Ever since the pandemic shook the entire world, we continue on our struggles and attempts to adapt to the uncertainty and drastic changes to our ways of life. With that being said, it is absolutely normal to experience days where we feel less motivated and productive in our tasks. You are certainly not alone in your pursuit for a new normal, and the changes to our lives could be affecting your productivity and motivation.

However, with the hustle and bustle that carries on into our work from home, we often don't have the luxury of time to be unproductive. Therefore, there are certainly some things you can do to help boost your motivation even on these unfruitful days.

1.    Find Your Most Productive Time

laptop computer near plant

Photo by Igor Son on Unsplash

It's important to know which part of the day your productivity is at its optimum. Some may even refer to this time as your "golden hours" or "peak hours". This is when we feel most concentrated, with our energy levels at its highest and hence, such precious hours should not be wasted.

However, everyone is different with no one-size-fits-all approach to this. As each person works best at different times of the day, you will first need to know just how to identify your "golden" hours.

Its most likely that you already have an understanding of what kind of person you are — a morning person or a night owl? In order to identify your "golden" hours, an easy way would be through journaling:

  1. When first starting out, set a timer to 15 minutes and start your work (feel free to shorten or lengthen the time of each session!)
  2. Once these 15 minutes are up, jot down exactly what you had completed during this time.
  3. Repeat these steps throughout your day.

By the end of the day, you should be able to better understand when you are most productive through identifying which periods of the day you completed the most! This will allow you to make the best out of your "golden" hours and achieve more!

2.    Take a Power Nap

person in black shirt lying on bed

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Contrary to popular belief, naps aren't just for kids! Although naps may seem unproductive in itself, treating yourself to a short nap can help reset your mind and leave you refreshed and ready to work.

Daytime naps have been proven to have a multitude of benefits, such as increased alertness, boosted creativity, better memory, improved mood, and the list could go on. Thus, Daytime sleep is sure to provide you with all the right ingredients for a productive day!

Rest is of paramount importance and is key to leading a productive life. Therefore, there is no reason to feel guilty for indulging in an afternoon snooze. So the next time you encounter a lethargic and unmotivated day, take a short 15-20 minute nap!

3.    Put Away Your Devices

Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash

Social media is so addictive, I know… it's fun, entertaining, and there are so many different platforms. With everyone working from home, it is easy to find ourselves sucked into the whirlpool of funny cat videos, trendy dances and questionable, yet interesting challenges. We more often than not become oblivious of how much precious time social media has taken from our day until we realise that after several minutes, or even hours have passed.

But, you are certainly not alone. In 2021, each person spends an average of 2.5 hours on social media, and around 4 hours on their mobile devices each day.

So, put your phone away, or explore some of the ways to get rid of social media! Use this time to concentrate on the present and focus on spending your time more productively. Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram can wait, your work, not so much…

Putting away such distractions will not only help you better focus on your tasks, it promotes better sleep and reduces stress, enhancing both your mental and physical wellbeing. Rather than spending time chatting away with your friends or scrolling through Facebook, focus on yourself!

4.    Learn How To Get into The Zone

person writing on white paper

Photo by Kajetan Sumila on Unsplash

When you think of productivity, do you think tomatoes? Well, it's time you should.

Getting yourself into the zone and making the best use of your time requires finding a method that works best for you. But if you don’t want to spend your precious time figuring out what’s most effective, there is a classic and scientifically proven productivity technique that has taken the world of productivity by storm in recent years.

The Pomodoro Technique (with Pomodoro being Italian for tomato), involves alternating focused work sessions, with short breaks. This helps promote sustained concentration and optimises productivity.

  1. Start on a task and set a timer for 25 minutes
  2. Work on this task until your time is up
  3. Enjoy a 5-minute break
  4. Start your next task
  5. After about 4 pomodoros, treat yourself to a longer break of around 15-20 minutes

Rewarding yourself with regular short breaks prevents you from burning out and keeps you motivated to complete your tasks. So the next time you think of productivity, think tomatoes and start getting your work done!

5.   Plan Out Your Days

Feeling lost and overwhelmed by your seemingly unending pile of work? Don’t feel deterred to start. The best way to go about a busy, yet unproductive day is by planning out your day.

Start by creating a realistic to-do list by writing down all the tasks that you need to complete. Estimate how much time you will need to complete each task, set a deadline, and try your best to keep to it!

Get yourself a journal, or use a digital journaling app such as Journey.

Journey's cloud sync feature across mobile, iPad and web app

Journey provides users with a platform to write down their goals and to-do lists for the day.  It allows you to view your monthly calendar and get an overview of the tasks you have completed on each day of the month. Seeing what you have accomplished will definitely keep you motivated to continue on your productive streak!

Create to-do list journal entries using Journey
Create to-do lists using Journey

Getting yourself into work-mode on days when you just don’t feel like doing anything is not easy. Not only can these 6 tips assist you on unproductive days, they are good habits to incorporate into your daily life to help you stay on top of your tasks.

Cultivating new habits into your routine may not always be easy, so do reward yourself for trying! Remember that it is completely okay to have unproductive days. We are only human, so don’t push yourself too hard, and be sure to set aside days for rest!