The Secret to Getting Work Done (When You Don’t Feel Like It)

Ok, that title was a trick. There is no SECRET to getting work done when you don’t feel like it. Well, there kind of is, but you don’t want to hear it. Trust me. The secret is you don’t have to FEEL like working to get work done. I know, annoying isn’t it?

There are so many books, articles, and speeches about how to get motivated — I even wrote a book about it myself — that it’s easy to forget that you don’t actually NEED to be motivated. In fact, if you are waiting to be motivated or inspired before you start work you’re making it harder for yourself. You’re adding another step between you and the things you need to get done — and the action of DOING something is the one thing most likely to make you FEEL like doing more things. To be fair, my book is actually about getting you to do things regardless of how you feel.

But that’s a hard habit to get into, and I still have to remind myself constantly. Every day I wake up and find any excuse I can not to have a shower. I tell myself that I’ll have one later, or that it’s way too cold, or that I don’t even smell that bad anyway. But eventually I force myself to get into the shower and I instantly feel so much better, every single time. It’s the same with work. I can spend all morning thinking of other things to do — usually nothing — when I don’t feel like working. But eventually I just get on with it and pretty soon it doesn’t even matter how I feel or felt.

So whenever you’re sitting around waiting for inspiration or motivation to take hold, try doing something else instead . . . anything else. Write a poem, do a little dance, draw a duck — see what happens. Whatever you do will probably be rubbish, but I’m fairly sure you’ll FEEL more like getting on with things than you did before. Ok, time for that shower.

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