Evaluate How You Affect the Future to Feel More Productive
Even if you spent all day working your butt off, you can clock out feeling like you got nothing done, especially if there's more to do. Instead of looking at what's left on your list, examine how much you made tomorrow easier.
As advice site The Muse points out, often how we feel about our productivity bears little connection to how productive we've actually been. If you finish the day feeling like you got nothing done-even if you did-it demoralizes you for the next day. Helping yourself feel productive is an important part of staying productive.
One key way to improve your mentality about your own work is to appreciate how much you've affected your own future. Maybe you did a bunch of seemingly unimportant stuff today, but if it gives you all day tomorrow to work on a bigger project, then you still accomplished something:
When I would look back on both Monday and Tuesday, I wouldn't say "Monday was more productive because I did more." I'd say "Monday was productive because I cleared my schedule for Tuesday. And Tuesday was productive because I took my time and wrote an article I'm truly proud of."
It's such a small mindset switch, but it makes all the difference for me when I leave the office each and every day. I can feel good about crashing on my couch and watching TV, because today, tomorrow, and the next day will all be productive days. Just like that.
Your workflow is more tightly connected to the days around it than you might think. Today's procrastination makes tomorrow harder, and you can easily get stuck in a cycle of being perpetually behind. Each day that you get your minor tasks done, you're setting your future up to be productive. Even if it feels like you're not getting anywhere.
Photo by Ryan Tir.