1. You’re not taking good enough care of your mental health. Your physical and mental health can get tied together. If you’re not in a good space, mentally, you can feel tired. Frustrated. Angry. Even sick. Burnout is a real thing and if you don’t take precautions to fight against it, you’re going to suffer. You need to make sure that you’re giving yourself the essentials. Make sure you’re eating enough meals, drinking enough water, sleeping enough hours, and getting enough social interaction (even if it’s online or over the phone). Those things sound stupidly simple, but if you’re lacking in one of those areas, it can make it hard to focus throughout the day.
2. You’re working in a cluttered, uncomfortable area. If you’re working in a messy space, you’re going to feel disorganized. It’s going to be easy for your mind to wander. You’re going to have trouble concentrating. One of the easiest things you can do is clean up your office, clear off your desk, and dump the extra clutter. You want the space around you to encourage you to get shit done. You don’t want it to make it even harder for you to stay in the zone.
3. You’re opening yourself up to distractions. Maybe you’ve been working from home and keep getting interrupted by the other people living with you. Maybe you’ve been distracted by the news articles that keep popping onto your social media feeds. Maybe it’s hard to focus when it feels like the world around you is burning. It’s normal for you to lose focus under these circumstances, but you can take tiny steps to limit distractions. Turn off your notifications while you’re working. Try to find a door you can close and lock. Set a timer for when you can take a break, answer texts, and doomscroll. You can even download programs to your computer that will block certain websites during certain hours so you can’t check them even if you wanted.
4. You’ve spent most of your time alone, cooped up at home. You might feel like you’ve been reliving the same day over and over again, which is exhausting. However, you can break up the monotony and regain some energy by planning fun activities. Schedule virtual movie marathons with friends. Go on an online museum tour. Play Among Us. Learn how to crochet. Learn how to speak French. Go hiking. Watch yoga and meditation tutorials. Even something as small as buying a new type of coffee or vodka or pizza rolls to try can give you something to look forward to. Remember, even though your options for going out are limited, there are a million things you can do at home.
5. The problems in the world feel bigger than your own problems. It’s hard to feel like your work matters when horrible things are happening in the world around you, but it’s not selfish to put energy into something that matters to you. It’s also not selfish to take a break when you feel yourself spiraling. These aren’t normal times. If you’re not as productive as usual, it’s okay.