Productivity for when you’re mildly depressed

Productivity for when you’re mildly depressed

♪ You got to move slowly ♪ ♪ Take and eat my body like it’s holy ♪ ♪ I’ve been waiting for
you for the whole week ♪ – So it’s Sunday morning and you know you’ve got stuff to do. Whether it’s your side hustle
or homework or work work or just personal maintenance tasks like doing the laundry
or doing your taxes, yeah those are due soon. We’ve got ish to take care of. ♪ My Sunday candy ♪ But there are times when
you just don’t feel like it. No, why? I just wanna stay in bed. My heart can’t go on. I know that I can get a
little mildly depressed every now and then and that’s definitely something I have been struggling with this month. So for anyone out there
who finds themselves in a bit of a funk with
a to-do list a mile long that isn’t gonna cross off itself, here are some productivity
strategies that I use to keep striving even when I’m sad. (upbeat electronic music) Hey, it’s your girl Ahsante, helping you move consciously
and creatively through live. And this is the third part of my Get Better With Me series that I’m doing throughout this year, so make sure to subscribe
so that you get the rest. In this installment, I’m focusing on balancing my
hustle with my mental health. Specially as someone who’s got
places to go, people to see, throw what you will up in my path, but you ain’t stopping me, alright? Let’s get it y’all, we going places. So to start off, I wanna caveat what I
mean by mildly depressed. This video isn’t about
treating depression. I don’t have severe depression, I haven’t been diagnosed with anything, I’m not seeing anyone for anything. I’m not seeing anyone
in general but, anyway. My bouts of mild depression come from feeling like
I’m not doing enough, I’m disappointing myself, what
am I even doing with my life, what is even the point, I
have no control over my time, things are taking longer than they should, my life is going nowhere,
I feel like I’m behind. And it’s completely irrational. My friend Amanda articulated
the feeling really well in a video she made about dealing with anxiety and depression, which I will link in the description. But it feels like a deep personalization. Having a disconnected sense of self and a disconnection from all
the great things around me, all the great people around me, all the work that I’ve done, and getting into a self-hatred
and feeling worthless and like all of my work is for nothing. And there’s no convincing me out of it. My logical mind knows that I’m, of course, not a failure of a human
being and that I have value. But it’s a gut feeling
and negative thought-loops that I know aren’t true
but feel very real. So when I’m feeling like
my work is worthless, it’s particularly difficult to do my work. But then not doing the work
will make me even more depressed that I’m not doing the work and therefore I’m not
living up to my potential, wasting my opportunity. And I am a bit of a workaholic so I tie a lot of my personal
value to my productivity, for better or for worse. I know it’s not completely healthy. It’s about working through it. ‘Cause even if I’m sad, I’ve gotta get up. Like, I do need to get out of bed. (grunts) Really? Yep. Damn it. This video is also inspired by a video that Anomalily did on her channel about productivity tricks that
she uses on her down days. Her channel is great and
fun and also artistic so if you like this channel,
you will definitely like hers. I will link her in the description. But here’s what I do in
order to persuade my brain that everything is fine and it’s time to get to
taking care of business. ♪ Taking care of business ♪ The first step is to get out of bed. It’s super tempting to work in bed but working in bed just
makes me feel more groggy and sitting at my desk really
helps me to focus on my work. Just get into that work mindset. But often I’d be so lethargic that I’ll need to gradually
transition my way out of bed. Oh man, I just wanna
curl up in this warm ball and never do anything again. Well, I can respond to
some comments on my phone while I’m curled up in a ball. It’ll be easier to type
everything out on my computer. Yeah well I can bring
my computer over here where I can be curled up in a ball. Ah, cozy computer time. You really work better
at your desk though. Yeah but I’m so comfy. Yeah but your desk is like two feet away. You’re fully able bodied, you can make it if you put in 1% effort, just get to the desk. It feels so far. Just 1% of effort, I promise. Just get up, you’ll be more able to focus and you’ll feel less drowsy. (grunts) C’mon. I guess. That’s it. Fine. There you go. Look at us, we’re
working, productive, yes. Another thing that gets me
into a better mental space is to just shower, just take the shower. I know it’s the weekend and
technically you don’t have to, and yes, conserving water
is important, alright. Convenient how you’re
bringing that up now. But when I’m going into work, I’m showing up for people
who I don’t wanna disappoint. I make myself presentable. So doing at least that
much self care for myself as I do when I’m
presenting to other people makes the gesture that I’m
taking my own time seriously. (sniffing)
Ew. Even if my mood stinks,
my body doesn’t have to. Showering makes me feel
like this is a real work day and I’ve found that not
feeling physically gross can help me to feel less mentally gross. However, my number one coping mechanism is to plan out my day. Like, my entire day. I break it down into
individual, I’m very type A. I’m a big thinker and
analyzer and overthinker, specially when I’m down, and planning requires no action. So it’s super easy, very
manageable for me to do, and it makes me feel like I’m in control. It also helps me rationalize when I’m feeling completely overwhelmed and there’s no way I
can complete everything, all hope is lost. No, this is how you get
it all done, alright? Here, right down on paper, you’re fine. Now, I windup following
the timing of my to-do list roughly 0% of the time. In college I used to sit down
and plan out my entire week, sometimes two weeks,
down to the half hour. I am type A. And then I’d immediately fall behind, partially because I spent so
much time making the plan, and the plan would be completely obsolete. But that’s not the point,
that’s not the point. The point is not sticking to the plan, it’s getting out of that panicky, gloom-and-doom state of mind. I get all the tasks that
are clogging my head and giving me anxiety out onto paper so that they’re in front
of me, they’re planned out, and they’re less intimidating. It gets out of that state of emotion and into logic and reason. On the flip side, it can
also help me to stop thinking and start doing something, anything. Just get up, get out of my own head, stop thinking about it, stop analyzing, and just decide to take one
small action, any action. Brush your teeth, put your
shoes away, sit up straight, stop thinking about what you
should or shouldn’t be doing, or judging yourself for
things that you haven’t done, or worrying about what the
right or wrong thing to do is. You can change your mind later
if it’s the wrong decision but right now in this moment just pick one small thing and do it. It can be as simple as just making my bed. But going from thinking to acting allows me to take control of myself and realize that I do
have control of myself and to get up. ♪ Get up ♪ ♪ ‘Cause we can’t stop ♪ ♪ Get up ♪ ♪ Got a lot to do ♪ ♪ 24 hours almost gone ♪ Cleaning also makes me feel in control. Because I do have a day job, I do most of personal work on the weekends so I’ve been increasingly
starting my Saturday by doing a little tidying in the morning. I did another video on tidying right here. It’s an eye of the tiger. It helps me to feel organized and therefore in control of my life and like I can positively
affect my life in the moment, which combats that negative self talk. It only takes me 15 minutes
to go through my papers and I can see the positive
effects immediately. It’s an easy win. Being organized helps
me feel more at peace and it gives me a little
sense of accomplishment to keep me going, like I already did something
productive that day. Now, I might be feeling discouraged because I have a really
big, chunky, needy, hefty, hearty, (laughs). I don’t know where I was going with that. A big task in front of me, a big task. It’s like I was describing
a soup or something. A big task can be daunting and I sometimes lack the
confidence in my ability to do the thing at all. But it helps me to realize that the resistance is just to starting. I’m dreading doing this thing because of my natural state of inertia. If my body’s at rest,
I wanna stay at rest. Newton knew my Sunday morning struggle. Instead of saying I need
to finish this script, I say, I’m just gonna work
on this for 30 minutes. Just give it a shot. There’s less pressure and then
I windup working for an hour. Once I’m in the task, specially if it’s for a
project that I created myself, I usually enjoy it. Similarly, it helps me to just do the first thing on my to-do list. Just do one thing. The long to-do list itself
can make me feel bad for just having a long to-do list. It feels like a burden and like I should’ve already
done these things already, which gets back to that
feeling of not doing enough. So I cut it. That list is way too
long, you need to cut it. Out of my long eventually to-do list, today I’ll just call the bank. So I’ll just go through
an abbreviated short list. I’ll just do this one thing at a time. There’s a popular strategy of
doing the hardest thing first, or the most important thing first, so that you get it done. But you can also try doing
the easiest thing first and give yourself a small win. I find that that ego boost is
important in keeping me going. For me, if I work at
something and I don’t finish, it can be easy to feel like a failure, so it’s good to get
something short and easy to kick things off. I specially found that
if I didn’t accomplish much of my to-do list over the weekend, I could feel like I’d lost,
like I’d lost that round, I’d lost the weekend. And I’d be disappointed in myself, which meant starting the
week off feeling bad. So now, instead of focusing on what it seems like I
should be able to get done, I just focus on the one key thing. What is the one thing that you really need in order to win this day? What is the one critical action that’s really gonna move you forward? Regardless of what’s on the
rest of my too-long list, as long as I’ve
accomplished that one thing, I’ve won the day. Let me know in the comments if you have any ways of tricking yourself into being productive when
you’re feeling a little sad. And if you found this video helpful, you should check out the other video I did on self care for down days, which should be popping right around here or in eye of the tiger. If you want a bonus video each month with my personal life lessons, then you should join my Brilliant Beans, the link will be in the description. And if you wanna help
my channel to continue then you can join my community on Patreon. My patrons are all that
and a bag of chips. And special shout out to my
returning patron, Emma L, hey. And shout out to my newest patrons, Sara Rogers and Mirella del Moral, thank you so much for your support. As always, remember to live
spiritedly and think creatively, and I will see you next time.


37 thoughts on “Productivity for when you’re mildly depressed”

  • Cole Patterson says:

    Super helpful series, obvi. ??‍♂️ This thought may not be popular, but it works in my experience. While I may be out of bed, it does not mean that I feel any more motivated or productive. Simply try to stimulate yourself for the day using sensory motivation. Like taking a shower as you said. I feel best when I step outside whatever the weather and feel the world around me. I’m not in my head!

  • PenguinorPanda says:

    That little 'mild depression rant' at the beginning is too real… It is like you're putting dialogue to my brain. Especially with being a few weeks into my final thesis, marking the end of my yeaaaars of education and the prospective of the black hole of adulthood. On the one hand, I want to be done with it, on the other hand, it completely terrifies me.
    Thanks for putting this anxiety into words ??

  • Ever curious: Michelle says:

    I like to make to done lists: a list of all the small things I've already done. That helps me feel better about myself so I can do more things.

  • You have such a beautiful vibe and love your hair! I loved watching this. Entertaining! I just did a video about being sad.

  • ugh. I just spent 2 hrs on the phone with my mum trying to figure out my taxes (after already having tried on my own several days this month)… to get nothing back and turns out I'm not even obligated to do them. Thank you for this video and cheering me up a bit.
    Usually mould is a pretty good motivator to clean the dishes. Or take the trash out.

  • I love ya dang videos. I had major depression in high school but I'm recovered now! I can say that self-discipline coupled with a HEFTY dose of self-love was my '''''cure". I still deal with other shit these days: PTSD dreams and an over active amygdala to name a couple, but I have experimented with new tools since. I can say that limiting my alcohol intake and quitting smoking were HUGe for my self worth. And the thing I've been enjoying most over the past month is MORNING WORKOUTS. I know those two words sound horrible (especially together) but a ten minute HIIT in the morning will have your feel good chemicals on the rise, electrify your brain, soothe your body, and jumpstart your productivity which feels really good. ?

  • Fauler Perfektionist says:

    Ahsante, before I even start watching the video, let me just say that your thumbnail for it looks very nice. You look sad, but the combination of you and your surroundings looks very elegant.

  • Fauler Perfektionist says:

    "The first step is to get out of bed. It's soooooper tempting to work in bed, but working in bed just makes me feel more groggy and sitting at my desk really helps me to focus on my work."
    It's also not a good association to form, working in bed. Lying in bed is supposed to mean relaxing, and losing focus, while working depends on being productive, which means having focus. These are two modes of thought it's best to keep separate to make the most of one's personal efficiency.

  • Emma Charlotte says:

    Coming from a very stressed masters student, this video is so helpful for days when I‘m really just not feeling it, love the video!

  • this is such a great video! i adore your "get better with me" series <3 i find it often helps me get stuff done if i have a buddy. like i'll sit in my sister's room to do my work for example, just to hold myself accountable to someone that i'm doing something.

  • Manish Kumar Mishra says:

    When I have a big task in front of me, I break them into small chunks and I keep first few bits rather less in terms of the amount of work and give myself enough time. This makes it very comfortable for me to start with it. And I don't feel like I have left it incomplete, instead, I feel good about the fact that I am able to work as I planned. And once I do start working, I am able to cover up on the time front as well. One big task or multiple tasks, this works for me.

  • Oh geez this is a timely video… I have a big thing that I have started, but it's long and taking longer than it should, so I don't want to keep working on it. I think I'm going to try the method of "just do this for a short while, just do that first" and see what happens…

  • The Princess and the Scrivener says:

    These are such practical tips. Especially the bed thing. Now that I have a desk, I do a lot more work, and I enjoy it a lot more. Last week I started using an app called Forest, which will grow a tree as long as you don't leave the app. It has been so effective in preventing me from just endlessly scrolling on social media. Cultivating my little digital garden has made me very happy (and yes, I've saved up coins to get sunflowers and baobab trees ^_^). –S

  • My name is Blake Schultz. I don’t know if you can recall but I met with you two years ago at vidcon with my uncle Kevin. I recently I’ve been looking at colleges, I still have a bit to since I’m a sophomore, but I was wondering if you had any advice. Such as what things to get involved at in school etc. Also what was the experience you had at Harvard.

    Thank you for taking time to read this email. Hopefully you get back to me, it would mean a lot.

    Sincerely: Blake Schultz

    Instagram: @therealblakeschultz

    I emailed you but I think you’re email changed

  • Out of My Mind says:

    This is really good for folks who are mildly depressed. Also, be gentle with yourself. People are so much better at being compassionate to others than to themselves. I really appreciate your take on this.

  • Tera Shewchenko says:

    Thank you for this video ? it's good to remember the importance of little steps and you always explain things in a way that makes me feel better.

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