It’s gorgeous outside. What a perfect time to shoot a round of golf. And the bachelorette party for Aunt Matilda needs to be planned. Hey…that YouTube video on growing Norwegian potatoes looks sorta interesting! In fact, anything other than work looks interesting.
Sound familiar? Have you ever dawdled through days? (Weeks? Months?) Let’s talk about how to fire up the work engine when you’re ensconced in ennui.
We could deal with the deep, systemic issues that are dampening your enthusiasm. Diagnose what ails your spirits and prescribe a long-term cure. Something like tying your work to a higher purpose, or systemizing your processes to reduce overwhelm or booking an appointment for a CT scan—oh, wait, we got distracted again.
Anyway, let’s skip the serious, enduring remedies. Who’s got the energy to tackle profound changes? What we need is something instant. An EpiPen. Jam it in our thigh and, bang, we’re in motion again.
Preparing Your Workday EpiPen
- Find an Energy Buddy —someone who tends to be enthusiastic and, in case of emergency, will push you to follow the usage directions outlined below.
- Grab a sticky-note. Big enough to write a few lines of text but small enough that it won’t cover your computer monitor.
- 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, a consultant I guided through this exercise recently said writing came naturally and was gratifying.
- Write down another business activity that is easy and rewarding. The consultant I just mentioned gravitated toward doling out advice on industry blogs.
- Write down a third activity that attracts you. In this case the consultant proclaimed he likes to build things.
Construct your Workday EpiPen by writing the three activities you chose, 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’re just too… yawn… listless to even make it to Step 1.
Step 1 – You have permission to engage in the first activity on your list 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 – You have permission to spend up to 30 minutes enjoying your second activity, whatever that is. If you’re not back in the work groove when the time expires, continue with Step 3.
Step 3 – Enjoy your third activity 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 task 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 about Norwegian potatoes.
What goads you into motion when you’re lethargic? I’d like to know. Please share your thoughts in the comments box.
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.