Even the best of intentions to be productive can be massacred by the urge to be lazy.
How does one cope when those feelings surface? When you just want to order a pizza and binge watch the office for the fourth time in a row instead of working on your paper, your novel, your art, your homework, your thesis? We’ve all been there. No shame. But sometimes you just have to do some work. I know. It sucks. Whomp. The biggest help is hardening your mental resolve to just get it done, or to at least start. But besides bossing your brain into falling into line, what else is there to do in order to spark productivity? Below is my list of productivity tips, for your viewing pleasure.
Get into the mindset
- Clean your space
- Handle all the other stuff first
- Grab a drink and a snack
- Find some soothing music
- Put your phone away
- Make a to-do list
- Use the count down method
- Start small
- Reward yourself for working hard
How can you ever hope to be productive when you have 10,000 other things on your plate that are all vying for your attention? If you really need to get a project done, remove those distractions.
Clean your space
How many times have you sat down to start working on something only to have your mind start to wander immediately to all the things you also have to do? Laundry, the dishes, that phone call you need to make, taxes, update that blog post, laundry, the dishes, that phone call you need to make, taxes, update that blog post, laundry…
These things can turn into a loop. A loop that succeeds in stopping you from getting them done (because you are trying your darndest to do this other thing), but also stops you from getting the thing done because you can’t concentrate on the task at hand. One thing at a time! Clean up those dishes first. Clean your room. Put in a load of laundry before you sit down (you can take a break when you switch them. It creates a wonderful little ecosystem for productivity). By cleaning your space you eliminate distractions so you can focus on the important thing.
Grab a drink and a snack
Humans get hungry. And thirsty. Surprise, surprise! A great way to distract yourself from getting your productivity on is to get all situated in your work space only to jump up again to go in search for a little something. Think ahead, make some salty popcorn, cut up some cheese and apple, grab a cup of tea or have some plain old ice water. Don’t let the cravings distract you from what you need to get done.
Find some soothing music
I like to listen to music when I’m working on things like art or cleaning, but when it comes to writing, I usually like to have silence, because guess what…sometimes music becomes a distraction for me. I get so into finding something good to listen to that I end up wasting half the time I had set aside to work on The Thing. Or I get super into a song and my mind wanders off to daydream land. But for the instances that I do listen to music, I opt for instrumentals, soundtracks, or classical.
Put your phone away
I wish we still lived in the time of AIM where you could put an away message up saying not to bug you. Unfortunately, there’s not really anything stopping people from texting or messaging your phone at all hours of the day or night. Tell your friends that you are on “Do Not Disturb” mode, put your phone on silence, and put it in a different room. Do you really need to check snapchat while trying to think of a plot hole fix? Nope. Distraction.
Make a To-Do list
Honestly, this is a huge help. If you’re not a list person, at least give it a try. It gets all your thoughts out of your head and down on paper so you don’t have to worry about remembering all those little things, and gives you a great guideline to follow if you get stuck and don’t know what to do next. Plus it’s super satisfying to cross something off your list. I add silly things to mine, like “Make a to-do list” just so I can check it off.
Use the Count Down Method
After watching Mel Robbins’s TedTalk, I was a bit skeptical. After all, I’m a procrastinator who doesn’t do well with getting started with things sometimes. I was wondering if this trick would really work, and guess what? It does. 100% does. This video sort of changed my life in that it changed the way I think about my self parenting and impulse control. The best way to start is to just do it.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the idea of working on a project, and therefore don’t even bother to start? It helps to break down your tasks into smaller tasks so that you can take it once piece at a time. Not sure where to start? Just pick someplace. Messy room? Start by throwing down your dirty clothes. Start of a new chapter? Just start typing and see where it goes. You can always edit later. The point is to begin. The rest will follow after, and before you know it, you will be in full productivity mode.
Reward yourself for working hard
What do you do when someone you care about does something hard? You congratulate them. So why can’t we congratulate ourselves when we put work into something? Be kind to yourself. The sweet reward at the end of a long period of productivity will encourage you to finish future tasks. Maybe the reward is going for a walk, maybe it’s having a candy bar or a glass of wine, or maybe it’s buying yourself a present you’ve wanted for a while. No matter how big or small, rewarding yourself encourages future productivity and motivates us to get the tough shit over with so we can enjoy the splendor of a really good reward. Even if it’s only a supreme feeling of accomplishment.
Do you have any tips on how to be productive? Link to your posts down below! I’d love to read some of your suggestions.
Take care, and don’t forget to take your medications!