Jumpstart Your Day in 4 Easy Steps
The alarm rang. It was set exactly two hours before the time when you know you would have to rush to get to the office. The sun has been shining down its radiance on you, yet you just couldn’t get yourself to start the day. You press the snooze button, and the cycle begins.
You come in late for the meeting; your projects are way past deadline. There is no appetite even during the office’s pizza party; there is no motivation, at all.
This is the same ill, familiar feeling you harbor when you stare at the blank space and the blinking cursor on your screen. Ideas float at the back of your mind; still, you can't get these thoughts off your head and onto the paper.
Then, guilt sets in: "If only I had gotten out of bed as soon as the clock buzzed." "I could have done this over the weekend!" "I should have started with this project weeks ago when I had plenty of free time." Deep inside, however, you know that these statements of regret are of no use. You cannot bring back the past.
Many times, I have been stuck in this place, caught between a) badly wanting to start and b) not starting despite wanting to start. The good thing in all of these experiences is that I learn from them.
Here’s what I do -- or at least, try to do -- if, and especially when, I am stuck in a terrible position between zero and one.
The quickest remedy for when you find yourself tossing and turning in bed, trying to find enough motivation to start the day, is to GET UP.
Get up, even when you have yet to accomplish your reports. Get up, even when you’re anxious about this afternoon’s meeting with the boss. Get up, even when you do not feel like going anywhere today. Get up, even when you’re broke. Get up, even when you’re mending a broken heart.
Get up, more so when you do not feel like it. Doing something is always better than doing nothing.
When the feeling of being unproductive sets in, it is easy to withdraw to your shell, isolated from the rest of the world, and to cuddle your blanket. You may have fears -- of failure, of rejection, of critics -- but acknowledge that all these scenarios are made up by your imagination. The circumstances you are afraid of have yet to be happen.
It may be good to expect the worse, but it is best to remember they are not real. Whenever I am afraid, I try challenging my beliefs.
Once, I called in sick for work. In the afternoon, my boss had been calling me, and I was afraid of picking up. In my mind, I played scenarios of when my boss would berate me for not reporting in the office that day, or of my boss expressing his disappointment of my apparent unreliability.
But I decided to pick up his call, just one of his many calls. Guess what? He called only to ask if I knew where the staple remover is.
You have managed to get to that meeting you dread; you were able to write at least one sentence in the report you’re supposed to be doing. What now?
First, be cheerful, and celebrate the little success: You’ve made it this far!
Second, start work -- even if you still feel unmotivated. Stop worrying about the little things that may go wrong. Just work. Take it slowly, one small step at a time, if you need to.
Eventually, you will get the hang of it, and you will feel a boost in your mood.
If it helps, fake it at first -- pretend that you are the hard-working employee that you envision yourself to be. You may be amazed at the things you can do and accomplish.
Compete with yourself. If you have written a full sentence ten minutes ago, push yourself to write a whole paragraph next. If you are done with the first easy task of the day, try to start doing the next easy task, and maybe, move on to the moderate tasks.
Ultimately, now that you have managed to get out of bed and start doing, even when you don’t feel like it, know what works from you.
Learn from this experience. Do not allow yourself to return to the dire state of being stuck in a rut. However, know that these are my ways. They may work for you, and they may not. In the end, what matters most is how you fight the internal monster that kills your sunshine. Make it personal. What are your ways?
How about you? How do you start your day?