Most of the time, you and your colleagues at your consulting firm are hard-working, nose-to-the-grindstone types. But today… well, today it’s gorgeous outside.
Today you’d rather play golf, or watch golf videos on YouTube, or shop for golf gear. Hey… that time-lapse video on growing fescue looks sorta interesting! In fact, anything other than work looks interesting.
Sound familiar? Every person in your consulting firm has dawdled through days here and there. Let’s talk about how to fire up the work engine when you’re ensconced in ennui.
You could deal with the deep, systemic issues that are dampening your enthusiasm. Diagnose what ails your spirits and prescribe a long-term cure. Morale across your firm will lift when you connect your consulting work to a higher purpose, systemize your processes to reduce overwhelm or install a multi-player golf-simulation app—oh, wait, we got distracted again.
Anyway, let’s skip the serious, enduring remedies. When you’re in procrastination mode you don’t have the energy to tackle profound changes.
What you need is something instant. A motivation-filled EpiPen. Jam it in your thigh and, bang, you’re in motion again.
Preparing Your Workday EpiPen
- Find an Energy Buddy. Select someone who tends to be enthusiastic and, in case of emergency, will push you to follow the usage directions outlined below. Ideally your energy buddy is outside your firm, so you’re not distracting a colleague.
- Grab a Sticky-Note. Big enough to write a few lines of text but small enough that it won’t cover your computer monitor.
- Note Easy Task #1. Write down a single, business activity that is absolutely easy and rewarding for you. It doesn’t have to be productive; just enjoyable. For example, one of our clients loves noodling over AI apps that could streamline his consulting firm’s workflow.
- Note Easy Task #2. Write down another business activity that is easy and rewarding. The AI noodler also enjoys posting insights on LinkedIn.
- Note Easy Task #3. Write down a third activity that attracts you. In this case the consultant likes reading the latest texts by luminaries in his consulting firm’s field of expertise.
Construct your Workday EpiPen by writing the three easy tasks you noted, followed by your Energy Buddy’s phone number. You’ll have something like the illustration below, which you’ll then stick on the edge of your monitor.
Directions for Using Your Workday EpiPen
Step 0 – Only if necessary, call your Energy Buddy and share your predicament. You’ll know you need to make this call if you’ve eaten a box of chocolate and you’re still just too… yawn… listless to even make it to Step 1.
Step 1 – Give yourself permission to engage in your first easy task for 30 minutes. Set a timer and have fun. After half an hour, are you in motion? Feeling energized enough to get moving on some “real” work? If not, move on to Step 2.
Step 2 – Allow yourself to spend up to 30 minutes enjoying your second easy task, whatever that is. If you’re not back in the work groove when the time expires, continue with Step 3.
Step 3 – Dive into your third easy task for up to 30 minutes. By this time, you’ve spent 90 minutes in action and working. Chances are you’ll be ready to turn to the most important item on your to-do list. But if you’re not, proceed to Step 4.
Step 4 – Take your Energy Buddy out for a beer. Look, if you’re intent on procrastinating, at least have fun with it. Why sit around in your office if you’re unproductive anyway? There’s always tomorrow to learn how to grow your own, backyard putting green.
What goads you into motion when you’re lethargic?
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.
I go exercise in some way, outside tends to motivate me more than the bike or tread inside when I’m on the “anything but work” mode but moving my body tends to ley my mind move too and ideas start to germinate. Maybe old school but it works for me!
That’s a good approach, Bill. Even if your work juices don’t start flowing, you’re healthier from the exercise! With absolutely no knowledge or research on this, I’d guess there’s exercise that energizes a person and exercise that exhausts a person. Or maybe, an amount that leaves you buzzing to do more versus an amount that leaves you too tired to think. Either way, getting your body is a smart move.
Thanks for jumping into the conversation, Bill!
At the top of my to do list is this sentence:
Pick a project and do it.
All I have to do is get started. The rest is easy.
Perfect, Jay. Overcoming the inertia of inaction is the hard part. As you’ve pointed out, once you’re in motion on any project, it’s easier to stay in motion and get more done.
Thanks for the smart thinking, Jay!
Is it Ironic that I’m reading this while procrastinating? I’m with Ryan and like to get some exercise in (I personally go outside to get to the inside of the gym)
Thank you, I’ll try this method out next day I wake up feeling like this!
Simon, according to the Intergalactic Consulting Conglomeration, there’s a special, procrastination exemption for reading my articles. Seriously, you’re in the same camp as Bill Ryan and others in finding that a bit of physical movement can prime the motivation pump.
I appreciate your joining the conversation, Simon!
David how do you do this?
On the first day in months when I’m stuck in a procrastination rut, getting no work in and no work out, you drop this little gem into my inbox!
Love the three simple EpiPen tasks – mine are
1. Research one target future customer / person of interest
2. Update my own sales and marketing plan
3. Read a chapter of your rather good book!
Great EpiPen plan, Ben! (Don’t forget to identify a buddy you can call, too.) The fact is, you are in motion–you read an article that’s useful for your practice and you took steps to apply it to yourself. Very well done.
Thank you for the positive feedback, Ben, and for sharing your excellent example, which will help many other readers too. Please let me know how your EpiPen works for you.
If I’m procrastinating on something, it helps to at least start working on it. I find that I’m momentum driven. It’s hard for me to start something. Once started, it’s hard for me to stop. If I do stop, it’s hard to start up again 🙂
Momentum (or inertia) is powerful, Praveen. That’s part of why habits and rituals can be so effective. A habit carries its own momentum and can carry you over the dips in motivation.
I’m glad you provided your perspective, Praveen–it adds a lot to the discussion.