Hacking Your Brain To Feel Productive

July 19, 2020

Happy Sunday!

So, as many of you know, I am a hardcore procrastinator. It's really hard for me to find the motivation to get tasks done.

Lately, I've been trying to discover ways that I can make myself feel productive with minimal effort. The idea is that if I feel productive, I will want to keep doing more things and therefore keep feeling productive. If that makes any sense. XD basically I'm just lazy

That’s what we’re discussing today: ways to trick your brain into thinking you’re productive, when in reality you’re just putting in the smallest amount of work possible.

None of this will be in any particular order, so . . . let’s just do this.

Make your bed.

Confession time: I never make my bed. *cue gasps* I just . . . don’t see the point? I rarely ever look at my bed during the day, and I’m going to sleep in it the next night and mess it all up again anyways.

But if I’m feeling really unproductive, I’ll straighten my blanket and maybe hide my pajamas under the covers so they’re out of sight. That way I can look at my bed and say, “See, I can make that look nice. I can do something else on my to-do list.”

BONUS POINTS if you go ahead and wash all your sheets for the sheer purpose of procrastinating on the other things you should be doing. XD

Clear off your desk/workspace.

I don’t know about you, but my desk is typically an absolute disaster: markers and pens everywhere, papers taking up half the workspace, sixteen different notebooks opened, et cetera. This mess makes it very hard for me to concentrate, especially if I’m trying to procrastinate. Because look, here are all these distractions!

So take my word for it: clean that mess up. Not only will it help you feel productive, but it will also give you a workspace that is actually usable, which is always a plus!

Listen to lofi music.

LOFI MUSIC IS THE BEST, OKAY. It’s meant to be in the background, which makes it perfect for studying or writing blog posts or . . . pretty much anything. When I listen to my playlist of current favorite songs, I always get distracted singing along. on a completely unrelated note, guess whose music is distracting them right now

Lofi is just a nice, calm thing to have playing while you get work done. It literally screams productivity to me. Plus, it makes you feel like you’re in one of those aesthetic productivity YouTube videos.

Speaking of which . . .

Watch an aesthetic YouTube video.

No, this technically isn’t being productive. However, seeing someone on YouTube be productive is somehow very motivating, especially if the YouTuber is your age! I particularly like “study with me” or “write with me” livestreams, because those are both fun and inspirational.

(Writing livestreams are literally saving my life right now.)

Something to keep in mind, however, is that if you’re going to head on YouTube, resolve to only watch one video. This way you won’t lose the motivation you get from the video, and you won’t get lost in YouTube’s Recommended feed. XD

Write your to-do list.

If you don’t write out your to-do lists the night before, I’d highly recommend doing so. That way, you can wake up with a set plan for the day.

But if you don’t want to do it, or you can’t, a great way to feel motivated is to actually sit down and write what you want to do. just make sure you don’t write so much that it stresses you out

If it helps, put “write to-do list” on your to-do list. That way, when you finish, you can cross something off immediately. And your brain will see that and go, “Well, look at that, with little effort we already did something. Let’s do some more!”

To-do list hacks for the WIN! ;)

Draw out your next week.

(This one only applies to bullet journal users.)

If it’s Thursday or Friday and you need a calm start to your day, go ahead and draw out your spread for the next week! It’s a relaxing way of being productive, and you can listen to fun music while you do it.

Don’t feel pressured to start writing to-do lists for that week: just draw the boxes and write the headers, and just leave it empty. Because THEN on Saturday or Sunday or whenever you do your planning for the week, you can see your nice empty spread, which might just motivate you to plan even MORE!

*sigh* I think I like journaling too much.

Don’t feel limited by these options: do whatever works for you! As long as it helps you feel more productive and leads you to get more things done, any little hack will work. Maybe sharpening pencils will do the trick for you, or washing a few dishes, or folding a blanket. Experiment!

I hope this post helped you find a way to Get Things Done - even if that means watching a YouTube video to do so. XD

-Nicole <3

Do you have any ways to get into the workflow? Do you make your bed? ;) Any other lofi lovers out there? Let’s talk and share tips!

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  1. YES TO ALL OF THESE especially cleaning off the Desk of Doom and writing/drawing to do lists. For some reason, they are just so motivating? There are some weeks where I'm so motivated that I end up drawing out my next week's spread the day before it's on my to do list. XD
    Also, the tip to go to YouTube planning to only watch one video is gold, for sure! I try to only watch YouTube on weekends, but that doesn't always work out...
    I don't tend to listen to lofi music...I'm not actually sure what it is? But I don't have any problem with songs with words--I usually just tune them out--so I have a couple of playlists including one my siblings and I made together that I like to listen to. They make sure I don't go to YouTube...
    My favorite productivity tip BESIDES desk cleaning is probably organizing something in my room. For some reason, once I start organizing, I can never stop doing that/other productive stuff. Although, that might also be a procrastination technique. XD

    1. Okay, I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks that! And I didn't know you bullet journaled! That's so awesome!
      Haha, I should have made that a goal, but I'm much too far past that at this point . . .
      It's kind of weird, I'm not going to lie, but it's cool! But your ability to listen to music with words is EPIC. That's a talent that not many people have!
      Ooo, YES, I should try that! (but yeah, it might be . . . oh well, at least it's a way to productively procrastinate! XD)

  2. these are great tips! Writing a to do list tends to help me.

    1. Thank you, Skye! And yess, that's a fantastic way! :D

  3. Oh, the age-old dilemma of To Make the Bed or To Not Make the Bed. xD I like making my bed because it makes my room like cleaner (lol), but I also use my bedsheets for IG photos so if the bed's made I have to UNmake it to take photos... soo. Yeah. It doesn't stay made up much. xD

    A CLEAN WORKSPACE IS SO HELPFUL. It's so annoying because I WANT a clean, minimalist desk to work at, where everything's easy to get to and there are no distractions... but somehow it always naturally ends up looking like a trainwreck. xD TOO MANY PROJECTS, DUDE. TOO MANY PROJECTS.

    THANK GOODNESS I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO GETS DISTRACTED BY JAMMING OUT TO MUSIC. This has been a problem for me for so long. xD It's even a struggle listening to my story playlists while writing sometimes, because I either caught up in thinking about why the songs work so well for that story (and then proceed to get emotional), or I just end up singing along and doing absolutely nothing. WHY MUST MUSIC BE SO DISTRACTING. XD

    Yes to writing to do lists and yes to adding things to lists just to check them off! #GUILTY XD And setting up your bullet journal spreads ahead of time is so helpful, too! I always try to do that on Sundays, that way when I go to plan my days every evening all I have to do is fill the spaces in. It makes it easier to keep up throughout the week. (because I have a major problem with forgetting or procrastinating doing my daily spreads... oops)


    1. Oof, I'm the exact same way with my IG photos. And then it gets even worse because I don't want to clean up after myself, so then I have a bunch of books lying on my bed too. XD

      THE TOO MANY PROJECTS PROBLEM IS REAL, THOUGH. I completely blame them for wrecking my desk's aesthetic. ;)

      OKAY BUT SAME - IT'S A REAL ISSUE. I just started adding songs with lyrics to my story playlist and now I keep getting majorly distracted. XD BUT THE SONGS ARE SO GOOOOOD

      #GUILTYWITHYOU Ooo, that's a good plan to have! (but yes, forgetting/procrastinating on bujo spreads is a real struggle because then YOU CAN'T DO ANYTHING)

  4. You called me out so hard with this whole post Nicole. lololololol I definitely will be using these because when i get back home, i have a mess of a room to pick up lol. I really need to catch up on my bullet journaling....

    1. Bwahahaha, you're welcome. XD And I honestly need to catch up with my bujo too, I think I'm behind . . .

  5. Out of all of these, music is the most helpful to help me feel productive. And, yes, I can't listen to lyric music. It's so distracting.
    (I also don't make my bed very often XD)

    1. Lyric music is so fun but SO distracting. :D (haha, yesss, join the messy bed club! XD)

  6. I love this post!!! Anything that has to do with productivity hacks is my jam!

    I totally make my bed every morning, as well as tidy up my room. I understand the reasoning behind not making the bed, but for me it's more symbolic than anything. Even if I'm not able to do anything else in the day, just straightening up my room and making my bed helps me feel accomplished. It's like, "Well, I can clean this up. What's stopping me from cleaning up the rest of my life?" It's kind of a kickstart for my brain. Also, I consider it a loving act towards myself. I feel like I'm filling myself with love by taking the time to create a clean environment for myself. I don't know. I feel very strongly about my room. It's my special place :D

    I still stink at tidying up my workspace, though. It's a disaster area. Gotta work on that.

    I'm absolutely thriving off of the live writing sprints on Authortube right now. They're pretty much the only thing helping me get my words in each day. I just went through all of the streams from the 12-hour relay that Jessica Williamson coordinated a few weekends ago. Those helped so much!! And I hear talk that there might be a 24-hour one coming up and I hope that it actually happens (not that I'll write for 24 hours straight, but that I'll have so many streams to help my word count go up!).

    1. Aahh, yay, I'm glad you enjoyed it! :D

      That's so awesome that you do that every morning! Honestly, it sounds like a great way to start your day, and it has kind of inspired me to start doing it. XD

      Haha, cleaning up the workspace is SO HARD, though :D

      THOSE WRITING SPRINTS ARE AMAZING. I'm still working through those 12-hour relay sprints, but they are so helpful! And I've been hearing about that one too, and I hope that it happens too!!

  7. Making my bed is huuuge! I have a bad habit of not doing it, but I always feel more productive when I do. Love love these tips!

    1. Yes, yes, yes, I’m the same way! And thank you, Charis! <3

  8. These are good. I like making lists and am always hard core to get them done. I never make my bed either. I do find some youtube videos get me excited to get things done. :)


    1. Haha, yesss, lists and YouTube videos are great kickstarters XD


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