Over the past few weeks I’ve suffered from a serious case of writers block. It wasn’t the variety of writer’s block that prevented me from writing entirely but it prevented me from writing really good quality posts. I’ve already indicated I don’t want to post up sub-standard posts and this is exactly the position I found myself in. So the net result was that I wasn’t writing very much. I’m still suffering from this writers block but it’s slowly starting to lift.
Along with the writer’s block I was completely mentally drained and lacking anything that resembled motivation. We all go through these periods of time where we find ourselves just slogging through the day to day of our lives in a bit of a haze. This was August for me. I have managed to eke out a little more get up and go out of myself but I’m not at the state I was at just after our honeymoon. I’m still a bit drained and I could use a vacation (which unfortunately isn’t going to happen just now). Unfortunately this lack of motivation translated into my personal finances as well; I didn’t write down all of my spending at the end of the day but just collected recpits which means the accuracy has gone down a bit.
Thankfully I did start pulling myself out of this funk, I recognized the fact that I was falling into a rut where I really didn’t want to be. I saw things that were just left unattended and not looked at for days where I would have simply just done them. So what did I do? Here are a few things I did:
- Came up with a 101 list
- Blocked my creative time at the office into chunks
- Kept my attitude in check
- Looked back at what my goals were
- Change up the routine
What the Hell is a 101 list?
Well a few years back I read a book on procrastination and in that book there was a great suggestion on keeping yourself busy, Come up with a list of 101 things that you need to do. The list is supposed to contain both the every day mundane items such as wash the dishes as well as those larger long term goals like visit Japan. I’ve modified this exercise slightly in that I keep it as a running list and I don’t stop at 101. When I’ve completed a task I cross it off the list and as things come up I keep adding them to the list. I’ve been keeping this list on my work laptop so I can access it most of the time and I’ve been trying to keep it update daily.
Blocking Creative time at the OfficeI’m not a creative person in the artistic sense, at least not at the office. But that doesn’t mean that my work isn’t creative. I come up with proposals and architectures to problems which is equally mentally draining in my opinion. So I’ve started blocking time to work on these items, there’s no point in attempting to work on something important with small tasks jumping in and disrupting you. This way I’ve tried to remove the stress of unfinished work.
Keeping your Attitude in Check
This is something that is always important, regardless of your current productivity levels and mood. There will be times when you aren’t really up for something or you don’t agree with what needs to be done. You have to keep your attitude in check or those items will weigh heavily on you stressing you out. Stress is not a good factor when you’re busy and mentally drained. Keeping your attitude in check and yourself upbeat will only help the situation.
Maintained Focus on Goals
Because I’ve been mentally drained and suffering from writers block I didn’t want to stop working on the things that have kept me going (especially on this site). If you’ve been coming here I’ve added a few things and made some minor modifications to the overall site. This isn’t the best use of my time but they are things that I’ve wanted to do for a while. Looking back at the things I wanted to accomplish reminds me what I wanted to do and why I wanted to do those things. It’s a form of motiviating myself. For example when I saw the pile of recipts in my wallet instead of waiting till I got home to put them into my tracking sheet I simply did it on the subway to work. This isn’t the time I normally did something like this but I knew that the evenings weren’t good for me lately.
Change up the Routine
I find that when I’m starting to get into a rut its because I’m doing the same things over and over and over again without any real reason why. Noticing these small routines that keeping me in the rut is a very easy thing that I can do to get out of the funk. If you take the same route to work each day, take a different one. If you eat the same meals at lunch change it up. Hell, take a day off even! Just changing things up can give you that extra perspective that you need.
Overall getting into a funk happens to all of us and we all know our ways out of them. Every person is different and every person will react differently to it. If you fall into a rut you have to recognize it for what it is and do the little things that will slowly get you out of if. You didn’t fall into the rut all at once and chances are you won’t fall back out at once either, the little things matter.