It’s completely normal to have days when you feel like crap. It’s also completely normal to have days when you feel unmotivated and unproductive. You can’t expect your performance to be the same every single day.
Learn to take a step back and pause while giving yourself the time you need to rest and the space to heal.
And when you’re ready to get back into the swing of things here are a few ways you can nurture your flow and overcome your unproductive rut.
For the past 10 days, I’ve been in an unproductive rut.
I’ve felt unmotivated, uninspired, unenergised and just plain low.
And I’m not even on my period.
There have been things happening in my personal life that have started to take their toll on me. And I’ve just felt stuck.
All I’ve wanted to do is curl up in bed, watch movies and re-runs of The OC and just escape from reality.
And that’s exactly what I did.
Overcoming my unproductive rut
I’ve learnt that when I have the blues or feel unproductive, it’s best to leave my body alone and not force myself to be productive.
I allow my body the rest and self-care it needs to re-energise.
As humans, we put so much pressure on ourselves to be productive every day, to show up and reach our goals.
When we don’t manage to achieve those goals we beat ourselves up and that makes us feel even worse than before.
So this is your gentle reminder that it’s ok to step away and take a break.
To slow down, take it easy and just allow yourself to be.
You can’t expect your performance to be the same every single day.
As Youtuber and intentional lifer Muchelleb puts it, “you do not expect the same output from a sick person as you do a healthy person. You shouldn’t expect the same output from an energised, content you as a bleugh you.”
The best thing you can do is to allow yourself the time you need to rest and the space you need to heal.
Reflecting on my unproductive rut
Now I’m not saying this will come naturally or even easily.
It’s hard to accept when you need to stop. I felt so much guilt for taking time off unexpectedly. By the end, I was getting restless. But when I tried to do something, even the smallest of tasks, I couldn’t focus.
I got so worked up and annoyed at myself that I ended up in tears.
But those tears and my numerous meltdowns were part of my healing process.
Crying is how I cope with things.
So as I emerge from my unproductive rut, I wanted to take a mindful moment to reflect on something important.
While doing nothing, I learnt that I was still doing something.
I wasn’t just standing still.
I was recharging, realigning myself to my values and reminding myself of my why.
Just because I wasn’t showing up, taking action towards my goals or ploughing through my to-do list didn’t mean I wasn’t moving forward.
I was moving forward in other areas of my life; self-love and personal development.
Because I choose to constantly learn and grow as a person.
Getting back into the swing of things
After what felt like being unproductive for a lifetime, it was finally time to get back into the swing of things.
I finally felt ready.
And because I didn’t force myself to work when I really didn’t want to, the desire to be productive just came back naturally.
I could feel myself getting inspired again and ideas started to pop back into my head.
But I didn’t rush into it.
I took the weekend to start off small, jotting down ideas in my notebook and writing down the things I needed to do. Prepping myself for the Monday and a new week.
I didn’t give myself an overly difficult or boring task to start off with either. Instead, I nurtured my flow and creativity by writing this blog post, mapping out my newsletter and posting on Instagram.
Something I hadn’t bothered to do for a while.
And in all honesty, it felt good!
The first thing I do when I get myself into a rut or feel like shit is to limit my time on social media.
Scrolling through hot girl summer pics, entrepreneur incomes and milestones and motivating content can sometimes make me feel worse.
I avoid triggering content and choose to consume content that will make me laugh.
Mainly memes! I mean who doesn’t love a meme?!
So getting back on social media after a detox break helps me to refocus and adapt.
I also got myself outside!
When I feel meh, it’s hard for me to motivate myself to work out or even move my body. I lack energy so the last thing I want to do is exercise.
But when I feel ready I go on a couple of short walks.
Fresh air is my therapy. Walking is what kept me sane during the long winter months stuck in lockdown.
But I lost the habit of walking every day when the gyms reopened and somehow forgot how powerful fresh air is.
But going on those few short walks really helped me to gain a new perspective.
It cleared away the cobwebs and uplifted my mood.
6 Ways you can get back into the swing of things after an unproductive rut
1. take baby steps
When getting back into the swing of things after an unproductive rut, it’s important to remember that you still won’t be at your best.
And that’s ok.
So before you get back to being productive and setting unrealistic targets, ask yourself, “what does my best look like right now?”
Be realistic and honest with yourself. Only do what you can manage.
Start small and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to start hitting those goals again.
Break down all your tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks.
Release any expectations and do as much as you can.
You’ll find that by not jumping straight into the deep end, you can preserve the energy and focus you do have and give 100% to one task rather than 20% to lots of different tasks.
And remember to congratulate yourself for what you did manage to accomplish.
Because progress is still progress no matter how small.
“Under any circumstance always do your best; no more and no less. But keep in mind that your best is never going to be the same from one moment to the next. Everything is alive and changing all the time, so your best will sometimes be high quality, and other times it won’t be as good.”Don Miguel Ruiz | The Four Agreements
2. shift your mindset and focus
Sometimes getting back into the swing of things looks like changing your mindset.
Ask yourself, “how can I change the way I’m looking at this?”
It can be as simple as writing down affirmations or changing your outlook.
So instead of saying to yourself, “I can’t believe I’ve been so unproductive, I’m annoyed at myself”, change this too, “my unproductivity does not define me. I am trying to do more every single day and that is enough.”
You can also try shifting your focus.
Instead of focusing on the hard, overwhelming things or the things that have gone wrong, shift your focus and concentrate on easier things.
Like smaller tasks that don’t need much brain work or tasks that you would enjoy more.
3. get out in nature
I feel like we heavily under-estimate the power of nature and fresh air.
I mentioned it above but in the end, all it took for me to get back into the swing of things was fresh air and a couple of short walks.
So get outside and realign yourself with your why.
Remind yourself that you are part of something bigger than your productivity. That you are more than your to-do list, work, appearance and social media metrics.
Do not let those things define you.
4. start a passion project
There’s nothing more beneficial to help ease you back into being productive than getting stuck into a passion project.
If like me, you spend the majority of your time working on client projects it’s easy for your creative juices to get all soaked up.
And you can just fall flat.
So reignite that passion by reminding yourself why you do what you do and work on something that is just for you.
Your spark will light up again in no time!
6. get lost in books
Reading has always been my main source of inspiration. And it’s not always from a non-fiction book.
Sometimes my best ideas pop into my head when I’m reading an exciting adventure novel or contemporary fiction book.
So take the time every morning or evening to read and nurture your flow and creativity back to health.
And once you’ve done a reading session pick up a notebook and just start journaling.
See what thoughts, feelings or ideas come to mind.
Turn them into something if you want to – a blog post, video or social media caption.
6. write a gratitude list
When you’ve hit a rough patch or things haven’t gone to plan it’s important to remind yourself of all the good things in your life and the things that continue to light you up inside.
Find gratitude in everything you do by writing out a gratitude list or by using a gratitude journal every morning.
My favourite is the Five Minute Journal.
By practising gratitude daily, you are able to appreciate the smaller things in life.
You’ll be surprised that by focusing on the things that bring you joy, your perspective on the things that made you feel like crap in the first place will change.
It’s ok to be unproductive.
You can’t expect to show up with high energy and motivation every single day.
We go through cycles.
Some cycles are good, others are bad.
Just remember that when you are going through a bad cycle to be kind to your mind, body and soul.
Give yourself the rest you need and the space to heal.
And once you are ready to jump back into the swing of things my tips are here for you.
Bookmark this page and come back to it whenever you need it.
Until next week,
♡ Thalia xx