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Being Productive When Feeling Unproductive

Woman stressed out with crumpled pieces of paper on the table. Image from Forbes.com

It’s the middle of the semester, the holiday season is approaching, the weather is changing, and the feeling of wanting to be productive is slowly dropping. 

If you have been feeling unproductive or unmotivated lately, you are not alone. Here is some advice from an upcoming graduating senior to help you out of that slump.

Daily Agendas and Checklists

There is something so satisfying about checking off a daily to-do list. Lists give clarity and an outline of everything needed to do that day. While it may overwhelm you at first, the moment those tasks start getting crossed off, you begin to feel more motivated. 

I have been writing out daily agendas for myself since high school and have shifted from using physical planners to Notion, an online productivity tool!

Set a Reward System

Finishing a task you have to do is rewarding in itself, but I like to set mini rewards for myself too that help keeps me going.

For example, I tell myself that if I finish X amount of assignments, I can have a small bag of candy. I would also reward myself with a 20-minute social media break or even the “approval” for me to purchase something I had been wanting online. 

Little rewards like these can give you the motivation to complete what needs to be done.

Just Start

One of the most effective ways that I found to help me kickstart my productivity again was to simply start. Before doing so, go on a quick walk or grab a cup of hot tea to energize yourself and prepare.

I would start the littlest task like drafting or replying to an email. Once I felt accomplished completing it, I would get the motivation to continue my other responsibilities. 

One small action is the key to progressing to your bigger goals.

Take A Break!

I say this with deep emphasis because this is also a constant reminder to myself. 

As a perfectionist and workaholic, the notion of putting aside work and giving my body time to rest is absurd. I’ve learned now that it’s not healthy and can drain you even more. 

Breaks are needed as research shows that they can help improve your mood, your overall health, and your performance. There are so many distractions in our lives that overwhelm us, so take time to relax and recharge.

Define What Productivity Means to You

At the end of the day, we all have our own versions of being productive. 

If you are happy with going through and completing a giant checklist of tasks, consider that a productive day. If you are happy with going through a day of waking up and completing one homework assignment, consider it a productive day too. 

There is no right answer to productivity. As long as you are proud and happy of what you have done, I would say that is a success.

The above tips may not work for everyone, and if that is the case, try to find what works for you.

What are some ways that help you stay productive? Let us know @HerCampusSJSU.

Hi! I'm Janice, and I'm a fourth year business marketing major at SJSU. I love exploring new food places, hanging out with friends, video games, reading and doing portrait photography. Thank you for reading through my stories!