If you're anything like me, you probably beat yourself up whenever you're not as productive as you think you should be on any given day. I have a habit of falling into a funk whenever I don't get things done or whenever I feel like I wasted my day being a couch potato. I then proceed to call myself a lazy, unmotivated bum and that negative energy piles on top of me like dirty laundry.
I've recently decided to start practicing better ways of dealing with laziness and lack of motivation because I believe that one good habit leads to another. The following five ways of increasing productivity have worked for me.
1. Stop berating yourself. You're not changing your circumstances or doing yourself any good by calling yourself a lazy bum. Negative self-talk will always make you feel worse. Everyone has days where they feel tired or less than motivated. We can't expect ourselves to be overflowing with a high, positive energy level every single day. Cut yourself some slack and understand that getting down on yourself will definitely not help you get anything done. It will just pull you even deeper into non motivation and discouragement.
2. Eat healthy. The types of foods we eat can greatly affect our moods and energy levels. I've noticed that when I eat a lot of junk food, I tend to feel lazier and moodier than I usually do. But when I eat complete meals with vegetables, fruit, and fiber, I feel energized and have more brain power. Try to gradually cut back on fast food and sweets. You will feel much better if you choose to enjoy these foods in moderation instead.
3. Just do it. This rule does not apply to work that needs your full attention and determination, but let it apply to little things like washing the dishes or folding the laundry. If you see something around the house that needs to be done, just go ahead and get it over with. Don't develop a procrastination habit when it comes to simple household chores. Whenever I finish one chore, I always go ahead and do any others that I know need to be done. I feel very accomplished once I get all of the little things out of the way. You will feel more determined to take on bigger projects if you break your habit of putting off minor projects.
4. Plan ahead. Get clear about the tasks you plan to accomplish each day and make a habit of following through with them. If you develop a more ritualistic schedule and set aside a certain amount of time to work each day, you will be more likely to get everything done because it will become a natural part of your routine. Also, make a commitment to yourself to stay away from TV, social media sites, or any other distractions during certain time periods. For example: "I will turn off the TV from 2-5 and spend those hours working on ____ instead."
5. Learn to achieve balance. Ironically, sometimes too much productivity can ultimately cause a lack of productivity. This happens when there is a lack of balance. Having a good balance of work and play in my life is important to me. If you work yourself to the bone, you will burn out and be tired and cranky all the time. It's always great to work hard, but you deserve to take breaks and reward yourself every now and then too. So the next time you've worked really hard on something, take some time to yourself to just relax afterwards. You will save up more energy and have less stress if you do.