Tactics for “I don’t feel like working” days


This week, my usual posts are suspended as I take part in the Your Turn Challenge. As a part of this challenge, those of us who participate are committing to a daily post for seven days, starting today January 19th to January 25. You can read the posts of other participants here. Why am I taking part? Because – I want to get unstuck.

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Yesterday was a very bad day productivity wise. The day started of great. But by about 10 a.m. I was caught right in the middle of my feelings.

I didn’t feel like working. I felt guilty that I was not working because I had so much to do. I felt angry that I had to work and could not take it easy. I tried but failed miserably – to just do and not feel. Then to make myself feel better, I binge ate lots of not-so-good-stuff which made me feel even worse. And the entire day was gone in listening to the craziness of my feelings.

Today, I was thinking about what went wrong yesterday, about how sometime sin the past I turn around such days and actually get my work done. So I decided to list the tactics I have collected from others and which I have used successfully in the past, which have worked for me use to circumvent this uselessness and procrastination caused by my feelings.

To just ignore feelings is not an option for me. Some days I am successful in not listening to my feelings. But some other days, I fall for the same old game. Such days, when my will power is low, and my feelings are not pushing me in the right direction – those are the days these tactics are the most useful.

So here are the tactics I use on good days:

1. Get my normal amount of sleep (8-9 hrs.) and wake up at my normal time (Yesterday I got up much earlier at 4.30 – I am building this new habit, and I got after 7.30 hours of interrupted sleep. Basically I woke up with 50% less will power than I generally do!)

2. A predictable morning routine. Nothing more, nothing less than the usual morning routine (Yesterday, I had to write 3400 words in the morning, to make up for a lack of words / lesser number of words the previous days, plus penalties Doing this exhausted me and my will power, it seems).

3. Set up my daily 5 stars – I have this habit of typing down the 5 most important things I need to do for the day, and when I do each thing, I give myself a star – a way to focus on the most important things to be done. (Yesterday, instead of writing it fresh, I just copied from the day before….Does not work. The act of retyping seems to be very powerful.)

4. When caught in the “I don’t want to do this” feeling loop, I generally tell myself “Just do it for 2 minutes. If you don’t want to do after that, you can quit”. ( I obviously didn’t do this yesterday).

5. After 2 minutes, if I still don’t want to do it, I drink a glass of water, use the bathroom, and try again. Three tries, and if I don’t want to do it, then I can get up. (Nor did I do this yesterday)

6. Get up and then go for a walk and drink water. A walk in the fresh air seems to clear my mind beautifully and air out my bad feelings. After that try again. (And not this either)

7. Even after the walk, and the two minute tactic and a retry of the three times tactic, I can’t bring myself to work, then it is time to call it day and go do something fun.
(Yup, didn’t do this. Instead of letting go and doing something else, something fun, yesterday I wallowed in guilt and self pity and pretended to try to push through, and finally gave up and zombied to click bait on the internet))

8. Drink a lot of water that day. I feel like if I don’t drink enough water on a given day, my will power does not recharge to pull the following day! (Anyone else like this?)

As you can tell, yesterday, if had paid attention, the start of the day would have told me what kind of a day I would have had, and that I would need to use all my tactics.

The unfortunate part is, on the days I need them the most, I seem to forget all about these tactics. So I’m hoping, by writing this post, I have guidelines for the next time I need to use these tactics. And maybe it might help you who are reading this too.

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