How to Be More Productive

“Oh...I had all sorts of things planned today and I didn’t do any of them.” 

This actually happens more often to me than you may think. I’ve written about productivity and relatively like to think of myself as a pretty self-motivated person but then there are the days when I feel like a potato. My brain has checked out, my body feels like I ran a marathon (I don’t even remember the last time I went running), and even speaking feels like effort. These “Potato Days” will usually happen after I’ve drained all my resources, particularly socially, and my body reacts before my brain even has the time or the ability to process it. 

So how we turn our “Potato Days” into “Productive Days”?

#1 Awareness

In order to change a behavior, you must first be aware that it exists. By becoming aware of your current state does not mean that you agree with or like it, but it is simply the first step in inviting change. 

#2 Acceptance

After we acknowledge our current non-so-productive state, the next step is acceptance. Accept what currently is and let go of what is not. Instead of resisting or reacting negatively to our current state, we can choose to respond by flowing with our current energy. Maybe we will not be productive in the areas that we planned to, but we can still find little pockets of productivity throughout our day that is both respectful to our current state and satisfies our desire of accomplishment. 

#3 Modify

Change that long to-do list into a smaller one, write a new to-do list, or throw out your to-do list entirely. What you can do will change on a daily basis based on your mood, energy, and environment. If today is not the day you clean out your whole garage because you feel physically exhausted, then change the plan to organizing your email or brainstorming new ideas for the upcoming week. Adjust what you do to how you feel, not the other way around. 

#4 Move Your Body

When we are in the deep end of being a potato we probably look something like this—pajamas, blanket burrito, blinds shut—am I right or am I right? We are not a bear about to hibernate for Winter and we could definitely use some of the Vitamin D to wake us up. So get up, dust yourself off, and maybe do a little dance. Moving your body will not only increase your energy but get your endorphins flowing, and who doesn’t love endorphins? 

#5 Let Go

When we enter these states of low productivity we have either reached a state of burnout or are subconsciously avoiding something. Fear of failure, stress of rejection, or the possibility something will not work out--our body will respond to the stress that we hold in our body. At least that’s how it goes for me. 

So on these days to shake off the negative vibes and transform my anxiousness into positive energy, I practice yoga, meditate, or sit in silence for a few minutes. To let go of the B.S., negativity, self-loathing, doubts, guilt, expectations, and simply allow myself to exist in the present moment. I use these moments to listen to my body and calm my active mind so return to a place of peace that exists within. 

#6 Do the Things You Haven’t Had the “Time” to do 

If you don’t feel like doing anything on the agenda, this is the perfect opportunity to do some of those things you’ve been wanting to do but haven’t carved out the time for. Whether that be cooking new recipes, cleaning out your closet, or catching up on podcasts--be productive in ways you were not expecting. While these tasks may not be on the top of the to-do list for the day, they are still great ways to be productive on those not-so-productive days that satisfies the mind and the soul. 

#7 Love

This moment. Your life. And yourself.