What to Do When You Feel Scattered & Unproductive

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Ever have a morning when you just can’t get going? You know you have plenty to do, but you feel too scattered to know where to start.

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I totally get that. I often, OFTEN, feel scattered and unproductive. And I don’t have a newborn anymore!

Last week I was feeling this way and decided to take the bull by the horns and change gears. Upon reflection, I realized that this has become my M.O. for dealing with this feeling, one that I probably experience a little too often!

5 Things to Do When You Feel Scattered and Unproductive

1. Pray.

God has allotted us enough hours in the day to do the things that He thinks we should do. We just need to figure out what those things are. Some days are easier to determine than others. Pray for wisdom and discernment.

2. Dump your brain.

Grab a sheet of paper and throw down all the things swirling in your brain. It’s kind of like dumping out the junk drawer before you sort the stuff. Empty all your thoughts into an area where you can see them objectively and move them around. It’s like a pensieve, only not as cool.

3. Organize a plan of attack.

By looking objectively at your tasks for the day and the thoughts fighting for preeminence in your head, you can better decide what to do and where to spend your time.

4. Get moving.

Don’t worry about having the perfect plan. You’ll be paralyzed if you overthink how to spend your day. Get moving on something. There are always dishes to wash. And if not, there is always, ALWAYS laundry to fold.

5. Do the next thing.

Once you’ve accomplished one thing on your agenda, you’ll feel a sense of purpose and confidence. Move to the next thing. Even if it’s not the perfect next thing, at least it’s something.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

What are YOUR tricks to battling that scattered feeling?

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  1. Great helpful post!!! Much needed and gave me boost… Number 1 pray… Good reminder!

  2. Everywhere I look there’s a project needing completion. I tend to spend too much time online (hmmm). I get overwhelmed by the magnitude and feel like I’m not doing the things I WANT to do. Add to this that I’m recovering from adrenal fatigue AND detoxing from a lead and mercury overload (and a few other metals that are high but not in danger zone) and it quickly becomes obvious I’m trying to do too much, just like you said under the prayer point. There IS enough time for me to do what HE wants done.

    So, in addition to praying for refocus, I like to go outside. It changes my perspective and enlivens me!

  3. I pick a couple of things that are an ideal must do, and then anything else is bonus! It’s usually the kids on Monday that’s the worst. Dad had a talk with them last night to inform him that he is not going to get a typical Monday report when he gets home (Monday out of the swing of things behavior and attitude, especially for the one who functions best on a strict routine).

  4. I felt like this just today. Likely because there has just been too much going on and I needed a reminder to stop and smell the roses. So while the ba.by slept…I played Super Mario Brothers on the Wii. Oh yes I did! And it was fun 🙂 It helped me smile and then move on with my day.

  5. I ask my husband or call my sister for help when I feel scattered and unproductive. I do the things you mentioned, then I sometimes desperately need their help to prioritize my to do list. Especially when I’m in a fog due to a pregnancy or newborn baby. Or if I’m in a fog for no apparent reason.

  6. Ahhh! This happens often to me as there is always so much to do! I take a deep breath, a short walk, write every little thing I have to do (no matter how little) down on my yellow pad, AND m

    1. AND most important…as I do things throughout the day, I write it down on that yellow pad and cross it off! This helps me feel accomplished and recognize that I actually did cross something off my “to do” list!!!!

  7. Oh, this happens too much…frozen by a jumble of overwhelming responsibilities. What often works for me is asking myself, “What is the most important thing I can do right now? What matters the most?”. It usually ends up being something that brings a smile to or helps someone else. This helps put things in perspective and gets me going again.

  8. I just make myself MOVE and do something. As I start moving and accomplish things, it motivates me to do more. Just do something. Even if you are moving slow, you are still moving.

  9. My favorite post of yours for a while (I won’t say ever, because I’ve enjoyed a lot of them!).

  10. Ugh, yes. This happens way too often around here. When I’m overwhelmed and scattered I try to stick with dishes and laundry. If the kitchen is clean and a load of laundry is going, I can often find the motivation to keep going.

  11. I take the day off. Seriously! Monday was this way for me, so we went outside and spent the day in the sunshine reading, eating, talking, and napping.

    You don’t even have to take the WHOLE day – an hour or two can make a HUGE difference in your attitude.

  12. This is SO me (and I DO have a newborn!). I am a huge list-maker. My older daughter and I often get off to a slow start in the mornings (snuggles and cartoons while the baby sleeps in), but I know if I can accomplish something before lunchtime I feel so much better about my day. And I love crossing things off lists. I’ll even leave it out on the table for the hubby to see when he gets home, to forego the “what did you do all day?!” 🙂

  13. At the end of the day do a “What I DID Today” list. It can be eye-opening and/or sanity saving! Most of the time it’s not that you’re unproductive, it’s just that you were DIFFERENTLY productive than you had PLANNED. And it’s MUCH easier to sleep looking at a list of what you DID than the To Do list that didn’t happen….

    1. LOVE THIS!!

      And this is so important for moms of newborns. It’s amazing how much we do that is never on our “to-do” list — feed baby (a zillion times), burp baby, bathe baby, hold baby, comfort baby, diaper baby, etc…. These things (rightly) occupy most of my day, yet I never write them down and check them off. Maybe I’ll make a new list containing all of them though! Might be good for my psyche. 🙂

      1. It’s even MORE important for moms of toddlers! How many times does the day start with a simple plan (do dishes, clean fridge, go to grocery store) and at the end of the day what you ACTUALLY did was wash the walls, an extra load of laundry, gave the toddler an extra bath, found a NEW hiding place for the peanut butter, and then went to the park to play before you lost your marbles… Not that I’ve ever had to scrub peanut butter of the walls or anything!

        If your WHAT I DID list matches your priorities you’re in EXCELLENT shape

  14. Yep, when the usual routine doesn’t work for a certain day (or afternoon)and I actually have to make decisions about what to do, I tend to fold laundry, pick raspberries, or putter around the house while making a decision about what to do next.

    I also, of course, pray, write it all out, and try to get organized, but what really makes the difference is just getting started with a little job. It’s funny how that works.

    And occasionally I just decide to take a walk with the kids, take time off, etc. Sometimes, when I’ve been too busy, deliberately taking a break is even more effective than doing a task.