Do you ever have a day when you just don’t feel like working? Well, I’m having one of those right now. Fortunately for me, having my own business and being my own boss, I can very easily walk away from my desk, my email, and my work responsibilities for an hour, a day, or as long as I wish. The repercussions of my choices and actions regarding when and how I work only impact me as I am not accountable to anyone else in my professional capacity.
For many who work in a more traditional environment—in an office, with a boss, with deadlines that others need you to meet—not working when you don’t feel like it is not an option, or at least it is not an option that you can deliberately voice and act upon. So, what can you do and what can you learn from the “I don’t wanna work” feeling?
First, pause to examine what might be bringing on this feeling. It could be any of the following: have you been working too much and you’re feeling overwhelmed? Are you facing a daunting task and you don’t know where to start? Are you pre-occupied with something outside of work? Are you tired? Hungry? Bored? Annoyed? Missing human interaction? The list of possible pulls away from work can be endless.
Next, figure out how to take care of yourself. Even in the busiest times of your workday, if you’re not working at your best, stepping out of your regular routine for even five minutes can feel like an oasis in the desert—a way to refresh a drained mind or body. Here are some examples:
1. You can’t seem to get excited about starting a new project; getting your initial ideas down seems impossible. Take ten minutes to get out of the physical space you are in. Walk to a conference room, a colleague’s office or just take a walk and allow yourself to see and think from a different place.
2. You’re exhausted from a few late nights and not great sleep. All you want to do is go home and nap. If you have a private office and can lock the door, put your head down for ten minutes. Set an alarm on your cell phone and take a catnap. If you don’t have the privacy, get up and stretch, jog in place or get some fresh air.
3. You are dealing with a family concern that has you worried about a loved one instead of concentrating on your work for the day. Lessen your worry. Make a phone call, send an email or get more information that makes you feel better for the moment.
From just the above examples, you can see a pattern. Don’t ignore your thoughts and feelings when they pull you away from work. Notice the energy drain and try to plug it with a boost, a diversion, a change of pace or scenery. Taking time out is often the best solution for regaining your focus and productivity. This is also useful to remember in overwhelming home situations, too.
So, what did I do to get out of my “I don’t wanna work” mode? I took my dog for a walk and got outside. The twenty-minute break and fresh air enhanced my energy and got me thinking creatively again.
What do you need when you don’t want to work and what can you do about it? Let me know your creative ideas. And I would love to hear about situations where you feel like you can’t do a quick fix.