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When bad mood affects productivity: 3 tips to still get things done

Mood affects productivity

It would be great if it was possible to go through life only doing the things that you feel like doing in the moment. In this dream scenario, you could simultaneously keep things in order, achieve your goals, and exploring your potential. But a bad mood affects productivity and then things come to a standstill.

Unfortunately, though, there are times when things can’t just be put on hold or left for a time when we feel better. No matter why we don’t feel like doing it, it has to be done. For example, your garage isn’t well-lit so you need to install some 4 ft LED Garage Lights for better garage safety and accessibility. But the idea of actually taking the first step just seems frustrating.

Below are three useful tips that can help you to get things done even if you’re not in the mood – and, as with all things, some degree of balance is always key.

1. Focus on habit building rather than imposing draconian structure

One mistake that people frequently make when trying to add more order to their lives, and become more proactive with handling various chores is to go overboard. They try to impose draconian routines on themselves overnight.

While this might work for a day or two, however, taking this approach is likely to backfire quickly. Your own internal resistance grows and you become burned out, irritated, and disillusioned.

Instead, focus on building effective and proactive habits that will lead you in the right direction. And begin by building those habits on a small scale.

James Clear, author of Atomic Habits argues, for example, that something like an exercise habit should be initially made so exceptionally easy that only takes a couple of minutes. There’s virtually no effort to execute it at the outset.

The reason this strategy often works is because your first priority ought to be to try to establish the habit routine itself. Then you can take action more directly, and with less hesitation and rumination. As time goes on, you can become more ambitious with the habit.

2. Set up a proper series of incentives

If you need to do something tedious like tidying up the entire house, add layers of incentive and motivation to the process to actually get you moving. This method affects productivity in a good way, no matter how foul your mood is, because it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll never just spontaneously “feel like doing it” otherwise.

Begin by identifying certain rewards that you will give yourself for completing various tasks. Then, stick to those rewards once the tasks are completed.

Beyond that, try to find ways to make the processes and tasks themselves more bearable. Listening to music or audiobooks when doing chores, for example, can help make them more enjoyable for you.

3. Divide projects and tasks into smaller chunks wherever possible

The concept of “chunking down” larger and more daunting tasks and projects into smaller subtasks has a great way of reducing resistance and developing effective momentum. That makes sense as you might feel overwhelmed by the idea of saving hundreds of dollars a month for schooling, for example. However, start with setting aside $50 a month or even $25 and slowly work your way up over time so it doesn’t feel like such a hit to your lifestyle.

Use a good task and project management system to help you stay on track too. Finally, look for ways to divide any daunting task you have to work with into manageable parts so that it doesn’t overwhelm you. Otherwise, you might never begin in the first place.


Top photo credit: StockSnap via Pixabay

27 thoughts on “When bad mood affects productivity: 3 tips to still get things done”

    1. Me too, Christy. Be well and stay save. Here in Germany we are receiving daily greetings from DJT. ;-) Seems he’d remembered his family history. The former Prinzregent had denied his grandfathers return to the Bavarian Kingdom.

  1. Great tips Christy… I know for me, focusing on the key reason why I’m doing something and how it will make my life easier after it’s completed helps me as well.

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