Feeling unproductive? Here’s how to combat it
Thursday, July 12th, 2018

What do you do when you’re got heaps of work on but you’re feeling unproductive or uninspired? We look at ways to deliver even when you’re not feeling it.

Quick and dirty tactics to get it done

If you can’t afford to wait for that spark, here’s how to brute force it.

  1. Take 10 minutes to sketch out a plan.  Break down the project into small, actionable steps. For example, the first step might be brainstorming ideas, talking to an expert, or rereading the project guidelines. Get clear on exactly what the key outcome or deliverable is and work backwards.
  2. Make yourself a cup of coffee, peppermint tea, or whatever makes you feel like you’re in work mode.
  3. Use a free online Pomodoro Timer to work in 25-minute blocks, with a 5-minute break. The secret is to make yourself take the break, even if you don’t feel like you need it. If you don’t obey the timer when it tells you to take a break, you won’t obey it when it tells you get back to work.
  4. Make your break a real break. Don’t just flick over to Facebook – go for a walk, even if it’s just to the window and back, do some stretches, chat to a colleague, line up a music video and have a five-minute dance or headbanging sesh (workplace depending).
  5. Power through, you got this.

Longer term strategies to get your creative mojo back

Unless you’re Serena Williams, there’s someone in your field who’s better than you. Reading what those people have to say can be hugely inspiring and give you all sorts of ideas for your own work.

Watch a TED talk or attend a Creative Mornings breakfast lecture. YouTube tutorials are great for getting tips from the masters of more hands-on jobs.

Reconnect with the meaning in your work by journalling on why you do it and what your goals for the future are.

Also, make sure you’re getting enough sleep, exercise, water and vegetables. Your brain is part of your body, so your physical health affects your mental productivity.

Remember, you’re not a robot

Everyone has off days, and if your boss is remotely reasonable, they’ll understand that. Don’t beat yourself up too much if you have a blah day where you don’t accomplish a whole lot. It happens. Do some brainless admin work and make a plan for tackling the project tomorrow.

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