14 steps on How to be Productive when you don’t feel like it

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All of us like being productive every day. We would love to be like that person who hustles and gets things done. But sometimes we don’t feel like it. I find myself most of the time in this state-”I don’t feel like it.” In those times, we might want either a little push or a whole new reset to get things going. Indeed, you can give yourself that little nudge by following some simple tricks. And we are going to talk about those tricks in this post. So that you will know how to be productive when you don’t feel like it.

How to be productive in 14 steps (when you dont feel like it):

how to be productivde

1. Do what you don’t want to do.

Have you ever noticed that we have more of an urge to do something we are not supposed to do than what we should do. This is true in most cases of habits that we want to break. Try doing the opposite of what you want to do at that moment.  For example, next time you have an urge to eat junk food, try going for a 15 minute walk.

2. Make it easy.

If you have read the book Atomic Habits, you will know that to build a habit, the initial step is to make it easier to start with. The same applies here. Thus, if the work to do is easier , you will be more motivated. For example, to build the habit of reading a book every night,place a book on your nightstand closer to the bed.

3. Tune yourself for the long run

Stephen Covey, in his book The Seven Habits of Effective People, has said,” Sharpen the saw,” which means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset we have, which is you.  This can create growth in your life. To stay motivated, self care and self renewal are important. Like a player who rests well before a match, feed your mind, body, and soul with adequate nourishment. Consequently, this helps us stay motivated in the long run.

how to be productive when you dont feel like it

4. Have a plan

 It is always good to have a plan. Think of your goals and all the possible obstacles to achieving them. Then write down a plan to sort out each of these obstacles. This way, you don’t have to get into a dilemma between the urge to postpone your work or the motivation to work in line with your values and goals.

5. Your identity: return to it and own it.

Who do you want to be? With the prevalence of so much distraction,we often forget what our original identity is. What makes you you? What keeps you motivated to be you? Finding answers to these questions will take you back to who you are. Accept it and own it. For example, you might want a certain lifestyle because of your Instagram feed. On the contrary, you might be a different person. Returning to your identity makes life simple and makes it easy to stay motivated.

Saying no and setting boundaries are important for you to own your identity. If you need help read this article on setting boundaries both internal and external.

6. Pros and cons.

Psychologists advise making a list of pros and cons for two things during therapy. One for how things will be if you make the change in your life. The other is for how things would be if you stayed in the current state. As a result, you will get a list to analyse and become more motivated to make the change.

7. Reevaluate your To-do list.

Most of us get way too ambitious all of a sudden and make a long list of to-dos. This is counter-productive. Sit down and take time to recheck your to-do list. Pick out three of the most important things in your life that need immediate attention. Focus on those three areas.Break them into smaller daily steps.

If you are a fan of journals, try this one. It has so many self reflection prompts, gratitude pages, blank pages for free writing and so much more. I feel this is an all-in-one journal for productivity and self love.

8. Practise getting into the zone

Getting into the zone means getting into the flow state, where your mind is emptied. Your mind has to focus on nothing but the task at hand. When I am in this zone, my mind accepts anything that comes its way, faces it, and deals with it at the moment. There is no overthinking, refusing, overreacting, or underreacting. Because if you react, you get consumed by the problem instead of working towards finding a solution.

9. Close the open loops

Open loops include all things that grab your attention while trying to be productive. This includes unreplied emails, half-done jobs, and unattended commitments. Try making a list of all these tasks, allotting specific time alongside your mainstream work getting it done then and there. This avoids a backlog of work when you are trying to be productive.

10. Categorize tasks into do,delegate or defer 

Create a personalised workflow by collecting all the tasks in your mind and organising them into categories. The categories include tasks that can be done, delegated or deferred

  • Do the tasks that can be completed by you within a short time.
  • Delegate  the tasks that can be done by a person with better expertise and skills.
  • Defer the tasks that need more time and attention to a specific time in future and get them done by then.

Also, it is important to review this task list periodically and check if you are finishing it.

11. Dedicate the space and time

You will need around two days to get into your new workflow. We have already made the task list. Now we need to allocate time and space for your work to be done. Having an assigned working space further helps our minds get into the flow state. Allocating time to do your work ensures that your attention is not diverted to tasks other than the work at hand.

dedicate the space and time for your workflow

12. Have regular check-ins and flexibility

You have organized your work and tasks. But how do we keep up the progress? You need to do weekly, monthly, and even quarterly check-ins to ensure that you are on the correct path. If necessary, make adjustments to suit your needs. This is highly crucial when urgent tasks get in your way when you are in a set workflow. You need to prioritise what is important and get that done first instead of panicking.

13. Self care:

Following this organized workflow lets you complete your tasks and gives you confidence. In addition to these, it gives you time for yourself and your loved ones. It is highly essential to engage in self care activities and spend time with your loved ones in order to prevent burnout. Have a list of things that you would love to do someday, or a ‘may-be” list. When you have the time, start doing them. Indulge in activities that nourish your body, soul, and mind.

If you are a parent and you feel burned out, read this article to learn some tips and self care ideas to manage burnout.

Check out this article for great self-care tips, especially for mental health.

14. Have gratitude

If anyone asks me for advice on finding joy, I always tell them to practise gratitude. Evidently, practising gratitude has immense benefits for mental health. This can be done by changing one word in our conversations, as many psychologists say. When you feel unmotivated, say “I get to do ‘something'” instead of “I have to do something”.


Your brain is your best planner. Keeping it clear means more productivity and happiness. Follow the steps given above to enhance your productivity. It is always good to put whatever is on your mind on paper. It can be either a traditional notebook or in digital format. Putting it out and organising it in a fine layout can help you relieve half the stress. Remember, you need to take it slow and not try to overdo it overnight.

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