Small Accomplishments: 6 tips to feel productive when you can’t seem to get anything done

My first September post! That’s exciting. In September I start thinking about fall, and in fall I start thinking about rhythms. The year starts winding to a close, school and work have settled into patterns, leaves are falling. Everything feels calmer and cozier, secure and familiar compared to the bursts of energy we live with in summer.

It is nice to feel cozy and settled. But for some of us, even such good things can get old real quick. You’ve been doing the same stuff for weeks, you don’t want to go out in the cold, no one is free to hang out…bleh. It’s like your body just decides, no more!

So. What to do when you don’t want to do anything you have to do? When the autumn malaise sets in, usually about 3/4 of the way to midterms, I like to be prepared. Although completing the entire series of a new tv show can feel like an incredible accomplishment in itself (trust me – I watched the entire 8 existing seasons of The Office during winter finals my sophomore year), you may want something to do that still helps you avoid work, without going full “Netflix and Chillingly comatose.”

For this reason, I have compiled a list of little things I love to do, that I would never set aside time for but are PERFECT excuses to procrastinate. And who knows? Maybe by the time you’ve knocked out a few, you will be re-inspired for the work you were supposed to be doing. Here are my top 6 suggestions for surviving the Fall Blahs:

Idea #1 : Change your phone lock screen and home screen.

My current lock screen – originally via Gal Meets Glam

This one is SO. SIMPLE. I know my taste is changing all the time, so it’s nice to update something I have to look at every day anyway. It’s great how something so simple can make you think differently about the day. I prefer photos/paintings of flowers, or Bible verses. Or both! Because both are beautiful and tend to have an uplifting effect on my mood.

Depending on my degrees of blah-ness, sometimes I make the images myself (PicCollage is a brilliant app for designing your own because its default page is screen-sized. In YouVersion, you can make lock screens out of any Bible verse and a picture of yours or theirs.), but mostly I just download them from Pinterest. She Reads Truth also has some lovely pre-made ones for Bible verses.


Idea #2 : Post on an old friend’s wall

If you are feeling down in the procrastination dumps, you’re probably already on facebook anyway. Why not use it as a chance to catch up with an old friend? I always love getting random “hello’s” from old college friends, and it is better to give than to receive! If it’s one of those people I love but only see like once a year, most likely we just pick up right where we left off. But even if it’s weird, or they don’t really respond, trust me, it’s still so much better than accidentally liking some guy’s picture from 2004.

Idea #3 : Sort out your hair and makeup drawer (can also include purse, closet).

This is that one thing that always needs to be done, and yet never is when you need it most. The moment you are desperately digging around for a bobby pin on your way out the door is not the moment you want to realize you need to reorganize. For guys, maybe this means going through your ties? I don’t know. Whatever it is, set yourself up for success by going through it all now!

I personally think it’s really fun to sort through my makeup. It is always equal parts “oh, I forgot I bought that, I need to use it!” and “egh, what was I thinking?!” I like to use old glass jars to sort things like qtips and hair ties – the Trader Joe’s caper jar is my favorite tbh – but soap dishes are becoming a new fave. Cost Plus’s bathroom accessories are not to be overlooked.

As a final bonus, sorting out the makeup drawer inevitably becomes “try all those new looks I’ve been meaning to.” What better way to feel re-motivated about work than a makeover?

Idea #4 : Actually do something about all those tabs open on your iPhone browser

This is a big one for me. Over the course of a month, I open millions of tabs as reminders for restaurants I want to try, places I want to go, articles people recommended that I didn’t have time to read yet. Well, I have time to read them now!

Maybe for you it’s more like songs you’ve been meaning to check out, or newsletters you’ve been wanting to read. In any case, the doldrums are a great time to go back and treat yourself to all that discovery you’ve been meaning to do.

Similarly, Idea #5 : Clean out your camera roll/Dropbox

Ok. If you are anything like me, your camera roll is like 30% photos of family and friends, 70% groceries to remember and potential outfits I send to my sister for feedback. Or more likely, for those of us on Instagram, it’s 36 versions of the exact same shot before we decided which one we actually wanted to post. If you’re bored, what better time to enjoy looking through old photos, and happening to delete some of the bad ones?

Yes, I get it, photo space is basically free now and there’s technically no need to delete old reminder pictures. I just don’t like that they get in the way of pictures I actually like. Do I really need a picture of the Mucinex type I like being uploaded to the cloud for posterity? No. No I don’t. And neither do you.

And Finally, Idea #6: Head massage!

When all else fails, treat yo’self. Sometimes, you just have to accept the fact that nothing productive is going to get done, and in that case, really your only option left is to pamper yourself. This is my 5-step process for the perfect relaxing, tension-relieving head massage, ideal for breaking up the day and starting fresh.

The basic idea is that pressing any part of your skull with a “sharp” edge (instead of flat) relieves tension and increases blood flow. The following are my favorite pressure points, but you may find your own. I use either my thumbs or the knuckles of my pointer fingers to gently follow the lines of my face to their natural “corners,” and then press and hold for 5-10 seconds. If you have been really stressed or are experiencing sinus pressure, these points will probably be tender so go easy on yourself!

1: with your thumbs, trace the sides of your nose to the inside corners of your eyes. This is pressure point #1 – sinus sufferers will really feel a lot of relief here! 2: trace your eyebrows and forehead to your temples. with your knuckles, gently press into the temple in a circular motion. 3: from here, use your pointer fingers to find the little hollow at the top of where your ear connects to your head. massage in a gentle circular motion with pointer finger or knuckles. 4: finally, trace along your chin, pressing into the ridge under your jawline. 5: to finish it all off, I usually do an all-out scalp massage. with all 5 fingers, scratch your scalp in tiny circular motions. ta-da!

I also have stretches and hand pressure points that I love, but I’ll keep it brief. Choosing to stretch or massage when you feel like doing nothing is always a good idea, and your body will thank you!


there you have it! My 6 tips for beating the Fall Blahs. I hope one or two of them come in handy in the coming months. I’m rooting for you!!



2 thoughts on “Small Accomplishments: 6 tips to feel productive when you can’t seem to get anything done

  1. We love it, especially cleaning out the makeup and hair drawers. It’s something we all need to do and while we are at it we are going to throw out the unhealthy brands and replace them with natural ingredient ones. Thanks for being a constant source of inspiration Vanessa. M & E


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s