Recently I received this question:
How do you stay productive on low days?
My first instinct is to just say BE KIND TO YOURSELF. But you probably want a more involved answer, right?
Sometimes we roll out of bed and feel like slugs. Our give-a-shit is gone, and we just want to play hookie. But there are a few problems with this idea–we actually NEED to achieve something.
Usually hitting a wall points to signs of burn-out. If possible, I advise that you play hookie if not for the whole day, then for half. But don’t let yourself fall into this trap too often!
Here are a few ideas to motivate you:
1. Do work/fun sprints — do 30 minutes of work and 30 minutes of fun. Blog, take dog for a walk, clean the kitchen, watch a show on HGTV. You get the point.
2. Make a list — I’m a huge list-maker. I write numbers beside each entry to prioritize, even if it’s a trip to the post office. As you tick off these tasks, you become more motivated.
3. Put on some great tunes — crank it up, and don’t just go for the same old favorites in your iPod! Find a new station on Pandora Radio or browse stations on iTunes. Sometimes all you need is 1 new song to get the blood pumping and ideas flowing.
4. Light a candle — ambiance goes a long way. Pretend you’re sitting in a little Parisian cafe and working by candlelight.
5. Bake — sometimes mindless tasks like cleaning, baking or driving refresh the soul. So get on Pinterest and find that cupcake recipe!
6. Read — authors need brain food. Reading is one way to fill up your empty skull.
7. Play — run outside with your dog/kids/ hell, your old grandma if you can. Jump rope or shoot hoops. Act like you’ve skipped school and be a kid again.
8. Go away from your desk — maybe you just need a change of scenery. Find a booth in the coffee shop, sip on something decadent, and let your mind wander.
9. Watch a movie — I recently took a day off and cleaned the house then watched Brokeback Mountain. One of the best days I can remember in a long time!
10. Be kind to yourself — there! I finally said it! Keep your goals light and I promise your productivity will return.
Did you notice there were no F bombs in this post? Fuck, I must not be myself…