3 Ways to Increase Your Productivity
Today’s just been one of those days. I got eight hours of sleep, did my makeup this morning, and even made a to-do list, but instead of being wildly productive, it feels like I’m trying to swim through peanut butter. My brain can’t seem to latch onto anything but flippant distractions, and despite this morning’s almond milk cafe au lait, I feel completely lethargic. After a wasted hour of work attempts, add a little frustration and anxiety, and you have a recipe for a hopeless afternoon. Because honestly, I really want to be dozing off in a hammock in the woods, rather than hunched over my desk snacking on carrots, no matter how interesting chemistry is. I’m sure you agree! And normally, around this time of day in this situation, I’d throw in the towel. I’ll just go find Youtube videos on living out of a backpack, or paint some cards, or clean my room, because those are all just enough to keep me from freaking out about the other responsibilities that are being ignored.
“I can’t help the state of my brain, and don’t feel productive or motivated. I won’t be able to get anything done even if I try, so I might as well do something else.”
Those are some of the thoughts that tempted me to give up.
And as I was considering that possibility, I took myself out of the situation for a moment and considered the big picture. Yes, that’s how I feel today, in this second, but is that really a significant factor? I wonder, how many days are left in the semester? How many days left before that article deadline? How long since I agreed to that project? I have some time, it turns out. I could take today off and be just fine. But then, what if I feel this way every single one of those days? What if I never WANT to do any of these things? What if I don’t feel motivated or inspired or like the amazingly, effortless successful girl boss we all wish we were?
And that’s when I realized I had a choice. No, I can’t choose to be perfectly productive all day, every day without a second thought. Actually, you can’t either. But that’s good news. Because now our choice is what we do when we’re hit with writer’s block, Monday blues, and afternoon crashes. We have the power to keep going. Expect those delays, setbacks, and slumps to come, because we all know they will, but decide beforehand that you win, every time.
Three ways to beat the productivity battle:
1. Tidy up your brain!
Keep a notepad in your work area just for brain dumps. So often I’ll have a thought about something that’s important, but doesn’t need to be done right now. Write those down! At the end of the day or work sesh, just sort every item into things you need to do, and then prioritize for later. This is helpful not just during working hours, but throughout the week, too! I learned the hard way that you cannot remember everything. It’s way easier to take the few seconds to write down a list than go through all of the trouble of forgetting something important later on.
2. Don’t overdo the caffeine.
Seriously. I know it seems like the bomb.com, but even just one whole cup of coffee can throw my entire day off. Personally, too much caffeine makes it SO. HARD. to focus. When I’m hyped up, it’s all the more tempting to go redo my bedroom instead of being stuck at a computer or trudging through a book. So, I try to drink black or green tea instead, and limit my intake altogether. You could even try matcha tea or bulletproof coffee, both of which are tasty drinks with vitamins and healthy fats to balance the caffeine! Bonus tip: find out how many hours of sleep your body needs and start listening. You won’t be as dependent on that morning buzz if you’re in sync with your natural rhythms instead of fighting them!
3. Take breaks.
I know, it sounds contradictory. But no one will realistically be happy and functioning at full capacity if they’re not able to take breaks. For 10 or 15 minutes, roughly two to three times throughout your work day, allow yourself to get up, walk away, and renew your mind. Go outside and get some air, grab a snack, or spend a few minutes going over your goals for the day to keep them fresh in your mind. Some prayer time & bible reading during these breaks would do wonders for your day as well!
As we all know, productivity doesn’t typically come naturally. Discouragement, tiredness, inadequacy, and all of the other negative feelings that try to sabotage our day are completely real, difficult, and unavoidable.
But acting on our feelings is optional and my goals are too important,[tweetshareinline tweet="my dreams are too big, and my time is too valuable to be wasted or lost based on how I feel." via="no"].
How about yours?
Written by: Lauren Dickie.