Productivity, thou art a fickle mistress.

Some days, I spring out of bed, ready to take on the world. By 10 am I’ve done two loads of laundry, a workout that hurts but I persevere, and I’m 30 pages into my reading for tomorrow’s class. Special relativity, I own you. I feel alive and engaged and bulletproof.

Some days, I growl at my cat and feel accomplished if I put on real pants.

What’s the difference? What makes one day productive and another frustrating? Why is inspiration prevalent at certain times and infuriatingly elusive at others? More than that, how do you press on when you’re just not feeling it? It was different when I went to an office everyday. The act of getting up and going to work kept me on task. I now exist in the unique condition of self-regulation. I have students, classes, appointments, and responsibilities, but much of my time is my own, to budget as I see fit. Apparently, that means that I work a 14-hour day of epic accomplishment followed by a day-long marathon of Rehab Addict. (*Note* Have you seen this show? Makes me want to buy an old house and fix it up, no joke. Nicole Curtis is my spirit animal.)

I’m a scheduler and a list maker (remember my calendar?), but my productivity seems to be so much more about my mood than anything else. I’ve adopted a certain strike-while-the-iron-is-hot mentality; if I’m feeling productive and accomplished, I just keep going. Often long into the night I’ll work on a project because I know that if I leave it alone, I won’t come back to it.

Productivity is the subject of many a scientific study and Drew Skau over at Visual.ly compiled a list of 10 Infographics to Help Your Productivity. The results are pretty interesting, from the ideal time of day to accomplish certain tasks, to foods that boost effectiveness.

Have any secrets of effectiveness to share? Chime in below!

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