When you’re a business owner with a long list of tasks on your to-do list, there isn’t much worse than hitting the dreaded productivity slump.
Having zero motivation to get things done can sometimes spell disaster, especially when you have deadlines to meet or other people depending on you. Not to mention, social media only adds fuel to the fire these days. A quick scroll through Instagram will likely reveal photos of other people working hard on their own businesses. People glorify the hustle these days, so when you aren’t hustling, you can quickly start to feel guilty for not working.
So, what are you supposed to do when you have a to-do list that’s a mile long staring you in the face, but you don’t have the energy or motivation to get things done?
Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer here. What may help someone else snap back into their normal groove, thus beating the productivity slump, might not work for you. That doesn’t mean you’re doomed though! There are a few things you can do to get back to your desk feeling fired up and ready to tackle all that work on your plate.
10 Ways to Beat a Productivity Slump
The next time you find yourself in a productivity slump and unable to get out, try one (or more) of the things on this list. All of these suggestions are great ways to improve your energy levels and mood, while also giving you the push you need to work hard. Once you find the tactics that work best for you, you’ll be able to implement them whenever you’re starting to notice your productivity drop off.
1. Take a walk.
One of my personal favorite things to do when I’m in a productivity slump is to get outside for a walk. Not only is going for a walk great exercise, but being outside in the fresh air and soaking up that vitamin D is going to make a huge difference as well. After all, it’s no secret that vitamin D plays a major role when it comes to your mood.
You can choose to simply soak up the environment you’re in by checking out the scenery and taking in the sounds of nature. Or you might opt to use this time to listen to a podcast or an audio book, which can both be great ways to expand your knowledge in the process. It really doesn’t get much better than that! Plus, whatever you decide to tune into just might get those creative juices flowing again.
2. Read something inspirational.
There are plenty of incredible books on the market today that are pretty inspirational. I’d highly recommend grabbing a couple to keep on your bookshelf or to download to your Kindle if you haven’t already. When you have great books at your disposal, you can reach for them whenever you’re in need of a boost in motivation. Sometimes hearing positive, inspirational words from someone else is just what you need to get back to your regular groove.
Some of my favorite books to turn to when I’m in a productivity slump include: The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte, Make it Happen by Lara Casey, and Light is the New Black by Rebecca Campbell. These are all great options that I’d highly recommend reading!
3. Find an accountability partner or supportive group.
The unfortunate truth about entrepreneurship is that it can be quite a lonely journey. When you’re working from home all by yourself, you don’t have other people to talk to like you would in a typical office setting. That means there’s no one to bounce ideas off of, no one to collaborate with, and no one to pick you up when you’re feeling down. You can change that by finding an accountability partner or joining a supportive group that’s filled with other entrepreneurs.
The reason this is so helpful is because it gives you someone else to connect with when times are both good and bad. You can be there to cheer each other on during the good times and lift each other up when things get tough. It’s helpful to schedule weekly chats to check-in with an accountability partner, but also to be there at a moment’s notice. Just make sure you give your accountability partner or group the same support as they give you.
4. Do some yoga.
Okay, so you could really do any kind of physical exercise to help you beat that productivity slump. You can choose yoga, pilates, cardio, or whatever else makes you feel great. However, yoga is just one of my favorites for moments like this. The reason is, yoga gives you the chance to just relax your body by focusing on your breath, clearing your mind, and loosening up those tight muscles.
The next time you’re feeling unmotivated, give it a try for yourself. Keep a yoga DVD on hand or pull up a video on YouTube. (Yoga with Adriene is my favorite!) You can choose between short or long sessions depending on how much time you feel you need. You’re sure to feel refreshed and recharged once you’re all done.
5. Grab a healthy snack for fuel.
Junk food can be mighty tempting when those afternoon snack cravings hit. However, if you’re lacking the energy you need to get your work done, potato chips just aren’t going be of any service. Instead of reaching for salty or sugary snacks, grab something healthy to give your body the fuel it needs to keep going. Fresh fruit is always a great option, so you can easily put together a plate of berries, pineapples, and any other fruits you love.
6. Crank up the tunes and have a dance session.
Is there anything better than just turning on your favorite songs and having a solo dance party? Probably not! If you find music is a great way to improve your mood and boost your energy levels, this is one tactic you’ll want to try if you need to snap out of a productivity slump. It’s no time to be shy either, so allow yourself to let loose and dance like no one is watching. (And if you’re home alone, no one will be watching, so just get crazy!)
It also helps to be prepared at a moment’s notice, so create a playlist of all your favorite upbeat songs that you can turn on whenever you need a little motivation in your life. You can start your day with it by playing it as you get ready or even schedule a midday dance break into your schedule. Do whatever works for you!
7. Pour yourself a glass of water.
By now, you’re probably well aware that dehydration can cause a wide array of problems for both your mind and body. In fact, it can cause low energy levels, food cravings, and make it more difficult for you to focus.
To combat this, pour yourself a glass of water every morning before you sit down at your desk. Place it next to your computer so it’s always nearby and you’ll be more inclined to sip on it throughout the day. If you ever notice that productivity slump creeping up, ask yourself if you’ve had enough water to drink. If not, it could be the culprit!
8. Unplug for a little while.
As I mentioned above, social media can make you feel a lot worse if you aren’t getting everything done that you need to tackle. And when you’re already feeling bad, there’s no reason to make it worse. It’s always a good idea to unplug for a little while so you don’t wind up comparing yourself to what everyone else has going on. Turn off the notifications on your phone and even stay out of your inbox for a bit. It should really help improve your mood overall.
9. Take a nap.
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of naps. I tend to feel like I’m just wasting my day if I take a nap, but when you’re finding it hard to get anything done, sometimes there isn’t anything else left to do. Plus, it could be just the recharge your body is craving. The key thing to keep in mind is that you need to keep daytime naps short. In fact, you shouldn’t take naps that last longer than about 20 minutes, otherwise you risk waking up feeling groggy.
10. Embrace the slump.
And finally, sometimes you just have to embrace the productivity slump instead of fighting back. If you really aren’t feeling the work you need to get done, maybe it’s your body’s way of telling you that it’s overworked. Instead of forcing it, allow yourself to take a proper break. You can take off for a few hours or even allow yourself the entire day if you feel you need it. Fully step away from your work and do something you enjoy.
You can schedule a little pampering session at the local salon (fresh mani and a massage!), have a Netflix and chill type of day, or just hit the mall with a friend. A little retail therapy never hurt anyone, right?
One Final Note on the Productivity Slump
The last thing you need to keep in mind when it comes to that dreaded productivity slump is to never beat yourself up for it. There’s no reason to feel guilty or feel like you’re lesser than everyone else. We all experience a productivity slump from time-to-time and it’s absolutely okay. All you need to do is figure out the best way for you to pick yourself up and get back to it.