How to Be Productive When You Just Don’t “Feel” Like It

JLVAS - how to be productive when you just don't feel like itHave you ever been sitting at your desk, staring at your computer screen, and think, “I… just don’t feel like working right now.”

Isn’t it the worst? Here is the thing, we all feel like that sometimes. Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep the previous night, or maybe you are in the middle of some kind of emotional turmoil. Maybe you worked too hard the previous day and are burnt out. Whatever your reason, there is no point in beating yourself up. That just makes the problem worse!

Instead, try some of these tips I use to kickstart my day and rediscover your productive side!

Try a Change of Scene
If you are sitting in your office, feeling stuck and unable to get started on your work, it might be time for a change of scene. Simply moving to a new location can be a great way to jumpstart your brain and get you into a more productive mood.

Your “move” could be anywhere, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in a traditional workplace. You could head to a coffee shop, or your office breakroom. If you work at home, you could head to a nearby library. The point is to simply change your surroundings to change your mindset. That said, make sure that you pick a place with few distractions around you.

Sometimes, I will simply pick up my laptop and head outside to our patio. The smell of fresh air and the sound of birds chirping immediately perk me up!

Try a New Time Management System
Keep in mind, we aren’t talking about time tracking here (although that can also be a worthwhile endeavor). We are talking about the way you use your time throughout the day.

There are a variety of different time management systems out there. One of the most popular systems today is the Pomodoro Technique, where you break your work down into 25-minute intervals with short 3 to 5-minute breaks inbetween. Another method is called Getting Things Done (GTD), a time management system explained in the book of the same name by David Allen. Here, you record all of your planned tasks externally, breaking them down into smaller, more easily manageable pieces.

I am also a huge fan of blocking my time. On my calendar, I have specific parts of the day blocked off for particular tasks. For example, I schedule most of my phone calls for an afternoon block, giving me a much needed break from staring at the computer screen all morning!

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Hire a Virtual Assistant
One of the biggest reasons why small business owners and entrepreneurs feel unmotivated is because absolutely everything is on their shoulders. If you own a small business, you probably don’t have many employees, meaning that the small, boring, repetitive tasks that would normally be given to someone else in a larger company must be completed by you. Not to mention the new, difficult, large projects that you need someone skilled to jump in and take over!

Virtual assistants help increase your productivity in more ways than one. Sure, you can hire them to complete your copywriting, write and schedule your social media, update your website, as well as help with project management and client care. Having someone else do all of that would certainly increase the overall productivity level in the office! But once you have all of those tasks off your plate, all of a sudden, you can do the work that really matters. The work that only you can do. That is the work that you don’t have to psych yourself up for, you actually look forward to doing it. Hiring a virtual assistant will help you remember the reason you started your business in the first place!

I could argue that exercise is always a productive use of your time, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.

If you are feeling fatigued or distracted, taking a short walk can be a great way to increase your energy level and restore your ability to focus. You don’t need to do a full workout, just a five minute walk could do the trick. When you get back to your office/workspace, the momentum you’ve built up during your walk should carry over into your work.

I try to take a mini lunch break everyday to do a little yoga in my home. It’s a great way to stretch, relax and refocus and I immediately feel better with a burst of energy too!

Start With Smaller Tasks
Working is kind of like exercising. It’s difficult to go straight to the tough stuff unless you warm up first. Take a look at your daily to-do list or project management system (Teamwork Project Management is always a good choice) and find a task that will only take a short amount of time. Use this task to get yourself into a productive headspace. Once you are finished, it will be much easier to follow that momentum and move onto a bigger task.

Similarly, if you are looking at a huge task, wondering, “How am I ever going to get that finished,” it might be helpful to take the huge task and break it down into smaller, more manageable ones.

[Tweet “Everyone feels unmotivated sometimes. The key is to discover ways to kickstart your productivity!”]

Get Rid of Distractions
Have you ever sat down at your desk in the morning and had this internal dialogue:

“OK, time to get working! Open Google Drive, open email, open Facebook, NO don’t open Facebook, start a new project, write an opening paragraph, someone sent me something on Facebook, it’s a French Bulldog puppy video, AWWWWWW, I want to see more cute puppies, open YouTube, NO don’t open YouTube, reopen new project, stare at screen blankly, oh the heck with it, open YouTube, feel terrible about watching puppy videos rather than doing work.”

Can you spot the big mistake? That’s right, there were too many distractions! Before I get working, I make sure that my Facebook and SMS notifications are turned off (excluding notifications for my business pages) and I make sure that Facebook isn’t bookmarked for easy access (try burying it in a few folders). If you are surrounded by more entertaining distractions, you WILL be pulled away from more important tasks. So try to get rid of as many as possible before sitting down to work.

In fact, let me do you a favor, download my free workbook that will help you remove distractions by organizing your workspace! 

Being productive can be tricky. Some days, we might sit down and get an entire week’s worth of work done in a few hours. Other days, we might only get a single hour worth of work done before quitting time. I have personally found the trick to being productive is to get as many of the little things off my plate as possible so I can focus on the big picture stuff. That’s the power of a virtual assistant. If you’d like to find out how I can help you rediscover your productive side, please feel free to schedule a free consultation with me today!

About Jennie Lyon

Jennie Lyon is the founder of Jennie Lyon Virtual Assistant Services. Jennie specializes in helping busy entrepreneurs organize, manage, develop and promote their brand! She is devoted to helping small business owners and entrepreneurs with social media, content creation, email marketing, client relations, website management, and administration services. If you are a small business owner, coach or self-employed entrepreneur struggling to find enough time in your day to focus on what you really love - schedule a free 15 minute consultation with Jennie.

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  1. […] That’s why a virtual assistant can be a newly-minted small business owner’s best friend. If you feel that you can’t be productive because you have too much on your hands, I can take on all of the busy work so that you can focus on the critical parts of getting your […]

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