My answer: I never use productivity tools like this. 🙂
Oftentimes, using them is like treating the pain instead of the disease.
A more productive (pun intended), yet less pleasant tool is asking the following: "Why am I feeling unproductive in the first place?"
Maybe I feel hungry or thirsty?
Maybe I feel tired and need a break?
Maybe the task feels pointless?
Maybe I have other things to do?
After a short but productive (pun intended again) self-enquary, I might realize that
😶 I don't take care of my basic needs
🤔 I don't like what I am producing
😠 I don't like the product I am working on
🤯 I don't know what I am doing with my life
Sure, this is not a very positive diagnosis. Who wants to learn that they are actually sick at heart rather than unproductive?
However, it is as unpositive as learning that
❤️ you need to change your diet and exercise more due to high blood pressure or cholesterol level,
🖤 unless you want to increase your chances of having a heart attack or developing diabetes.
Of course, sometimes it is totally reasonable to boost your productivity by changing the ergonomics of your workplace (e.g. switching between sitting and standing) or using co-working spaces. 👌
Oftentimes, however, lack of productivity is just the tip of the iceberg, hiding diverse psychological issues, ranging from mild deficits in grit to severe deficits in self-respect.
The good part is that these psychological challenges can be fully or partially overcome by becoming more mindful of your physical and psychological needs as well as learning more self-compassion. ☀️
At the end of the day, we are just humans, an advanced species of mammals, who are not fitted for the modern and ever-changing world.
Moral of the story: it is totally normal to feel unproductive as long as (1) you know why and (2) you know how to live a meaningful live, despite the occasional unproductivity. ✌️
Let's talk about productivity.
Some time ago I discovered an app called Focusmate (focusmate.com) (not an ad). The app essentially forces you to get things done with the help of accountability. It matches you with another person for a 50 minute session where each of you work on your tasks live (camera mandatory, mic optional). Since then, I've used it for both personal and professional activities with really good results.
What are some techniques or tools that you like to use when you want to stay focused for longer periods of time or when you don't feel like doing that thing?