8 Ways to Deal With Unproductive Days

You Can Put Your Productivity Back on Track

This is a guest post by Matthew Snider, a personal development junkie and a regular blogger at Self Development Secrets.

Let’s face it, there are some days when the clock keeps moving ahead, you keep falling behind, and you eventually feel like giving up entirely. We can’t be productive every single day, and we do lots of things that wastes our time. But you shouldn’t let the lack of productivity stop you from achieving your dreams and goals.

Put Your Productivity Back on Track

If you’re having an unproductive day, take a look at the tips below to help you get back on track:

  1. Take a Short Break. Although this first suggestion seems unproductive in itself, taking a break will allow you to separate yourself from the work that you’re not getting done. In this time, you can engage in activities such as walking or drawing. Once you’re done with your break and you return to your work, you will have regained your energy and your focus.
  2. Tackle Another Task. Sometimes, you won’t be able to focus on a certain task no matter what you do. Instead of wasting time being frustrated that you can’t complete the task, switch to another task. This will let you tackle work that needs to be done while you get a much-needed break from the projects that are hurting your productivity.
  3. Seek Out Inspiration. When you aren’t able to focus or find the motivation necessary to achieve your task, it could be a lack of inspiration. Read a book, listen to music, or find another place to do your work. A simple change of location or a mood booster is sometimes all you need to get your work done.
  4. Use Unproductive Time to Plan. If you absolutely cannot get anything done today, then use the day to plan for your future. Take a look at your schedule, figure out what you need to get done for the weeks ahead, and come up with a better productivity schedule to make up for lost time. Even though you aren’t getting rid of any tasks, you are still doing something that will help you out later.
  5. Eliminate Any and All Distractions. An unproductive day isn’t necessarily caused by laziness or a lack of motivation. The cause of it might just be a messy work environment or the constant ringing of your cell phone. Take some time out of your day to reduce the number of distractions that you have to deal with.
  6. Evaluate the Reason Behind the Lack of Productivity. Some days can be particularly trying for any number of reasons. You may not have gotten enough sleep last night or you might be feeling a little under the weather. Whatever the reason, take a moment to find out what it is that is making you unproductive and find a solution to it.
  7. Do Your Work When You Feel the Most Productive. Some people are more productive in the mornings while others can do their best work late at night. Find out when you are the most productive and do your work around that time. Unless you have a project that is due immediately or one that must be done in a certain time frame, it is better to work when your body and your mind finds it the easiest.
  8. Produce a Rough Draft of Your Work and Then Perfect It. Despite our intense desires to achieve perfection, most of us can’t produce our best work on the first try. Produce a rough draft of your work. Even though it may not be ready for submission, something is better than nothing. Once you’ve finished the basic outline of the work that needs to get done, you will be able to complete it during a high productivity time.

Productivity Recovered

Unproductive days happen to each and every one of us.

However, that doesn’t mean that we should allow it to completely invade our mind and our work space. Using the tips above, you will be able to successfully recover from the lack of productivity that was preventing you from getting your work done.

Question: What are some ways you get your productivity back on track on unproductive days? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Even beyond using “not feeling productive” time to plan or taking a break, I think it necessary to build in time for integration and processing. If there are major changes going on in your life, it’s important to give yourself permission to take a day off and simply let things percolate.

    This doesn’t mean looking for an excuse to good off or give up when work feels like, well, work. It means that if you’re dealing with a death in the family or a major upheaval or even a new direction, you can’t expect yourself to continue with business as usual.

    In these types of situations, it can be more productive in the long run to step back and take care of yourself. Just because you may not see tangible evidence of productivity on the outside doesn’t mean that your subconscious isn’t busy.

  • I’m still having a hard time with eliminating distractions. In this age of super-short attention spans, it’s quite a challenge.
    But I know I can put anything I put my mind to.
    I do my best not to look at the time and do what I have to do and focus on one thing.

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  • Andre Turner

    Oh I understand that these days are extremely high-tech but the write up about those “unproductive” days was like someone has been here with me. I agree with all that has noted and in fact have employed some of the suggestions. Thank you for a real look, because if anyone that suffers with depression should read it, I believe it could be uplifting.