6 Helpful Ways to be Productive When You Have Depression

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Productivity and Depression

Anyone with depression can tell you how hard productivity is when you’re fighting this debilitating mental illness. 

Having no motivation to do anything is one of depression’s many honorable qualities.

In order to do anything, you have to fight really – and I mean really – hard to be productive.

When you’re struggling with depression, it might be helpful to talk to an online therapist. I always recommend Online Therapy, because it’s a complete online counseling toolkit, and you can get incredible therapy for an affordable monthly cost.

Some days might come harder than others, and that’s totally okay.

Take every day as it comes, and try your hardest to focus on the here and now.

In the many years of fighting this illness head-on, I’ve discovered these 6 helpful ways to be productive when you have depression. 

But first, here is a Must-Have Depression Checklist PDF!


How you start your morning helps set the tone for the entire day, so try and adjust to a morning routine that works best for you.

This means waking up around the same time every morning, and trying your hardest to get out of bed as soon as you can.

If you allow yourself to stay in bed, you’ll most likely feed into your depression and that’s the last thing you want.

Always focus on self-care as soon as you wake up. 

Drink a big glass of water. Meditate. Workout. Say hi to your pets. Try to make yourself a healthy breakfast.

Your body will thank you, and it will help set up good vibes for the rest of the day.

Related morning post:


After you’ve finished your morning routine, begin doing things you know you enjoy. 

Watch a Disney movie. Play some video games.

Do whatever gives you that little bit of life.

The catch, however, is to give yourself a time limit.

Figure out what works best for you.

I give myself anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour before I start to really focus on being productive.

Even though doing activities you know you enjoy doing is a big accomplishment in itself, try your best to not do these things all day long.

The object is to be productive, so you can reach your goals.


Tell yourself all you have to do is this one task. Just focus on this one task. 

Breaking the task into smaller sections will help. 

Even if your goal is as simple as making yourself three healthy meals today, focus on the here and now.

All you have to focus on right now is that it’s breakfast time. Look no further.

Always be sure that you set realistic goals for yourself, because you don’t want to feel lower if you couldn’t complete it.

But at the same time, don’t sell yourself short.

You’re stronger than you know.

And even if the task takes you all day, it does not matter.

Don’t focus on the logistics of things.

Always keep in mind that you are battling a very debilitating mental illness.

Must-Have Depression Checklist: 10 Essentials to Manage Your Depression


Be kind to yourself, and always remember to take breaks

This makes tasks not seem so daunting and much more manageable.

Remember to get up and move if you’ve been sitting at a desk all day.

Force yourself to continue to drink water throughout the day. Try adding some lemon or lime for extra benefits.

Once again, try to limit the time of your breaks.

Tell yourself, “I have 30 minutes to rest, but then it’s time for me to get back to my to-do list.”


Surviving any day with depression is a huge accomplishment.

You are fighting an incredible war, and each day is a battle itself. 

Understand this. Scream it from your roof if you have to.

Don’t compare your accomplishments to other people’s, because that will get you nowhere.

Focus on the positive steps you made today.

When possible, congratulate others on their accomplishments as well.

And even if all you did today was breathe, acknowledge it.


In knowing that you made these huge accomplishments, reward yourself.

Go get ice cream. Take a hot bath. Go back to bed and watch a movie on Netflix.

Do whatever makes you feel a bit more at peace.

You survived today, and that’s fucking amazing.

And about an hour before you know you’re going to bed, prepare yourself by grabbing all your bedtime essentials.

Bring self-care with you, always.

Female at desk with planner propped on knees. Text says how to be productive when you have depression

Being Productive with Depression

Be depressed and trying to be productive is no small feat.

The National Institute of Mental Health says that depression affects how you think, feel, and handle daily activities, such as eating, sleeping, and working. 

But with the proper tools and mindset, you can increase your levels of productivity.

You can do this! You rock!

What are some ways you practice productivity when you have depression?

More on productivity and depression:

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Tips for Productivity and Depression