How to Reboot Your Brain When You're Feeling Wildly Unproductive
As a blogger and writer, it can feel like I need to be “on” every day. Between photo shoots, in-person meetings, and writing deadlines, there’s hardly a day when I don’t have something due. And it’s not just something that bloggers struggle with—I know all jobs come with the same sense of daily pressure. So what happens on that days that you just can’t? I’ve been there—believe me! But I’ve definitely developed a few tips to work through creative ruts or when motivation cannot be found.
Log Off Social Media for the Day
Between everything going on in the world right now and the black hole that social media can be, I find that turning it off completely helps in more ways than one. Instead of letting my mind feel scattered and overwhelmed from the information—not to mention the comparison with who is doing what—I give my brain time to chill when I’m feeling unmotivated. It might sound counterintuitive, but stuffing it with more info (much of it useless) only makes the problem worse.
Whether it’s a true meditation session or walking without headphones in nature, it’s crucial to let your mind recharge. On days that I’m having writer’s block or something similar, I give myself a break with a form of meditation. The mental clarity I can gain afterward is insane.
Get a Good Night's Sleep
I find that when I run into creative ruts or the “I can’t” days, it’s because I haven’t been sleeping well. Instead of burning the midnight oil and forcing motivation to come, I prioritize getting a bunch of sleep. I’m usually feeling a lot better the morning after—and the motivation will naturally flow.
Make the Most of Good Energy
When it all comes down to it, there are simply days that we’ll feel “off”—we’re human, after all! And sometimes we need a personal day where we can veg out and not think about deadlines and the like. Which is why I utilize my motivational energy whenever it shows up.
For my job specifically, this means writing multiple blog posts when I’m in a good writing rhythm. Or taking extra “stock” photos at photo shoots so that I can use them on days where I want to stay in yoga pants and a topknot (and not shoot for Insta).
Take advantage of the times where your brain and body are naturally energized and set yourself up for success in the future. You’ll be happy you did!
Try the Pomodoro Technique
If you absolutely must get something done and you haven’t planned for it, it’s all about the Pomodoro technique. It’s a productivity technique that basically forces you to work hard for short spurts—eventually leading up to a day of getting stuff done like a boss.
Essentially, you work for X amount of time then break for X amount of time. You can play with the ratio that works for you, but for me, I work for 25 minutes and then take a five-minute break—over and over and over until my tasks are complete.
During my 25 minutes, or the “on” time, it’s important to tune out all distractions. Close your email inboxes, turn your phone over, turn off the TV—whatever. Then during your “off” time, it’s just as important to limit your technology still. The five minutes is a mind reset, and your phone will only add more noise. I save my Instagram scrolling for lunch or when I’m totally done with the task—and instead use the five minutes to stretch, walk around the house, grab tea, etc.
Voilà! Productivity even on the most unmotivated days.
This story was originally published on October 25, 2017.