03/05/2016 08:08 BST | Updated 03/05/2017 06:12 BST

When Trying to Be Productive Can Harm Productivity

Have you ever experienced that ever so consuming form of frustration when you're trying to be productive and it's just not happening? Well, my friend, you wouldn't be the only one. I've had my fair share of unproductive moments when they should be anything but.

I pride myself on my work ethic, my aspirations and even my work product. I'm not who I am without being somewhat productive. I don't think running a million miles a minute and reaching for a number of goals at any given time would really work without productivity, but then again, sometimes it doesn't.

Sometimes I'm left stressed, frustrated and in some sort of a very close to panic state of a situation that breaks me like nothing else does.

As much as I'm determined, I'm distracted. Just like I'm ready to go, I can be empty. And, more recently, as much as I'm productive, I'm really quite the opposite.

Sometimes, just as much as you'd like to make it happen, productivity is really not working for you. But then, if you're forcing it, why would it?

Have you ever tried forcing something in life? Something unrelated to productivity levels, in this instance? What happens? My guess is, like pretty much every time, it fails. Things can only happen in life if we truly want them to. If we start to follow a path lined with uncertainly, it's never going to work out.

This is what happens why you try and force productivity.

But don't feel bad, don't beat yourself up about it - that will only ensure the unproductive version of you sticks around for that little why longer. It happens to the best of us, my friend. It sucks, but it happens.

If you work in what's considered a creative field like I do, then perhaps you'll already know what I'm going to say about this or have even experienced it for yourself. Creativity cannot be rushed. It just can't. It just is. It has to flow freely, without control or constraint. So, by trying to force it, it really won't happen. Ever.

But that doesn't mean I'm saying you can't make it happen in some other way, or at least help it along. In fact, these are the things you should be focusing on, not staring at your project and work load wondering why it's just not working out for you right now.

It's from doing just that, staring at my screen, researching like crazy and generally forcing myself to write something I just simply don't want to write at that time, that I've learnt what I should be doing. And I'm not saying that I know better, or that you should learn as I did, just that, when I suddenly realised what I was doing wrong, what was right suddenly made much more sense.

Boxing myself in, restricting myself and just being far to rigid, planned and prepared (some of my finest qualities), just doesn't work for me. It never will. The sooner I accept that, the better my work will become.

After decades of being a perfectionist or what some would call a swot, I've started to realise that the all or nothing consuming attitude I have to life doesn't always do me good when it comes to work. It's actually the exact opposite that works.

When you're trying to be creative, productive and just get stuff done, being motivated and boosting your morale could be but a moment away when you just learn to be flexible. Deadlines allowing, breaking free could be all it takes for you to get back on that productivity wagon and creating something great.

For me, when I feel like I can't tackle a task. I don't. I step back. I drink some tea, go for a walk or even write about something else, something that is on my mind or that I can actually focus on writing about and leave that other piece for another moment. It doesn't even have to be another day. After that cup of tea or quite walk, you might be in the right place to get stuff done.

It isn't something mind blowing or life changing in or way shape or form, but flexibility can work wonders.

When you're sat staring at a to-do list that has been set in a specific order based on what you feel you should be accomplishing that day, but you're just not in the right place, stepping back and reassessing the situation could help.

It doesn't even have to apply to writing or work in general. If you really can't face reorganising the laundry room or painting that wall, then don't, read a book or talk to a friend and come back to your task with a fresh mind and a new outlook on getting it done.

It's small, silly and seems so infective, but it works.

By boxing yourself in, forcing yourself and generally working on something that you just can't face at that time, it'll take you so much longer to produce something that might not even be very good. Instead, step back, reassess and walk away, even just for 30 minutes. It could be all you need to get your productivity back on track and creating magic with whatever you touch.

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