When You Don’t Feel Like It

“Who says you need to wait until you ‘feel like’ doing something in order to start doing it?” ~Oliver Burkman

I didn’t feel like writing this post. BUT Here it is. Keep reading to find out how I got it done.

The “I don’t feel like it” mood infects us all.

If it is strong enough to take control we may find ourselves in a spiral procrastination: missed deadlines, more pressure, disengaged work. Lots of stress. I’d like to share some thoughts from my research and personal experimentation to combat this thing.

A Question: What technique works for you? Reply to this email and let me know.

Here are five steps I have been taking to get past the “I don’t feel like it” mood:

Step 1. Tune IN to where the feeling is coming from.

Lifehacker and HBR give us a few insights on why we feel the way we do. There are four possible reasons:

  1. Anxiety – anticipating what happens when you actually do the task. There could be a fear of making a mistake or simply not wanting to do what comes after you are done.
  2. Motivation – similar to the shiny object syndrome. You see something else you’d rather be doing. For about three weeks I was lassoed into watching episodes of the ‘Walking Dead.’ Don’t ask me why – stop distracting me… just kidding.
  3. Willpower – straight up gusto for wanting to do something. Typically when a task might be too challenging or too boring your will to get going is reduced.
  4. Poor Time Management – we haven’t been managing our time correctly and this makes the feeling arise.

For me I discovered that my feeling would come from being distracted by other interesting things.

Once you identify your the source of your mood shift, move on to step two.

Step 2. Acknowledge your feeling OUT LOUD and what you want to do about it.

For example, “I know i don’t want to write this blog post right now, I’d rather be thinking about the next season of walking dead that doesn’t come out till September, but this feeling has no control over me and I am going get moving with my work” Something like that.

Like Oliver Burkeman asked in his book, Antidote:

“Physically, nothing is stopping you – you just don’t feel like it…Who says you need to wait until you ‘feel like’ doing something in order to start doing it?” 
Surely we’ve learned that acting on feeling alone is not the the recipe for success. It takes a little more.

Step 3. Check your body

Are you physically tired and simply need to take 20 minutes to yourself? If so, do that. Rest is super important to peak performance.
Are you hydrated? Make sure you drink water. I like to drink a glass of water as part of my pre-work routine – it’s part of the step 5.

Step 4. Apply a strategy for shifting your thinking

Are you too focused on trying to make the result perfect? It might be time to shift to a more preventative strategy. Yea… that’s right. Don’t focus on achievement; instead you should be focused on what you’re preventing by getting things done.

Research shows that preventative mindset actually makes you ready to do the task. So instead of thinking about how your boss will be so impressed by your work, think about how you’ll avoid that annoying “hows that…. thing going?” email.

Step 5. Do a pre-work routine.

James Clear took his cue from baseball, I discovered mine playing basketball. Does sports teach us how to prepare for getting things done?

When I used to play basketball tournaments I would have a very specific routine for warming up my body and mind to play. It didn’t matter how I felt. I was able to trigger the readiness by having this routine in place.

Last thing – change the order as needed. This is just the way I did it. It may work a little differently for you.

http://jamesclear.com/how-to-get-motivated - James Clear 
http://lifehacker.com/what-to-do-when-you-just-dont-feel-like-working-1531571265 - lifehacker 
https://hbr.org/2014/02/how-to-make-yourself-work-when-you-just-dont-want-to - HBR 
http://zenhabits.net/moody/ - zenhabits 
http://www.prolificliving.com/i-dont-feel-like-it-syndrome/ - prolific living 
http://amzn.to/1BYwnW9 - Oliver Burkeman’s Antidote book

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