Sometimes, the Key to Productivity is to Stop Thinking About It!

Do you ever have one of those days when every single thing on your task list feels impossible or just too annoying… and you can’t seem to get yourself engaged on anything?

We will always have hard things to deal with that will make some days feel miserable: Impossible demands, nasty politics, aggressive competitors, schedule pressures, resource cuts, multiple stakeholders, difficult people…the list goes on and on.

The first point to remember is that we can’t be productive all the time! But we must have some things we can do to make progress, when we’re not in the mood to do the work.

If the important things on your task list are just too unappealing to consider at this moment…Pick something small. Pick something easy. And move it forward. The feeling of moving something forward — anything– no matter how small, can break the curse. This pattern of achieving something will settle in, and you’ll be ready to tackle something bigger.

Other technique we can use when we really need to do something we are dreading, is to stop thinking about it and just start doing it. Once we get going, it’s never as bad as we thought it would be. Grab a template, save it under an appropriate file name. Write something — anything. Write it badly. Find the first piece of information…Just start. Thinking about it too much before you start doesn’t help you start! In those cases, the key to productivity is sometimes to simply stop worrying and to start doing.

Drop the guilt. As humans we simply can’t be highly productive every day. Some days, even when you can get yourself to start, it doesn’t go well. Your brain has other plans that day. On those days when it is just not going to happen we have to learn to accept it, and more importantly, to not be wracked with guilt.

So on a day when being productive is off the table, the two remaining choices are:

  1. Don’t be productive and be OK…Appreciate the day for other reasons
  2. Don’t be productive and be miserable…let the guilt entirely ruin the day

Summing-up: Feeling Discouraged, Stuck, Lazy? Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying I will try again tomorrow.

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