This is really more of a thinking-out-loud post than anything else, so just to warn you in advance, don't expect a literary masterpiece. June so far has been a very slow month for me, I'm suddenly finding a big a drop in the motivation levels that were so high in previous months. Something needs to be done.

What's Happening

So far this month I feel as though I've gotten very little done, and I really don't like that. I haven't posted nearly as frequently on this blog as I'd like to, or indeed as frequently as I have done in past months, and in addition I don't feel like I've been getting a lot of actual work done.

The honeymoon period is definitely over. The novelty of working at home has now worn off, as has the feeling of 'freedom'. I'm not being productive because I'm not enjoying myself as much, and I'm not enjoying myself as much because I'm not being productive. Catch 22.

I imagine that this is the 'slowdown' or 'burnout' that many freelancers and small business owners speak of, though I won't be able to say for certain until I'm able to look back in 6 months time and analyse it fully.

The Reasons

I've been trying to pinpoint some reasons as to what's holding back my productivity, here's what I've come up with so far:

  • Twitter - too much of a good thing.
  • Playing various TV series "in the background" - one of those things that you think doesn't distract you, but secretly does.
  • Lack of a written to-do list - I moved my to do list to HighRise about 2 months ago, the result is that I look at it a lot less.
  • Temperature - the direct afternoon sun these days makes my office pretty unbearable, which is a real motivation killer.
  • Other distractions - RSS, email, instant messaging, phonecalls, etc

What's Next

I could sit here and continue to complain about all these things - but that wouldn't get me very far at all, so it's time to do something different. Tomorrow I'm going to avoid/eliminate all of the above productivity-killers completely. This isn't a long-term solution, it's a test, I want to see how much of a difference it makes to my work by not having any of those things getting in the way.

I'm not going to do anything stupid like tracking every minute of my day, because I think that people who do that really are going one step too far. There comes a point (dear lifehacker readers), where 'managing your productivity' becomes the very source of your lack of productivity. There was a great quote in .NET Magazine a couple of months back that said "blogging about productivity is like drinking about alcoholism". So in the interest of that, I'm really not going to labour this subject too much.

The key issue really is how I feel about my work, not how I feel about my clock.

What About You?

What do you do when you're feeling the slowdown/burnout effect?