How to Get Something Done When You Don’t Want to do Anything

os buttonYou know it’s a rainy Friday afternoon when each screen of your dual monitor setup exactly mirrors the moment to moment conflict of conscience you’re battling. On the left screen:  the allure of an instant email confirmation from the online store of your choice announcing that you’ve managed to spend today’s still-pending paycheck deposit without the messy hassle of having moved. And on the right screen: the righteous pursuit of diminishing the stack of invoices, bills and other such dull drudgery on your desk by updating QuickBooks in the noble name of making Monday that much less…Monday.

There is only one clear option here and that is: choose neither. When I catch myself like this I know there are only a few things I can and have to do to salvage some production from my depths of my unindustrious mood  (and things without which this blog entry wouldn’t have been possible).

They are:

Move.  Go get a glass of water. Take the trash out. Put one thing in your home or office away. Any of these things require such a small amount of brain power that you’ll actually get a slight recharge from doing them.

Listen. Put some music on. Preferably nothing too lullaby-like or this laziness spirals right into a nap which leads to a drool spot on your collar and a premature trip to the dry cleaner which you can’t afford because you just got fired for SLEEPING AT WORK, YOU IDIOT!  Get something playing with a good beat and wake up.

Decide. Maybe you stand no chance of getting that stack of paper cleared off your desk but there are some lingering emails you could answer or Tweets you’ve been meaning to send out. There is no goal too small to set when you’re stuck in a funk so figure out a few more things you can and will do before you leave and finish your work week with dignity.

Switch. Put the accounting stuff down and shift your focus to something that will hold your attention, like building your social brand.

Talk. Consider making one of the small goals in #4 to pick up the phone and speak with someone. We spend so much time in front of screens that we lose the benefits of real human interaction which gets our brains working and thinking differently.

Think. There’s a reason why you’re stuck and sometimes it’s a result of genuinely having worked too hard. It might not be easy or even realistic for you to leave your office early on a Friday like me but if you’ve overworked yourself into a slump you should honestly evaluate whether you need a break. Take a sick day sometime soon and go do something (or nothing) so you can get the break your body has subliminally been hinting at.

Enjoy. Once you’ve managed to avoid online shopping and put enough effort into a blog post to satisfy your small goal of figuring out how you feel , it’s time to enjoy your weekend! Really, if you managed to decide on anything and you actually accomplished it, reward yourself.

Sometimes the only real success you can attain from being in a funk is getting out of it.

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