Is there someone in your life who’s annoyingly productive? They seem to get things done all day, every day, and never complain? Well, I’d like you to meet my handsome (and annoyingly productive) husband, Eli.
Yes, I said “annoyingly productive” because while I love him the most, his machine-like work ethic sometimes makes me feel like total crap.
I have big dreams and set out to accomplish A LOT each week, but sometimes the smallest tasks feel impossible to tackle. I’m just not in the mood to write that email or do that research, so I put it off.
But Eli never does this. I’m not kidding. It’s like he’s incapable of procrastinating. And while I admire this alien-like quality, I mostly feel envious of it. In all fairness, he’d tell you that sometimes he doesn’t feel like it either but I’ve literally never seen this happen in the 7 years we’ve being together, so I’m gonna continue to have us all gang up on him about it ?
Be honest: do YOU ever just not feel like it? If so, I’m clearly right there with you!
When it comes to your own procrastination, tell me: what’s your resistance method of choice? Do you keep glancing over at your list hoping that your tasks will magically disappear? OR, my personal fave, do you do the Calendar Cha Cha Slide where you keep moving your tasks around to different days – “sliiide to the left… sliiiiide to the right…” hoping it’ll all eventually get done?
Here’s the thing. I have plenty of tips on how to increase productivity and be more intentional about navigating your workload. Hint: it’s all about managing your priorities and your attention span, less so your time. So stay tuned for more on that in a future post…
But today, I’m writing you a giant permission slip to just. not. feel. like. it. sometimes!
Because several studies show that being kind to yourself (i.e, self-compassion when you just don’t feel like it) ultimately expedites motivation and fuels positive change. In fact, a 2016 study by Jia Wei Zhang and Serena Chen at Berkeley found that focusing on self-compassion “spurs positive adjustment in the face of regrets.”
In other words, beating yourself up about not feeling like it only makes your brain resist your tasks harder and delays your motivation to get it done. Instead, the best thing you can do when you just don’t feel like it (and you’re annoyed with yourself for not feeling like it) is to accept that you don’t feel like it.
Simple, I know.
Take this blog post for example. I had a million things on my plate last week and this blog post kept getting the “slide to the right” treatment. I just didn’t feel like it. So, I surrendered to not feeling like it. I let myself not be in the mood and I moved on with my week. And then, on Monday night around 7pm as I was pouring myself a glass of wine, I felt a jolt of inspiration. A line from the post flashed across my mind. So I quickly opened up a blank doc and wrote it down: Do you ever just not feel like it?
And then the post started to write itself. Of course it required some editing on Tuesday, but that task I was avoiding all week – that resistance to coming up with something meaningful to write about – and the irritation I felt with myself for not getting it done yet – melted away.
With some time and space away from it, I felt my creativity resurface and I experienced a renewed sense of energy – an authentic motivation to put my fingers on the keys and start typing this baby away.
We think we need to put more pressure on ourselves to get things done, when the key is to release the pressure and surrender to the present moment – trusting that if you do, the motivation will come. It’s a vulnerable act – surrendering and trusting. Because your survival instinct is to “make it happen” and to force yourself to push through. But it’s ultimately a much more peaceful and productive way to live:
- Honoring your present moment experience
- Letting yourself feel how you feel
- Relieving yourself of the tasks that feel impossible to tackle right now
- Allowing your own creativity some room to breathe
- Letting that creativity and motivation resurface and flow through you organically
Think about it:
- Are you willing to surrender to not feeling like it once in a while?
- What’s one thing you can let yourself not feel like it about right now?
And let me be clear, I’m not saying: “be lazy, your tasks don’t matter, just sit on the couch with chips and Netflix all day” (although, sometimes that’s ok too!). I’m saying, you know you work hard. You know it’s all gonna get done. In those moments of not feeling like it, in those moments of stress and resistance, do yourself a kindness and give it some breathing room. Take the stress and pressure off of it – and off of yourself.
How you talk to yourself is everything. And if you’re in that constant cycle of I just don’t feel like it → why don’t I feel like it? → I need to get this done → Ugh, why can’t I just get this done!? – you’ll burn too much of your beautiful energy away.
Save that energy. Protect it and be kind to it. We need it and we’re counting on you to take good care of it.
You got this
All my love,
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