Unproductive Days

First of all, it's the pulsation of life. They are normal. Anyway, we sometimes feel bad about them. About us... that these days happen to us.

There is a lot of advice out there on what to do when you feel unproductive. And many of them are right and they do work.

Yet when reality hits we fall into old patterns of behavior, we start to feel guilty, we create a lot of stress on ourselves, our mind starts to doubt our ability to succeed. Old demons start crawling on us.

In this episode of Work and Be Happy we freely discussed our experience with unproductive days and how we feel when they happen. We also talked about how rituals and habits help us to stay productive and get back to being productive after unproductively happens.

I think it might be an interesting topic for other indie creators as we create our own structures, goals as well as time to rest.

It is an interesting topic for me at least and I loved talking about it with my team.

What do you do when you feel unproductive? Do you have any habits in place that help you stay productive?

  1. 4

    When I feel unproductive, I always treat myself and relax. Sometimes we need that little break; we're humans, after all. I always listen to music and explore nature for inspiration.

    1. 1

      That's the right way to do it, in my opinion! Though it's sometimes hard for me. Don't you feel stressed/guilty about it? What if it's not only one day but a whole week?

  2. 4

    Be good to yourself. You're not a robot.

    There are ways to overcome unproductivity but sometimes you just have to listen to your body and recharge.

    1. 2

      Well said Aleks. It's important to be good to yourself. Be attentive to the body and mind, not resisting it. You are going to recharge much faster.

  3. 3

    I just had one unproductive day :)

    1. 1

      I hope today is going to be better for you!

  4. 3

    Very relevant. Unproductive days by themselves are just minor setbacks on our journey. But they can easily start a burnout spiral if we start beating ourselves for being unproductive. That can turn ugly real quick. I have a flaw of being tough on myself and I've been down this road couple of times.

    As a solution, I'm working on designing a habit loop for being productive and came up with a technique to guarantee a positive result. I actually published it for the very first time yesterday. Would love your opinion and feedback on it: https://www.indiehackers.com/post/simple-hack-to-always-feel-good-about-your-days-and-constantly-improve-your-productivity-31a13846eb. I think it still requires some polishing but it's been helping me a lot!

    1. 1

      Thanks for linking it here! Read through it and left you comment with my insights!

  5. 2

    When I have an unproductive and/or frustrating day (example, I spent 5 hours writing code that was thrown out, having to restart the next day) I just go for a long walk or bicycle ride. Exercise followed by meditation is extremely valuable to re-center.

    1. 1

      Yes yes and yes! But do sometimes feel a resistance to go on the walk or to do the meditation? Because I do. I feel stuck in the bad mood and it's hard for me to break it and do something else that I know will help me... Wierd

      1. 2

        To fight that you need to shift your mind from setting goals to complete to setting goals to enjoy the process. It's easier said then done, but that's a humongous shift that many philosophies trying to teach. "Being present in the moment" will give you tons of articles about that.

        How this applies to this particular situation? When you have a goal of completing a humongous task it never feels pleasant, there are many unknowns and things rarely go as planned. And as a reward, you have a short dopamine hit once you complete it and may be a celebration, but that's never long lived. We rely on dopamine to build habits and habits help us do things with less energy spend. That's why social networks are so addictive. A constant stream of cheap dopamine hits. Back to the walk, you probably stuck because you don't know what to do, too many options to choose from. So you can "hack" yourself and say you'll go for a walk and think about what to do next. This way you don't feel bad about doing nothing and exercise help us think. If nothing works and you still believe that the task is important, just clear the schedule for it and allow your brain to get bored. Don't do anything until your creativity starts flowing and you'll come up with a way to solve it. I often find that this "procrastination" walks help me reduce initial task's scope a lot and end up saving me time :)

        1. 1

          Thanks man! Powerful advice. Will definitely read this again once unproductivity hits me.

      2. 1

        I absolutely feel the resistance, especially if I have left a problem unsolved. My bad habit is to continue to hammer away at the problem to try and solve it, but experience has shown more times and not that if I step away, exercise and clear my mind in some way, that the solution will present itself next day.

        To combat that resistance you just have to practice discipline. Think of exercise and meditation (or whatever you do to clear you rmind) as a chore that simply must be done no matter what, like brushing your teeth. Over time it gets easier as you just reflexively do them.

        I will admit with COVID interrupting my gym habits it's been difficult lately though, as I previously had a schedule that I rarely missed.

  6. 2

    "Where do the highest mountains come from? so I asked once. Then I learned that they come out of the sea" - Personally I perceive unproductive days as part of a cycle - productive days are replaced by unproductive ones and so on until the end

    1. 1

      Exactly, breath in, breath out. Pulsation. That's what shows you everything is right. Thanks for the quote!

  7. 1

    Just let your mind and body be at rest. Sometimes burnout can become taxing mentally and physically. We need to reassure and recollect ourselves before doing something productive again.

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