7 Ways to be Productive When You Really Don't Feel Like It

Have you ever had a lot of work to do, but absolutely no motivation to do it? In times like these, being productive isn't always easy. If you're like me, your first instinct might be to stop doing work altogether. When I had a lot of work to do in college and no time to do it in, I would lie down on the floor pathetically until I had a game plan figured out.

Don't be like me. No really, don't. For the sake of your sanity (and mine), here are 7 ways to be productive when you really, really don't want to be.

Caffeinate. This might seem like a no-brainer, but caffeine doesn't just wake you up - it makes you feel productive. I don't sit down to get some work done unless I have a cup of coffee or tea with me. (I didn't start drinking coffee regularly until after college, however. I probably could have gotten more done if I did!)

Have a clean workspace. If your desk is cluttered, you're doomed. You'll not only spend more time rifling around frantically looking for the right items, but you'll be more prone to distractions since there's more to look at. I find that clearing off my workspace before getting down to business helps put me in the proper mindset.

Get dressed. Like it or not, you're more likely to get more work done if you don't just roll out of bed and throw on sweats or yoga pants. Instead, take a shower, do your hair or makeup, and put some effort into your outfit. Similarly, shoes make you feel like you're ready to get stuff done.

Hydrate. If you're starting to feel sluggish, drinking a glass of water will help you feel refreshed. Your body just works better when it's properly hydrated.

Turn off your phone. It's not just the texts or the notifications that distract you - a few minutes of endless scrolling here and there can add up to a lot of wasted time over the course of the day. Melyssa from The Nectar Collective recently wrote a great post titled Why I Turn My Cell Phone Off During the Day (and why you should, too), which is definitely worth the read.

Change your environment. When I'm working at the same space for hours, I can sometimes feel my productivity dwindling. When this happens, I like to get up and drink a glass of water (see above!), use the bathroom, or switch to another desk. When I sit back down to work, I'm better able to focus on the task at hand.

Take a break. This one's very similar to the last one, but on a bigger scale. Taking a break might not seem like the most productive option out there, but breaks are essential when you're doing a lot of work. When you're feeling drained and you know you're not doing your best work, take ten or fifteen minutes to yourself to refocus. You'll not only come back with a better perspective, but you'll be able to do a better job than before.


Overall, the sooner you get to the work you don't feel like doing, the sooner you'll be able to relax with a clear conscience. Hopefully some of these ideas will help you the next time you've got a lot of work to do and no motivation to do anything.

Now it's your turn: What do you do when you need to get stuff done?

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