Hey everyone! I have trouble feeling productive a lot of the time, and it shows, with the amount of times that I’ve ended up blankly staring at a screen or just spending the day playing video games (and not for streaming purposes). As someone currently going down the pathway for an autism and ADHD diagnosis, these tips tend to help me adjust to feeling productive!
Fix: Setting an earlier alarm (and going to bed earlier)
I always used to set the alarm for 7am at the earliest, but I always noticed that I would go back to sleep and sometimes wake up after 9am, which is less than ideal. From the time this post was written, I decided to set my alarm for 6am, with a later alarm for 7am. So we shall see how that works, but hopefully it means that I can finally get around to getting work done earlier in the day. I actually feel a lot more productive the earlier I wake up, so it makes sense for me.
I struggle with going to bed earlier, as it usually means that I’m wide awake trying to get to sleep. It’s why I like having piano music playing while I sleep.
Fix: Limit phone time in the morning
I’m a culprit of checking my social media in the morning as soon as I wake up, especially if I have a lot of notifications. But this usually impacts how much time I’m up and about. So I’m usually struggling to find the effort to get out of bed because of this, and I’ve found that if I limit my social media use, I’m getting out of bed quicker than normal. Is this a sign of social media addiction? Maybe. But at least then I’m having to get out of bed and get showered and freshened up before I even glance on Twitter.
Fix: Keep a calendar
I used to keep a physical diary up until very recently, actually. It’s part of the declutter and reworking my work ethic for this year. I always used to keep a long-term schedule of what posts needed to be out for when, and I would also make a separate list of tasks that I needed to do. Instead, I’ve gone to Google Calendar to fix the physical burden, and I can change the calendar wherever and whenever I need to!
As much as I loved keeping a diary, it wasn’t practical to drag it around with me to meetings, and the digital calendar also saved me scribbling the next meeting date and time on some random scrap piece of paper in my notebook that’d be thrown later.
Fix: Staying hydrated (and not hungry)
I normally find it easier to focus when I’m sufficiently hydrated, or if I’ve had something to eat. I usually prefer going for snacks, as full meals tend to throw my focus off the task at hand, and instead I usually get distracted! Instead of coffee, I usually have Sneak or Wraith to hand, as they are caffeinated, yet they don’t taste like butt. I miss the coffee I used to have from my old work…
Fix: Keep a to-do list
I always used to do this when I was still living at my mum’s, and it allowed me to keep focused on the day ahead. I do it less often now, but I’m working on getting back into the habit. I like doing daily to-do lists, and then marking off what needs to be done. Unlike the calendar, I always like to keep a physical to-do list, and cross things off when they are done! It makes me feel good when I’ve written out a to-do list, and crossed everything off that I had planned for the day! I usually do it on a day-to-day basis because I tend to change up my stream days depending on how I’m feeling physically, or if I have a lot to catch up on.
Fix: Have dedicated rest days
I have a few of what I like to call “fuck-off days” in which I don’t want to interact with anyone in real life, and I have the time to rest and do nothing, or take care of any home errands that really need doing. I actually align these with one of Connor’s days off so that I have an extra set of hands for the heavy lifting work.
However, I tend to fall into the trap where I’m always thinking about my next projects or ideas while I’m having those rest days. It’s perfectly normal, and having a little session to tinker around with some things doesn’t mean that you’re working! It’s kinda like tying a bow on a present! It’s normal to get things done for work, like reading or scheduling.
Fix: Do your dreaded task first
This may use up a good portion of your spoons, but if you do that dreaded phone call, or that appointment, it won’t be distracting you for the rest of the day! Plus hopefully you’ll be in a better mindset to get the rest of your work done!
For example, I hate phone calls. I used to enjoy having the counselling calls early in the morning, so that I’d go through the rest of the day more productive. Even if it’s a task that you can’t manage in one day, even just doing a portion of it will kick-start that buzz. And it’s more satisfacting having that crossed off!
Fix: Clear distractions
This is a big bugbear for me. It’s usually when I’m starting to get some work done that I’m distracted by everyone and their pet rocks on Messenger or Twitter (the latter is for stream and networking purposes), so I’m usually irate from the get-go, and I just have to tell people that I’m working and can’t afford the distractions.
Or a simpler method would be to not have Messenger open, but hey! It’s always open in case I find something that’ll interest Connor, or if my mum decides to message me. It’s actually the rabbit hole of YouTube videos that distract me the most, especially commentary videos, because I have to have my entire focus on it. Podcasts are a happy medium (my good friend Tim is launching his podcast series in December – check out the trailer).
Fix: Take regular breaks
It’s very important to do this, especially if you’re working with computers. Having that break to stretch off and have a walk, even if it’s around the house, is so good! Take maybe ten or twenty minutes to do this every couple of hours or so, and you’ll come back to the work freshened up and ready to carry on!
I do this so that my knee doesn’t start hurting too much. It’s especially important while I’m streaming, because I’d be sat at the computer for a while, so I will need to take those breaks. I had to do this while playing Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!, as I was streaming for almost seven hours that day.
Fix: Your posture
It’s easier said than done, but I had horrible posture on my old desk. I recently purchased a brand new desk with a raised shelf for monitors. It works wonders, because now the monitors are at head height, I’m not leaning forward to try and see the screens, and I have so much more room for everything else. In the past few days that I’ve had it, I’ve already felt the difference in my posture, and it’s great!
It also helps that I have lumbar support for my back, as I get frequent sciatic pain when I’m at my desk for too long.
Fix: Learn where to par back tasks
Last year I got into a bad habit of trying to take on too much, and that reflected into this year. Up until March this year, I was uploading almost daily, and I was no longer enjoying what I was writing. I had to take a prolonged hiatus (longer than I initially planned), just to try and gain back some time to reflect.
Unfortunately for me, if I work on one project, I have to work on that, and I end up neglecting everything else, and the cycle carries on until I’m struggling to keep up. It’s why now I’ve decided that there are some tasks that can wait, and I’m not afraid of saying no in order to make other things a priority.
Okay, turns out I had a lot more to offer than I initially realised. So here you go!