How to Be Productive – Even When You Don’t Want to Be

May 5, 2014

ProductivitySome days, I don’t feel like doing anything productive. I want to sit around with a book and not worry about getting things done.

While it’s nice to take a break sometimes, and while we need to take breaks on occasion, the reality is that sitting around in a stupor isn’t going to help anything. There’s a difference between taking a break for half an hour to regroup and accomplishing nothing all day because you’ve been sitting in front of the TV in a daze.

When I feel like succumbing to a complete lack of motivation, I do my best to be productive – even though I don’t feel like it. Here are some tips for getting something done, no matter how much you’d rather not do anything:

Get Started on Something

Get started with something. It can be as simple as making your bed or straightening your workspace. The idea is to start moving. Once you are moving, and once you’ve started to do something, it’s easier to keep going.

If you can just get started with something simple, you might find it easier to work up to something more complex. Plus, the fact that you’ve accomplished something can push you to accomplish still more with your day.

Switch Gears to Something Else Productive

I might feel like curling up with a book, but if I want to be productive, I make it a point to curl up with something other than my favorite fantasy adventure series. Instead, I look for a book that can teach me something, or that I plan to review for my blog. In either case, I’m accomplishing something productive.

Another tactic is to look for something else that needs to be done. If I don’t feel like working, I’ll clean the house, or volunteer at my son’s school, or gather up items to take to the food bank. I’m still getting something worthwhile accomplished, and I’m making myself a better person overall. Later, when I feel like working, those good vibes can translate to better concentration and productivity.

Power Through

Of course, sometimes you just need to power through. Rather than being overwhelmed by everything you have to do, and choosing to do nothing, choose the most important thing you need to do. What has to be done? Focus on that one thing. Stop worrying about the piled up work – at least for now.

This is one of the ways that I overcome procrastination when I’m paralyzed by the amount of work that I need to do. I take a deep breath, find the most important task, and just power through that task. At the very least, the most important thing is done. Often, though, I find that just accomplishing the most important task gives me a sense of accomplishment, and I’m in work mode, so I move on to something else.

While you don’t always have to be productive all the time, it can help your emotional well-being – as well as improve the rest of your life – if you make it a point to be at least a little productive. Take a break, but don’t forget to accomplish a few things, too.

Editor’s Note: Now that you know how to be productive, learn about some common productivity mistakes you should avoid.

What are some other ways to be productive and stop procrastination? Leave a comment with your own!


Will this article help you save or earn more money? Get others like it simply by entering your email address below. Your email is used only for delivering daily money tips and you can opt out of delivery at any time. Click here to see all your free subscription options.


Miranda writes about personal finance almost every day. An experienced freelance writer, she's covered your money online and in print from every angle and is always looking for new ones.

All posts by


One Response to How to Be Productive – Even When You Don’t Want to Be

  • Melody

    You can add this one in your list:

    Always have notebook or pad & pen in your pocket – So you can note any idea that comes into your mind. You just dont know whether that might be a great one or not.