I’m sure that this happens to everyone from time to time, especially with all the distractions of the holidays. You just don’t feel like working. Whatever it is that you need to do today simply does not hold any interest for you. You’re not sick and there is no real reason. You are just tired and tired of it all. Everything else and anything else sounds like such a better idea.
As recruiters, many of us are feeling pretty bruised right now, having survived the worst recession in my lifetime. Business is beginning to pick up again but we are so tired from the fight. It is too easy to get distracted.
Having a day where you stay in you PJ’s ‘til noon can actually feel refreshing, once in a while. But what if this “funk” takes control of you more frequently? What do you do when these feelings keep you from being productive for several days or more? We all have low energy days and days when you are totally unmotivated. What do you do when you just have to be productive now and don’t have the luxury of taking a “mental” day off?
I read a blog post titled “Feeling Lazy? 6 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Working” by Jessica Stillman. The timing of this was perfect because, lately, I have been having a string of impractical days, where I have so much to do and I just don’t feel like doing any of it. Normally, I just power through these days, but sometimes, I need a gimmick to get me motivated and to stay focused.
Jessica Stillman suggests:
* Use Your Competitive Spirit.
* Tell Yourself “I’m Just Going To…”
* Set a Timer (and Try to Beat It).
* Listen to Music.
* Be Accountable to Other People.
* Give Yourself Rewards.
The competitive spirit and the set a timer ideas can both work. Give me someone to compete against and I’ll find energy that I never knew I had. No one likes to lose. I can even compete with myself, such as doing something better or faster today than I did it before. You know that you want to fill that job before someone else does. Use that. Finding ways to turn work into a competition gives you a goal and a sense of accomplishment when you “win”.
1) Create a challenge for yourself.
The just do it idea can work. Sometimes the problem with sluggish days is the inability to get started. Such as making marketing calls; that phone can seem pretty heavy. Once you do start and push past that block, your oomph returns and you can get it done. Jessica suggests in her blog to “start ridiculously small”, maybe committing to just 5 minutes. “Usually, you’ll find that initial resistance vanishes once you get going.” I find that writing or re-reading my to-do list and then setting my priorities for the day helps me to accomplish something every day. Taking that one step further may be to breakdown the tasks of my top priority and then do something easy and quick to get started.
2) Take a small task and finish it.
I love the music idea. I’m sure there must be studies promoting the merits of music in the workplace. There must be a reason why there is elevator music in elevators. Soft music tends to help me release my anxiety and feel relaxed and calm. Talk radio gets my brain functioning because I have to listen to form my opinions. Peppier music tends to make me want to move about.
3) Select the music that fits your day’s tasks and turn it up!
Aren’t we all accountable to other people? Our boss or our client wants something done and this may be the very thing that we are procrastinating about. Accountability on a project basis can be as simple as telling someone that you are going to do something because then you will feel an obligation to complete it. No one wants to look bad. If you work alone or independently, accountability can be found by forming a mastermind group, a select few people with similar goals who meet regularly by phone or face-to-face to discuss common interests.
You can be accountable to yourself, too, which takes us right into the idea of rewards. Of course, I love the rewards idea. Don’t we all love gifts and bonuses? Motivate yourself by promising yourself a reward upon an accomplishment. It doesn’t have to be big – It can be as simple as cookies or an extra 10 minutes at lunch to read a book.
4) Choose something that you want! What will you have to do to get it?
So, if you don’t mind, I am going to get back to work now. Maybe, I have been procrastinating all morning and chose to write this article as a diversion for work that I have yet to complete. After writing all about creating incentives for motivation, now I HAVE TO accomplish something. I guess this falls under accountability....