I have days when I feel meh or low-energy for no good reason. I find it super hard to be productive in that state. I bet you’ve had such days too. I have some tried-and-tested tricks to fall back on that help me get right back on track. I thought I’d share them today. Plus, I wanted to create a post titled “5 ways to…”. What’s a blog without at least a few such titles, right? 😉
1. Taking a 20-minute nap
My energy slumps usually happen midday. I find myself becoming slightly drowsy too. Allowing myself to take a nap works wonders. I like doing this especially on days when I have lots to do and can’t afford to take time off work. Sleep helps me reset if I’ve already spent significant time working on something. A nap works way better than caffeine too.
2. A playlist of songs and podcasts that are an instant pick-me-up
My playlist is called, “Ranjana’s high energy songs” (original, isn’t it?). I’m actually not that well-versed in music but over the years I’ve created a list of songs that works like an espresso shot! It includes numbers such as Unstoppable by The Score, Victorious by Tyrone Briggs, Eminem’s Lose Yourself and Not Afraid to name a few. I play this list for a while when I’m feeling down until I start feeling energized once again. Yet another way I like to motivate myself is by listening to inspiring podcasts. My favourite is Tom Bilyeu’s Impact Theory. That guy’s energy is infectious.
3. A 20-min HIT workout
I love the short workouts on the Nike Training Club app. They’re completely free, don’t need any equipment and are all-around awesome! You don’t need to use an app for this, of course. Just do some exercise that will get your heart rate up for 15-20 minutes and you’ll be golden. For eg., yesterday I did a 25-min workout which was basically 5 sets of 20 burpees + 10 push-ups + 20 bodyweight squats. I was feeling great for hours afterward. Exercise releases dopamine and endorphins. Dopamine, which is the ‘reward’ hormone, controls motivation and desire and improves alertness, focus, and concentration. Endorphins are hormones that reduce the perception of pain in the brain and trigger a positive and optimistic feeling.
4. Watching something that is guaranteed to make me laugh
One of the best ways to feel recharged is to watch or do something that puts you in a light-hearted mood. It’s easy to segue into focused work when you’re happy. Personally, watching Friends on Netflix does it for me. I’ve watched that series more times than I can count. It never fails to make me laugh. I find it easy to jump back into work once I’ve had a good laugh.
5. Working in the presence of others
I feel alert and alive when I have human beings around me. We don’t need to be working on the same task…just being in the presence of others perks me up. It’s for this reason that I love working out of cafes. These days, though, I find it even better to work in ‘virtual cafes’. I use Ultraworking which brings together people from across the world in a single online ‘room’ and enables them to work together in cycles of 40 minutes. There are other tools too such as Focusmate that operate in a similar fashion (i.e., leverage social accountability to help people be more productive). These days, I’ve been creating my own version of such ‘virtual cafes’. A bunch of friends and I get together at the same time using Zoom. We tell each other what we plan to get done, work in silence for about 2.5 hours, and use 15-30 minutes to discuss how our work session went and what we accomplished.
“This too shall pass”
Despite your best efforts, there will be days you’ll feel low. Days that will be really meh and life will seem anything but exciting. That’s okay. It’s part of being human. The important thing is to do your best and keep pushing forward. As they say, “this too shall pass”.