Something I’m learning to embrace about the way I work is that my productivity comes (and goes) in waves.
When I’m in the zone, grinding on a clearly defined and worthwhile project, I feel unstoppable.
Time flies by. I’m excited to get to my desk in the morning, and I’m reluctant to unplug in the evening.
In these times, I can be insanely productive for the duration of the project, and it feels amazing.
“Fun” wouldn’t necessarily be the right word, but “work” wouldn’t be either. It’s a great feeling.
But then, as waves tend to do, the energy comes, peaks, and the eases down into a slump.
Most often, this happens to me between projects.
Say I’m grinding on an app design project with Mike for a week or two. During those couple weeks, I’m in the zone. Super productive, and way less prone to distraction.
After any project though, I usually find myself in a productivity slump for a few days.
During these times, I find myself way more prone to distraction, procrastination, and goofing off on Reddit, Facebook, etc…
I keep up with menial tasks, but hesitate to bite into substantial projects.
It’s quite a contrast to the zone of productivity, and while it’s not a great feeling, I’ve learned to embrace these periods.
I embrace them, because after a few years of working in this way, I’ve come around to the understanding that these periods are just temporary, and that, like anything else, they too will pass and make way for the upswing.
For me, it helps to remember this, because it’s easy to get down on myself in times like this.
I beat myself up for not being more productive. I hear stories about people like Elon Musk or whoever working 25 hours a day and are always on the fucking grind, and I get that creeping self-doubt that everybody feels from time to time.
Recognizing that these periods of unproductivity are a natural part of my work rhythm, and making peace with that, helps me to not get so wrapped up in it and ultimately helps me be happier (and more productive) in the long run.