You know what I mean. We’re all feeling it in some way these days. It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing your usual work routine or if you’ve got an especially monumental amount of tasks before you. On some days, you just don’t feel like doing anything. *cue Bruno Mars*
But you know what? It’s perfectly normal and it’s not always down to laziness either. I was actually talking about it with one of my colleagues this morning, and we both were feeling the drudgery of having so much work to plow through every day.
Granted, we’re thankful to have our jobs, especially in the current climate. Remote workers too, are usually inherently motivated, otherwise, you wouldn’t last long in this gig.
Still, we’re all only human, and there will be days when getting anything done feels like an insurmountable challenge. Fortunately, there are a few strategies that can help you past that:
- Shift your focus to prevention rather than promotion.
- Screw inspiration and motivation. Routines are where it’s at.
- Use if-then planning to make (and stick to) tough decisions ahead of time.
Say what? Okay, let me explain.
First of all, most of us motivate ourselves to accomplish things because we feel that they will benefit us. For example, we study hard to get high grades or we work hard to earn a decent living. This is what you call a promotion focus.
It can be helpful, but not if you’re putting things off because you’re afraid of screwing things up. If this is the case, turn things around and adopt a prevention focus instead.
Through this approach, you focus on what you will lose if you don’t take action rather than what you gain if you do. Again, for example, think about how your client might fire you if you don’t get work done. Or how you won’t get paid if you don’t put the hours in AND produce output.
Brutal? Maybe. Effective? Heck, yes.
Here’s a bit of real talk. Whenever you don’t “feel” like doing something, there is no real obstacle but yourself. When you don’t feel like working, it’s not like there’s a padlock around your laptop, right? (Unless you haven’t got an Internet connection, of course.)
So, rather than looking for or waiting for inspiration, set up a routine. Train your mind and body to get used to working a certain amount of hours each day, no matter how lazy or uninspired you are.
Once you get used to it, you can rely on your figurative muscle memory to get started. You can bet that it’ll be a lot more reliable than fleeting inspiration.
This is especially useful for tasks that are boring and/or especially tough. Why? Because apart from creating specific actions to take, if-then planning also decides where and when you’ll carry them out.
Here’s an example: If the client still hasn’t mentioned anything about my proposal by 3 PM, I will email them to follow up.
By deciding on what you’re going to do in advance, you’ll be a lot less hesitant to carry things out when the time comes.
Clearly, positive thinking just won’t cut it sometimes. It’s great to have favorite inspirational quotes hanging around, but in most cases, you have to give yourself an extra push.
Or, as a famous sportswear brand likes to say, just do it.