of being productive, nothing more. I mean anyone can do that, right?

I didn’t come up with this idea on my own. It’s part of what’s called the Pomodoro Technique. There’s even a free online Pomodoro Tracker timer you can use here.

Related post: How I Ditched My To-Do List to Get More Done in Less Time

Step 5: Stop working if you want to or keep going if it feels good

Now here’s the cool part: Most of the time you will want to keep going after the timer goes off. You may even feel like the time flew by as you started working. Sometimes, however, if you feel particularly funky you will want to stop and that’s okay, too.

I’ve found that on the days I don’t want to keep going, it’s better to give myself a mental health day and take the day off from being productive. You’ll be pulling teeth trying to get anything done and you may as well just take the break if that’s what you really need to sort yourself out.

No shame!

To wrap it all up:

When you want to be productive, but you really don’t feel like it there are ways to get back your motivation. You can give yourself permission to be unproductive, take care of a nagging task, give yourself permission to be imperfect, set a timer for 10 minutes, and finally decide whether or not to keep going.

Whatever you do, don’t shame yourself for feeling the way you do. That will only make you feel even worse and by extension, you’ll be a lot less productive. Sometimes we can get our mojo back really quickly, and other days we really just need some time off. Only you can know the difference!

I’d love to know: How did this post help you? Which of these tips do you plan on trying to get your motivation mojo back? Let’s have a conversation in the comments!

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