Do you ever get those days when you’re just not feeling it?
You have a ton of stuff to do: a book to write or edit, homework to do and books to read. You sit down behind your desk, ready to tackle that day’s challenges, but nothing really happens. You start zoning out, daydreaming, watching the clock tick or – worst of all – you start watching ridiculous YouTube videos or catching up on Twitter drama. All of which is a complete waste of time.
I know it, you know it, and yet, we can’t make ourselves stop. I know I can’t. To be honest, part of me doesn’t even want to. Part of me wants to crawl into bed, let the day go by while I binge watch my favourite show, and start over the next day.
Does anyone else ever get that feeling?
I think you do.
I think most of us do.
I’m feeling it right now and it sucks. Over the past few months, I’ve gotten better at being productive (that’ll be a blog post for another day), but the usual tricks aren’t working. I’ve put on some music – a combination of Bruno Mars, the Weeknd, and the 1975 for those of you who’re wondering – I’ve opened my writing file and I have plenty of snacks and beverages on hand to fuel me. In short, I’m ready to tackle Draft 9 of my WIP and get some editing done, but then…nothing.
A big, fat nothing.
Some of my close friends have advised me to “wait for inspiration”. I know they mean well and they’re just trying to help, but I don’t believe in “waiting for inspiration”. Never have and never because I think there’s no such thing as waiting for inspiration. Jack London said it best:
“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
I think he’s absolutely right. If you’re going to wait for inspiration to hit you, you’re not going to get much work done. You’re not going to succeed. Sure, inspirational stories and videos can help you get motivated to write or read or do whatever you need to do, but it’s not going to do the work for you. You’ll still have to get yourself into gear and do the thing, you know?
Obviously, if it were that easy, everyone would be productive and get stuff done. But, alas, that’s not the case. In my experience, there are always going to be good days and bad days, no matter who you are.
On good days, you don’t even have to think about doing the thing. You just do it. On bad days, you’ll procrastinate your way out of it. I’m having one of those bad days and the question I keep asking myself is this: how do you turn a bad day into a good day? Is it even possible? Can you go from feeling low on energy and motivation to being productive?
I think it’s possible, but it’s not easy. It seems to require so much brain power most of us don’t even bother to try and turn their day around. And that’s exactly where it goes wrong, I think.
For me, trying is the key.
Try to read one more page. Try to write a hundred words. Try to solve one more maths problem. Put in some effort, no matter how little. Just try and start doing the thing you’re supposed to do because 99% of the time starting a task is actually the hardest part. After that, there’s a good chance you’ll get into a groove and you keep going. And before you know it, you’ll have done the thing and you’ll have been more productive that you thought possible.
And if you don’t succeed?
Then that’s okay, too. Not every day is a good day, but every new day can be a good one.
Trying is the key.
With that message in mind, I tried to write a new blog post today and now here I am. It’s probably not the best thing I’ve ever written – in fact, I know it isn’t – but I tried. I tried to get something written and I succeeded.
That’s not so bad for a bad day, is it?
What about you? How do you deal with bad days?