It happens, even to the achievers among us. Sometimes, we don’t feel like doing anything at work.
We’re stuck. Frozen, even (and not the Disney kind.)
Oh sure, we can hear that teeny voice in our head saying, “Hey! There’s lots to do! Get busy, slacker!” But we just can’t find the right spark to light up our brain.
If you don’t feel like doing anything at work, try these simple strategies to get unstuck and get in gear now.
What to Do When You Don’t Feel Like Doing Anything at Work: My Four Proven Strategies
1. Stop beating yourself up.
Calling yourself bad names isn’t helping.
Lazy. Slacker. Unmotivated blob. You get the drill. Fill in your creative self-loathing description here: ________________________.
And worrying is a waste, too. It’s your brain’s way of tricking you into thinking that you’re doing something.
But all you’re doing is shifting concerns from one side of your mind to another, like moving weight from one leg to the next while you’re waiting in line at the grocery store. The shifting gives you a perception that you’re moving—but really, you’re still stuck behind the guy with 12 items in the 10-items-and-under line.
The truth is that we all overestimate what we can do in a day. We have superpowers, but we’re not superhuman.
And, as life strategist Tony Robbins says, we drastically underestimate what we can do over a lifetime. It’s all the little steps that count.
So let’s come clean and stop talking smack to the person most accountable for your future success—and that’s you.
2. Track what you DO do.
I heard this lament from a very accomplished and very awesome private coaching client of mine.
“I can’t seem to get anything done.”
Which of course, wasn’t true. I’d been talking to this person for months. I knew that if this person was doing NOTHING she wouldn’t be who she is or where she is.
But she’d trained herself to believe the fairytale that she SHOULD be getting more done (ahem, see strategy #1 above).
So we tried an experiment.
At the end of each day, I asked her to email me three bullet points of what she did that day. For the first few days, I had to nudge her.
But after a while, it started to be the routine right before she left the office.
Suddenly, she discovered that when she wrote things down, she saw that she was doing a lot. SURPRISE!
All of those meetings, Slack conversations, answered emails, new projects—they all added up.
She wasn’t giving herself enough credit for all she was doing. But when she looked at it written down, she could more objectively see that she actually accomplished much more each day than she realized.
For other ways to get more done, easier, go here to read my eight experiments to try to save money, time, and stress.
Finally, my favorite thing to do when you don’t feel like doing anything . . .
3. Get some rest.
Ever think that maybe you’re just plain exhausted? Physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally?
Maybe you just need a nap. A day off. Or even just a few hours.
Think of it this way.
How much energy are you using spinning around worrying about the fact that you don’t feel like doing anything at work?
How much energy are you wasting thinking about things that really don’t matter or things you can’t control (remembering that the three things you can control are spelled out here)?
Maybe your brain or body or both need a break today. Or, you might be ready for a longer block of time off (here are signs to know when.)
Don’t pretend that rest and taking care of yourself is a waste of time. There’s so much great biological and neurological science today about the benefits of rest that you can’t ignore.
Sometimes, we have to slow down to be able to speed up later.
4. Take One Action
Too many of us still believe the myth that we have to feel motivated before taking an action.
FACTI: it’s the other way around.
Action—even imperfect, unsure action—creates motivation.
It’s normal to have periods of time when we don’t want to do anything at work. That’s okay—for a while. Truth is, though, somebody out there needs you in our world of work. We need what you think, say and do. So if you’ve been stuck, try these strategies and get back on the track to bring your superpowers to work.
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