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9 Ways To Be Productive When You’re In A Slump

Posted by on February 6, 2015 in Conscious Living, Inspirational, Thrive with 1 Comment

Vishnu | VishnuVirtues

how to be productive“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Thomas Edison

There are a lot of times when life simply sucks.

Whether it’s something unexpected happening or some ongoing issue that’s keeping you down, life tends to put us on the outs now and again.

Many of us don’t feel like doing anything when life puts us in a slump.

It’s difficult not to think about whatever is wrong and to focus on being productive and motivated.

But here’s the thing: you can be productive, even when life seems like it’s getting the better of you.

Immediately before I left home for college, I started dating someone very special to me.

We had known each other for several years, but I had lost touch with him. Through a long and complicated string of events, we wound up reconnecting and discovered that we both had very strong feelings for one another.

Our timing was terrible, but we wanted to be together. So we began our relationship as a couple during a time when we lived over four hours away from one another. While the start of our relationship was wonderful and exciting, the huge chunks of time we spent apart was not. We both had very little money and couldn’t afford to travel to each other, except for maybe once a month (and even that wasn’t always possible).

I spent tons of time sulking around my college campus, dragging myself out of bed with every pitiful amount of motivation I could muster up. I felt depressed. Not exactly the most uplifting way to manage your first year at college.

I knew that I needed to focus on school and study to get good grades. If I let my emotions get the better of me and failed a class, or decided to drop out altogether (which crossed my mind just about every day), I’d be ruining the best chance I had for my boyfriend and I to have a happy future together.

So I pressed on.

I didn’t always feel like it – in fact I hardly ever felt like it – but I made myself stay productive in school. It was a very difficult year for me, and so was the next year. But I learned some very valuable lessons because of these hardships, and I think they bear repeating.

Life is hard, but it’s also beautiful and wonderful. Terrible things may happen, but you can only know that they’re terrible because of the great things that have already happened to you.

If life has you feeling depressed, out of control, miserable, or just fed up, you should know that it’s okay to feel that way. However, it’s not okay to idly sit by and let your negative feelings rule your life.

The best way to get out of your slump is to stay productive, even during the times when you don’t feel like being productive.

Here are some lessons I learned about how to stay productive when life has you in a slump:

1. Exercise for better sleep and to boost endorphins

Exercise is a greatly underutilized antidepressant. I know that some days it feels like you can barely get out of bed, let alone go for a jog, but exercising is a naturally proven way to increase your body’s feel-good endorphins.

Exercising for at least two and a half hours a week has been shown to significantly improve the quality of sleep you get at night, which positively impacts your overall mental wellness and your energy during the day.

In my personal experience, I’ve also found exercising to be a good way to relieve stress and frustration.

If you go for long jog, chances are that you’ll feel so tired when you get done you won’t even have the energy to be bummed out.

That and endorphin boost can do wonders for your mood and productivity.

2. Remind yourself that being productive now will improve your happiness later

I certainly didn’t always feel like going to class or studying for finals when I was in my slump, but I did it anyway because I knew it would be best for me in the end.

I know it’s hard, but you have to try to look beyond your feelings in the present moment and do what will be most beneficial to your happiness later. If you just sit back and wallow in self-pity, you likely aren’t going to feel better for a very, very long time.

You don’t have to be thrilled about whatever you’re doing, but at least do it so you can keep yourself moving forward, if only ever so slightly.

3. If you can, be productive on your own terms

Depending on what kind of job or daily responsibilities you have, this tip might be harder for you to put into action. What I mean by “be productive on your own terms,” though, is that you should do whatever will help you be most productive, even if it doesn’t seem like something a productive person would do.

There were some days in college when I knew I’d get more done if I spread out my books in bed and stayed in my pajamas all day, rather than going to the library. So I stayed in bed and let myself be motivated by the fact that I got to choose how I was going to be productive that day.

I didn’t go anywhere because I didn’t want to, but I also didn’t sulk in my room. I got things done…but on my own terms.

If it’s possible for you to control some of the terms of your productivity, do so.

It’s okay if they seem less productive to other people; all that matters is that you feel most productive working that way.

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  1.' Chas says:

    “Vision may sometimes sleep in the sun, while it wakens to widest revelation in utter darkness. Thus I am rapt in a trance-like acceptance of opening cavernous depths, crypts of decyphered gloom, yielding hollows of velvet obscurity that go down, down to the roots of things.” ~Virginia Garland, “The Rain,” Out West: A Magazine of the Old Pacific and the New, February 1908.

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