What to do when you feel unproductive
Feeling stuck and unproductive is natural and it can be caused by overwork, lack of momentum, a bad mood, a success block, the weather and/or dozens of other factors. And, while it's helpful to understand why you're stuck and unproductive, sometimes it's just better to do one or more of the PRACTICAL things which follow!
1. Play the Check-In game.
Call a friend/colleague and say, "I'm stuck/unproductive. Can I check in with you every hour for a couple of hours until I get cranking again?" This really works! And, your friend may want to play along too! Just share what you want to get done, specifically, between now and the next time you call in. Your friend would listen and accept what you're saying or ask you to increase/decrease the goal for the hour. In either case, keep the check in call to be less than 5 minutes.
2. Take a walk, go to the gym, go running, move your body.
Increasing your body's metabolism also loosens up your mind and spirit, resulting in a greater energy flow. It's that simple.
3. Take a nap.
Sometimes, your mind needs a break to work through an idea or block. Take a 1-3 hour nap and see if that helps.
4. Turn up the music.
Use music as a prompter, especially when you’re feeling draggy or alone. Rap, disco, instrumentals work well. And when you’re really stuck, Frank Sinatra might do the trick.
5. Eat/drink something that you will respond to emotionally or physically.
If you’re REALLY stuck, have a couple of cups of coffee - caffeine is a great unblocker.
6. Completely clean up your work space.
It's said that "stuff" around you that's not in its place, can be a drain of energy. When you get stuck, one of the first things you can do is take 10 minutes and put things in piles or file stuff away or clear your immediate work area so that there's less stuff dragging you down.
7. Work on another task or project.
Don’t be too willing to push yourself through a project that you’re just not in the mood to work on. Find a project/idea that you DO want to work on and your productivity will pick right up!
8. Have a schedule/routine.
A routine provides momentum and momentum will keep you from getting stuck. So, schedule in an hour or three of dedicated work between appointments/calls/meetings.
9. Play the reward game.
This may not be spiritually healthy, but give yourself rewards when you finish a tough project. Like a vacation, a trip, a shirt, a massage, etc. Hey, whatever works!