Writer Julia Guerra of Elite Daily was doing research for an article about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and the “winter blues.” These were my responses to her questions.
Why can winter make someone feel so unproductive? Is it the cold weather, the shorter days, the sickness going around, the slump after the holidays?
All of the above, plus SAD like you mention in your next question. There are also other factors: nutritional imbalance from holiday eating, guilt over not creating resolutions, guilt over not sticking to resolutions, sadness or angst about family dynamics over the holidays, worry about not having a strategic plan laid out for the upcoming year…. All of this relates back to our mental and emotional state. Since time management is all about mind management, not having our minds in the most focused shape will make us less productive.
2. Are you more likely to feel unproductive if you experience the winter blues or SAD (please be sure to identify the differences between the two)?
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a medical condition on the depression spectrum. The winter blues is a temporary mental and emotional state. Both conditions can lead to lowered productivity, but SAD is much more permeating and longer-lasting if not addressed.
3. What are some tips/tricks you can offer someone feeling super unproductive during the winter to jumpstart their creativity and focus?
*Get out of bed.
(For someone suffering from SAD or any type of depression, the aforementioned two are huge.)
*Choose one thing to do today that will make you happy or lift your spirits.
*Choose a task to work on for 10 minutes. Set your timer. Work on that task. The feeling of accomplishment from that 10 minutes will motivate you to attempt additional 10-minute rounds.
*Cut back on carbs until later in the day. Carbs tend to make many of us feel sluggish, and that doesn’t help if you’re already feeling down.
*Don’t listen to talk radio or television until after you’ve accomplished a task. The rhetoric drives down productivity.
*Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, which helps keep the brain clear.
*Decide on a reward. Complete a task, then give yourself that reward.
If you’d like to read Julia Guerra’s article on the subject, you can do that here: