To be productive or not to be productive?
Here at Greatist, we think that’s the wrong question. It’s not about whether you’re being productive or not. It’s about what counts as productive — and that metric shouldn’t be determined by Shakespeare or Jeff Bezos.
In our book, what counts are the things that help our mind, body, or soul to feel fulfilled when we need it.
Having a hard time feeling fulfilled? Get back to the basics
Getting back to the basics is a way of recalculating what productivity means for you (rather than what your boss defines it as). It can seem simple, but it can still be a little tricky knowing where to start.
We’ve curated 31 one-step tasks to help you out. You don’t have to do them in order. You’re free to do some more than once if you want. The only rule is to do one thing every day.
If you find yourself doomscrolling, come back to this list. Feeling stuck in the production mud? Come back to this list. No pressure. The goal is to utilize a resource that will help you feel your best.
Oh, and if you realize you’ve finished the whole friggin’ thing, then now you know: Nobody can ever say you don’t do anything.
1. Make your bed
Making the bed is what many people living with depression say works wonders for making them feel accomplished. Establishing a simple habit like this can help set the tone and start your day off right.
2. Drink a *special* drink
Whether it’s an adaptogen-powered latte or a milk frother, drink what makes you feel special and supercharged. If that means greeting your local barista (safely) along the way, don’t forget to tip as well!
3. Take a nap
4. Write a line in your gratitude journal
One line might not feel like much — but as experts say, starting small is the goal. And hey, if you enjoyed writing in your gratitude journal so much, we say, “do it again. And again.” That’s how you make it a habit.
5. Go for a walk
6. Eat your first meal of the day
Forgetting to eat has become particularly common, especially for folks working from home. Hopefully, seeing this will remind you to fuel yourself before opening your laptop.
7. Drink an extra cup of water, right now
This isn’t just a reminder to hydrate because of the benefits of drinking water. If you’ve been going through an especially hard time, or have been hunkering down to get a project through the door, it’s easy to forget the basics of taking care of yourself.
8. Give yourself 15-minute timeouts throughout the day
In other words, ground yourself. You may also know this as one of the best beginner yoga moves of all time: Savasana, or Corpse Pose! We recommend this move for times when you simply feel too overstimulated and need a break.
9. Wash your face
Power of a shower! Except for your face. You can splash or do a full skin care routine with an ounce of mindfulness. If you don’t have a routine, we still recommend following up with moisturizer and sunscreen to avoid dry or dehydrated skin.
10. Open the curtains
Getting as much vitamin D as you can is a good strategy against seasonal affective disorder (SAD). But we also think pulling back the curtains is a great everyday practice to help you appreciate small wins.
11. Re-imagine your room
Since many of us are spending more of our life in one room, ask yourself how you want to feel and if your room is accomplishing that. If it isn’t, what do you need? More indoor plants? Patterned wallpaper? Maybe even a beverage fridge?
12. Pee while you’re in the shower
Why do we consider this a productive habit? Well, for some of us, it’s about saving water, among other benefits. If you aren’t already part of the 61 percent who pee in the shower, try something new.
13. Treat yourself
It’s often said that completing a task should be a reward in itself. Well, we believe completion and reward are two separate things. You deserve to be rewarded, even for adulting. So, think about the adult thing you did today and reward yourself for it!
14. Connect with a friend you miss
Being the first to reach out to an old friend can be scary. But if you’re feeling butterflies, we bet the person on the other end is too — so make that social connection today.
15. Netflix and
chill heat up
There’s a common belief that watching Netflix means you’re being “lazy.” We’re refuting that because there’s a reason to indulge in the rewatching of your favorite shows: comfort. So, comfort yourself with re-runs or get hot and heavy TV with your electric friend.
16. Write a letter
Letters still matter, even in a digital age. Write a letter to yourself, a loved one, or find yourself a pen pal. There’s something exciting about new connections and a letter can make the connection feel more real.
17. Buy a stamp and mail the letter
Physically mailing your letter will make you feel great! If you’re a bit nervous about the person you chose to write to, write another one and send it along.
18. Cancel all your plans for the day
Plans during a pandemic? It happens more often than you think. If you have a Zoom call you’re dreading or just feel the anxiety rising, put yourself first and cancel your plans for the day.
19. Eat some fruit
20. Embrace the freedom to change your mind
Flexibility and adaptability are qualities that have helped a lot of us get through the pandemic. And this doesn’t have to be a big or small decision! Changing your mind can be about ordering Chinese takeout because you don’t *have* to cook or learning new facts on an old topic.
21. Appreciate your ability to do nothing
Doing nothing isn’t a sign of laziness. It’s called reclaiming your time! So much of the world is vying for attention, learning how to do nothing is an art. In fact, learning to do nothing might be the start of healthy internet habits.
22. Give a compliment
Compliments don’t just make the one receiving them feel great. Giving them produces some magical healing energy too.
23. Go plant “shopping” (50 open tabs counts)
Here’s a secret: looking at images of greenery can boost your mental health too. If you’re stuck indoors, why not combine retail therapy and plant benefits in one go! Become an indoor plant parent or grow some indoor herbs!
24. Close any tab that you’ve had open for longer than a week
Yes, this is a call-out. We know you have trailing tabs that have been open since 2019, and you know what? It’s time to let them go.
25. Challenge a negative assumption
Challenging assumptions is a powerful practice, especially if you have anxiety or depression. Experts say taking a pause to ask where your racing thoughts are coming from can help to make sure they don’t take control next time.
26. Engage your higher self
Spiritual wellness is important too. If you haven’t taken care or connected with your spiritual side in a while, take this as a cue to do so. Need a little help? Our self-care expert, Minaa B., taught us how to engage in spiritual self-care.
27. Sweep or vacuum your floor
28. Stretch your body for 5 mins or until you get bored
Take your arms to the sky and work out those back kinks for a good 5 minutes. It’s a good way to get the hard-to-reach muscles that you might have forgotten about.
29. Get a tarot reading
A tarot or astrology reading might sound woo, but this practice has helped many people get clarity from a different perspective.
Readings are also often about a single situation, so if you have something ongoing and serious, we recommend considering talk therapy.
30. Watch the sunset (outside, if possible)
Getting through the day (especially a productive one) shouldn’t be taken for granted. Take some time to appreciate the sunset from your favorite spot and use that time to unwind.
31. Take a selfie
From looking out strangers’ windows to taking nudes, taking photos has been a long-standing method of expression and communication. So, take a photo of yourself that you really like and remind yourself that you’re amazing.
If you’re wondering what the next step is after becoming so damn accomplished, here’s a tip: Take one of these steps and do it again. Every day. That’s how you build a habit, which then leads to a routine. Having a routine that you enjoy is a good method of wellness.