Ever since this pandemic has swept across the world, I’ve been drastically unproductive. Writing topics spring to mind less frequently. My Youtube channel has been dead for the umpteenth time. The amount of client work has been cut back drastically too.
I’m still financially sound so you know, however my level of working and effort has been the most lacking part of my life these days during this pandemic. And it feels so odd considering my way of life before the pandemic isn’t that different from what it is right now.
Staying at home with ample of work to do and opportunities to grow paired up with a decent amount of exercising.
The only notable difference is that my hair is getting to the point where I desperately want it to be cut to a shorter length. And of course, the amount of work that I’m doing.
But you know what? I’m okay with all of that. And if you’re in a similar boat where you have achieved very little from all this, be okay with that too. Here are some reasons why.
We All Get In Slumps At Times
These are very different times and for many of us our lives have drastically changed. Depending on your own mindset, you can see this as either a good thing or as a bad thing.
Bad in that you have lost so much from this and I get that. A loss of a stable source of income. Loss of potential family members, close friends, or partner. It’s jarring and is a tough pill to swallow.
But it can also be a good thing. As I’ve hinted in my article on COVID tips to help you mentally, this event pushes us to do a little more and realize other things. Losing a family member or someone close to us is of course terrible, but outside of that, a drastic change in your life could be what you need.
I say this because often the shifts in our lives leave us in a state of recuperation. We start to ask ourselves the more important questions in life and begin to discover something new.
A fondness to connect or re-connect with new or previous friends.
An opportunity to appreciate the things and people we do have in our lives.
This slump that we’re in is a sign of that. You’ll be unproductive, but like everything in life, this too shall pass. Let it run its course and use this opportunity to align yourself with where you want to go and solve this situation.
Negativity Will Only Drag You Down
In terms of my own negativity, this is something that I could use some work on. Whenever I’m unproductive, I tend to be harsh on myself. During long periods of time where I don’t do work, it gets to the point where I feel terrible. It’s as if I owe my community and audience something.
What’s worse is that whenever I make an effort to get back to some semblance of normalcy, it can be crushing. Building a readership all over again can be difficult, especially when you are used to a certain level of achievement.
It’s natural for us to lean towards negativity since a lot of our world is so negative. Where social unrest and distancing are common themes these days, it makes it easier to buy into that stuff over looking at the good.
But one thing that I think shouldn’t be negative is your own view of how productive you are and by extension, your view of yourself.
A 2015 study revealed that negativity halts productivity in so many ways. Not only will people produce less, but they will also be negative towards other people and mentally defensive towards any kind of change.
It’s the idea of one bad apple spoiling the entire barrel.
Even if you’re flying solo like myself, your mindset is crucial to maintain. Lest you end up slowing down your progress and having to build momentum all over again. After all, when people stop creating consistently, people move on.
But getting back to negativity, there is no sense in beating yourself over it. So you haven’t been as productive as you want to be. So what? Brush it off and find your solution to the problem and work towards it.
Use The Downtime Effectively
There have been so many times I’ve had downtime in my life. These extended periods of time of me being unproductive have been sporadic, but expected. The thing is though, my downtime isn’t entirely fruitless.
Of course there are times where I’ll be a vegetable and do nothing but watch YouTube videos or play video games all day. But I also use this opportunity to come up with writing topics, look and reflect on myself and my actions, determine goals to work towards, and more.
A lot of this stuff is internal work and people don’t often see that. To them, they see someone being lazy and move on. But little do we know that work is being done. It’s all happening inside.
It’s okay if you’re unproductive in the general sense that you’re not doing much direct work. Instead use that energy to look internally. Ask yourself questions and get to know yourself better.
What sort of things do you love about your work?
How can you get more energy in the day?
What is a good strategy for you for tackling a task you’ve been putting off?
Are there any other goals or ambitions you have you want to shift focus to for now?
Another way to look at this is an opportunity to hone your skills. When I first started to write on this blog, my writing wasn’t great. I spent an entire year honing my writing skills, mustering up the confidence to begin writing for other people. It was also an opportunity to reinforce the belief that my writing was good and that it’ll only get better the more I practice and begin looking at my work.
Overall, it gave me a philosophy of writing that continues to adjust and grow as I grow as a writer. It didn’t seem like much at the time, but I’m starting to understand the significance of it during this pandemic we are all in.
Productivity Comes In Many Forms
An extension to the previous point is that productivity isn’t all about taking action and hustling. As I’ve suggested in the previous point, progress can come from seemingly doing nothing at all on the surface. And yet we can make progress internally.
It can seem odd that working internally yields little results, but it can be impactful in many ways. The most important thing is that it builds your own identity and a new appreciation for yourself.
This appreciation and identity is important from a productivity standpoint as being productive is all a mental game. You need to know why you work, why you want to pursue this particular work over anything else, and more.
By having a grasp of yourself and what’s the best way for you to get things done, you can use this to propel yourself further when it is time for you to be more productive. You’ve got a stronger system and better grasp of how you work and how to get things done your own way.
The point is that even if you’re not as productive right now, there are other areas in your life you are making progress in nonetheless.
We’ll Get It Done Anyway
The last reason to be okay with being unproductive is that we’ll get whatever needs to get done anyway. If it is something that means something to us, we’ll make an effort to work towards it when the time is right for us to do so.
Inspiration will hit us and we’ll quickly move to writing out article after article again. We’ll brainstorm new ideas, goals, and find resources that we can use to leverage our progress.
Time and time again when we are called to do something we care about, delaying it creates a sense of pressure and urgency. And depending on what it is, we’ll take a period of time to ourselves but jumping back into the swing of things and making the most of it.
Be Cool With Being Unproductive
If there is one major flaw that I have is that I can be highly unproductive at times and vanish for extended periods of time. Only to emerge months later with something else.
It’s a behaviour that I don’t really like and strive to fix, but it is a part of me and I’ve got to accept it.
The first step to solving any issue is to first accept that it’s a problem and create a system that you’ll push yourself through to fix it. Keep working yourself through that system but remind yourself that if there are times where you are unproductive, don’t beat yourself up about it or think your system is a failure.
Being unproductive at times is human nature as we’re not machines. You are a complex being filled with many wonders and potential. Strive to make the most of it and don’t worry so much about the days where being unproductive sounds like a good idea that day.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon