Being Productive When you Just Want to Relax ~ Indrani Grewal

What do you do when you want to be productive, but you just can’t? You can’t seem to get that feel-good feeling that comes at the end of a long day well done. You miss the days when you’d go to bed content feeling like you’ve achieved all you’d set out to do when you woke up that morning. 

Are you feeling restless? That each task is taking way longer than expected? Perhaps you’re feeling distracted, and so just nothing seems to get done? How do you get past it?

First take a minute to check if you’re not getting work done, or just feel like you could be doing so much more. Sometimes we do all the things on our to-do list but still don’t get that satisfying feeling. If that is the case, consider this:


Maybe this is a cry for help from your body and brain. Don’t try to fit in too many things into the day. It’s essential to have one or two (or five) lazy days where you do absolutely nothing. Indulge in self-care: binge-watch a series, take two baths a day, read a book or spend the day in bed. 

Don’t forget that it’s perfectly okay to treat yourself every now and then. The task list can wait if its at the expense of your personal and mental health.

Understand how you’re feeling

When we feel unmotivated, it’s a good idea to stop and try and pinpoint the exact feeling and figure out if there is a reason for it. Are we anxious because of having to stay at home? Are we feeling insecure because our friends seem to be doing more than us? 

Once you know what the problem is, you can work on eliminating it.

If you want to get more done in the day, here are some tips that might help:

1. Make a list

To-do lists are great. Not only do we know what to spend our day doing, but you can unload your mind by putting everything that’s pending on a piece of paper, in front of you to see. Now that it’s all out there, allocate some time to each task. Be realistic, and don’t try to get too much done in too little time.

Prioritise what’s the most important out of these tasks so that anything that gets left out won’t be too urgent and can be finished the next day. That way, you can end your day well.

2. Stick to a Routine

We are creatures of habit, and so a routine is a good way to keep productive. By doing roughly the same tasks at the same time each day, your mind and body are better prepared to come into the role or working.

3. Eat well and drink water

The foods you eat can dictate how you feel, so it’s essential to be mindful of what you’re eating. Foods high in sugar tend to fog up our minds. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetable, and snack healthy. Try to stick to your mealtimes and meal prep to avoid snacking on easy-to-access junk food.

Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water to keep your energy up and mind active. I like to mark how many glasses I’m getting with little tally marks.

4. Move

Exercise is important to keep our mood in check. Try to allocate some time in the day to work out. This could be as little as 20 minutes. There are so many options on the internet of ways to work-out. Try a follow-along video on YouTube?

Also, focus on moving around merely during the day like when you do your chores. Take breaks if you tend to sit at your desk for too long.

5. Separate Work-Space from Rest-Space

If you answer emails from the same place you scroll through Instagram, then you might need to make a change. It’s a good idea to allocate a certain area from where you can do all work-related things so that once you sit down there, your brain automatically prepares for work. Also, make sure the areas around you are neat and tidy. Disorganised settings can make us feel disorganised in our heads. 

6. Set Aside Time for Yourself and the things you love 

While working hard is great, it’s important to take time out in a day to help yourself relax and rejuvenate. Just one out of the twenty-four hours you have can be plenty of time to get in touch with the things you love. It’ll help you be better equipped to deal with the rest of the 23 hours. Bake, work-out, light some candles or read your book! 

Above all, try to be positive about the space you’re in and be kind to yourself. Know that if you aren’t productive one day, you’ll do a better job the next day and then stick to it. Remember that times are hard, but things will get better.