Bored Employee In Video Conference Training Meeting
Cover Image © Andrey_Popov

How to Work When You Just Don’t Feel Like It

Have you ever had to grind through a shift working your day job, or on a personal project, and you feel like EVERY… SINGLE… AGONIZING… Second? Good. You’re human. Pushing myself to blog over the years has taught me about “getting work out”, not “waiting to be inspired”, and other Jedi mind tricks. Thought I’d share.

Some of this may honestly be viewed as TERRIBLE advice. And I welcome that! I am just telling you what works for me and gets my butt in front of a keyboard each day. The purpose of this post isn’t to be super optimistic and motivate you — it really is to tell you what works for getting me to move and produce when I don’t want to, but I HAVE to.

And no, please don’t take this as a low-key admission that I’m tired of blogging. I really am not. But I do feel myself pushing harder on some days than others, and I think the perspectives I’ve picked up on “producing regardless” on days like that can be applied across fields no matter what you do (or even if you’re currently a student).

Oh, and at the end of everything – I point out the somewhat ironic payoff to putting yourself through this.

That said, let’s jump in!

Accept That the Work Isn’t Going Away

I have this little mantra when it comes to maintaining a blog that I like to tell myself when it’s time to put up or shut up, focus, and write: The content isn’t going to write itself.

There is always a need for me to take the time and care to organize my thoughts and regurgitate it all out on the screen for my friends and others to read, because if I don’t — nothing gets there. The site dies on the vine. That is an unshakable law of the universe.

Nothing materializes without my effort, so – in essence – the need for that work never goes away.

Busy female worker, young African American staff is hard working with a lot of stack of documents and paperwork on desk, overload worked tirelessly for the job deadline in business office workspace.

Take that and apply that to the book you have to read, the report you have to write, the analysis you have due to your stakeholders, or the workout you have to put in at the gym. Parents know this to be true if they’re raising a baby or a non-potty-trained toddler. “That shit (literally) isn’t going anywhere,” so get up and do something about it… Because you have to.

You Are a Single Point of YOUR Failure

This one is closely tied to the first point, but worth driving home: You have to accept that no one is responsible for your failures on YOUR work, besides you, if you don’t produce.

Please note that last point. I am not saying that someone can’t screw up your portion of a project, or your boss can’t have it out for you — that can very well happen. And it legitimately does happen to a lot of people each day.

But for those of you who don’t actually take the time and concern to actually produce… something?!

That is ENTIRELY on YOU.

If you don’t want to fail yourself (because you can’t blame anyone else), at a minimum – you have to produce.

Getting The Work “Out” is Easier Than Not

I am not a writer. But, as a blogger – I can 100% tell you that not doing this hurts some part of me: If you don’t put “you” out there, you hurt yourself the most.

Hear me out about this. My brain is ALWAYS going. If I don’t get my thoughts out in some manner like this, I literally won’t be able to sleep most nights because I’ll just run the thoughts through my mind over and over.

I think that is a little true with whatever you’re doing. If you don’t put a bit of yourself out there for the world, even if it’s in the form of doing something you REALLY don’t feel like doing – all that you’re doing is bottling up bad vibes for yourself. You are wasting time and wasting away in some sense.

And if you hate your situation that badly and have the latitude to quit, do that – and then focus on finding something that lets you put yourself out there in work that you find more enjoyable.

(Yes. This is philosophical.)

You Won’t Always Be Inspired

This one is at the crux of this entire post: Whoever tells you you’ll always love every day of “blah blah blah” is full of it. You have to accept that some days you will genuinely just want to “Not” (if you’ve ever felt this – you know what I mean here).

Regardless of how much you love a thing. Regardless of how much energy you have. You may just honestly want to do everything else in the world except for THAT thing. But… I am sad to report… If you’re a rank and file member of society like most of us, you may not always have the luxury of doing “something else”.

Sometimes you just have to work.

Bored business woman dreaming about holiday in office. Overwork concept

I can’t tell others to write my blog for me. I am a one-man shop in most instances. That said, even if I would really “rather not” on a given day – I know that I HAVE TO if I want to build a habit of consistency.

Focus On the End Result

Sometimes you just have to look ahead. You have to tell yourself: This is in the way of something else I’d rather do without worrying about this.

A great example — it’s no secret that I LOVE Anime. I spend a lot of my free time watching it (probably more than I should). So, I will intentionally schedule my Anime-viewing time AFTER my obligations for a day.

It is SHOCKING how motivating that can be for me to get the other things out of the way.

What is your Anime?

Work in Spurts if You Have the Time

Other days you just have to do one thing: Slog along with the slog.

I don’t know the true definition of the word “slog” or even if it’s a real word, but I internalize the definition of the word as “slow progress” or “unenjoyable progress”. Key in both of those definitions is the word “progress”.

Whether that progress is slow or unenjoyable — it’s still progression toward producing “a thing”.

Sometimes the resistance you’re feeling against whatever it is that you HAVE to do will be SOOOOOO strong that you just have no choice other than to slog through it. Accept that and embrace the slog. Slog your temper tantrum having-self right along with it!

Do those taxes! Clean that house! Attend that dance recital! But whatever you’re doing, once you’re done with the slog because you’ve taken your time and slowly moved in spurts here and there toward the finish line — you’ll be done!

This one isn’t always an option, but on days where you actually have time – this might be your default go-to.

Make Promises You Don’t Want to Break

Lastly (and I know this one will get mixed reviews), I would say this: Sometimes you have to promise things to guilt yourself into working your crap out.

Case in point, I personally feel REALLY guilty if I promise friends that I’ll be somewhere – and then don’t show up. I don’t like having that done to me, and I don’t want to become known as “the guy who does that to others”. I like to keep my word and I care about my friends.

So… I don’t want to lie to them. I will definitely tell them, “Let me call you back after I finish this blog post,” or “I’ll meet you there in 2-hours — I need to finish this post,” if that gets me over the hump.

And this method differs from the one about the end result because of the stakes. I don’t care if I end up missing my Anime time at the end of the day. That won’t make me feel guilty. Having my friends point out to me that I flaked… that hurts.

Asian father and his son making a pinkie promise on nature background

What is that for you? Is that a promise to your kids, spouse, or significant other? Is that promising things to an organization you volunteer with? Maybe it involves your faith? Is that promising a trip to the park to your dog?

Whatever you care about and can guilt you into a sense of “Do this thing at any cost” — learn to use it as a weapon against your most unproductive baser instincts!

Ultimately, the funniest thing about all of this is that if you do it long enough for any given task that you may not always enjoy – you learn to autopilot your way through the sucky parts. You learn to “produce regardless” as a sort of reflexive action. That is the reward in the end: By doing things that you don’t feel like doing, you learn to do them regardless of how you feel.

I am not saying that is the healthiest thing in life, but I am saying that that’s an extremely useful skill to learn.

You will not always enjoy what you’re doing. Even if you love it. Again, not to pick on them, but look at parents with babies and toddlers — they may not always enjoy parenting, but they love their kids (in most cases). So, they do what they have to do. They learn to “parent regardless”, and that’s a powerful lesson that we can all take and apply to our lives… Whether it’s blogging, studying, doing chores, going to work, adulting, or whatever.

Peace, and thanks for reading.

The soundtrack for this post provided by…

Image Credits:
– Cover Image © Andrey_Popov (Shutterstock)
– Body Image 1 © tigercat_lpg (Shutterstock)

– Body Image 2 © DarkBird (Shutterstock)
– Body Image 3 © ANURAK PONGPATIMET (Shutterstock)

Sharing is Caring
Created by Alex Volkov