Unproductive Day

Like everybody, I start my day with really great intentions. I sit down at my desk, crank out a giant list of the things I want to complete that day, and then start hustling. Usually my list is pretty ambitious—meaning I don’t even come close to crossing everything off. But, all in all, at the end of the day I can look at the things that are scribbled out and still feel pretty good about the work I put in.

Then, there are those other days. You know the ones—you feel totally unmotivated, your focus is all over the place, and you couldn’t complete something if your life depended on it. You get to the end of your day and realize the past few hours have been embarrassingly unproductive.

Believe me, those days exist for all of us. But, the key is to not let it wreck your entire week. You need to bounce back and tackle the next day’s to-do list with vigor. How? Here are a few tips that work for me.

HOW TO REBOUND FROM AN UNPRODUCTIVE DAY

1. WORK OFF THE SAME TO-DO LIST.

This is a little mind trick I like to use when I know that the previous day was extremely unproductive. Instead of starting my day by jotting down a new to-do list for that day, I’ll actually start working off of yesterday’s list.

Having a few things already crossed off motivates me to keep powering through. Plus, it illustrates how many loose ends I left hanging the day before—making me feel eager to get those tied up and taken care of as soon as I can!

2. TACKLE THAT DAUNTING PROJECT FIRST.

Oftentimes, I find that I’m unproductive simply because I’m trying to push off a huge project that I’m feeling way too intimidated to start. So, sometimes it helps me to just bite the bullet and start with that daunting project first thing.

Yes, it can be a rude awakening—particularly first thing in the morning. But, once I’ve at least made a little bit of progress on that huge task, I start to feel a little more geared up and ready to tackle the rest of my list.

3. OR, START WITH A FEW SMALL TASKS.

However, while the “starting with a big project” thing usually kicks my booty into gear, sometimes the converse strategy can also have a great impact on my productivity and ambition.

If I’m still feeling a bit of a “productivity hangover” the next morning, I’ll ease into my day with some small tasks, such as answering emails, logging expenses, or doing some social media promotion. It’s satisfying to cross those little things off my list—and lights a fire under my butt to continue checking stuff off!

4. USE THE POMODORO TECHNIQUE.

I’ve already talked about this time management technique at length (read about it right here!), so I won’t drone on about it again. But, if I’m still suffering from a lack of ambition and focus, this technique really helps me to zone in on the things I want to get done.

How do you rebound from a wildly unproductive day?

Until next time!