Responding When You Don’t Feel Like Doing Anything

Unless you’re a humanoid machine built for infinite productivity, days where you simply don’t feel like doing much of anything are unavoidable. Whether the snooze button seems inescapably attractive, or you’ve hit a total roadblock mentally, physically and/or emotionally, all of us are subject to low points in whatever our grind may be. The million dollar question: how do we manage those times when our desire to do nothing conflicts with a present demand to do everything? This dynamic is a rock and a hard place to ideally avoid getting stuck in between. Nevertheless, many of us will find ourselves there more often than we like.

In my experience, actively engaging mood and mindset has been instrumental in mitigating times when you simply “don’t feel like it”. Think about a coach giving a halftime speech to a team losing by a significant margin. In the same way coaches are responsible for highlighting everything necessary to overcome any sense of defeat and motivate players to give their all, is the same way we can address instances when we’re not in the mood to do anything. Here are a few practical ways to approach those instances.

1. Focus On Rewards Over Obstacles

A common pitfall when self-motivation escapes us is the tendency to over emphasize the challenges associated with our goals while simultaneously minimizing the rewards of a job well done. The two combined is almost a sure fire way to kill any potential encouragement against retaining couch potato status. It’s very easy to ask “how do I get out of this” when feeling unmotivated and even easier to give yourself a justifiable answer. Instead, try asking the question “How do I get through this?”. Often times this can be answered by switching where you’ve placed emphasis on a task and focusing on the rewards of achieving your goals while minimizing the work involved. This is especially helpful with long-term goals or projects. Give this method a try the next time you find yourself in a motivational lull.

2. Do Something Your Good At

Let’s face it. You’re inclined to do more when you’re happy, and doing something you’re good at is definitely a way to induce happiness. This one is straightforward. Find the thing(s) you’re best at and hop to it. The only caveat… Do only what’s necessary to get you back in the saddle. It’s very easy to get sidetracked by doing what makes you happy, and too much of it could turn into a distraction.

3. Seek Inspiration

In today’s digital age, you can find inspiration almost anywhere with a seemingly infinite pool of options to choose from. From podcasts, to YouTube videos and even documentaries, there’s no shortage of content to spark inspiration and motiviation. Find your medium, look for a person or an example that speaks to you, and take in all of the feels. The success of those who have been where we are now and succeeded constantly serve as a confidence and moral booster.

4. Change Things Up a Little

Sometimes, a new approach or perspective can be enough to get our creative juices flowing and cause that motivational spark to reappear. This is especially true if you’re accustomed to doing the same thing day in and day out. Take a step back, assess what you’re doing (or not doing) and determine if you have flexibility to change individual parts of a process, or change the process itself. If you’re able to create multiple ways to achieve the same result, explore each of them. Remember, there are benefits to both the quickest route to the destination and the scenic route.

5. Clean and Organize

Generally speaking, people feel and operate better when the surrounding environment is sanitary and in order. Personally speaking, even a good shower goes a long way towards an immediate pick-me-up for the short term. Cleaning and organizing your environment is a great way to increase confidence and focus. After all, humans are creatures of organization and symmetry even down to the smallest structures of our very anatomy. Naturally speaking, it makes sense to operate in an environment that best represents who and what we are.

Peaks and valleys are a natural part of life. The best opportunity we have while in them is correctly responding to both. Of course the suggestions above aren’t an exhaustive list as each of us has individual and unique triggers that can push us one way or the other, however, they are a way to help us own our low points when we reach them.


#hardworkeasyliving – Do HWEL for yourself.

Author: DC_EASY

From Rochester, NY to California. Living for today, planning for tomorrow, and appreciating my past from the rearview.

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