There are days when you are just not feeling it. It’s not that you are exhausted or tired. (Although being productive when you are tired is definitely a challenge.) It’s just that you are not in the mood to do the important task that’s not in front of you.
You try to procrastinate and distract yourself with other things. You try to do anything but whatever this thing is that you are resisting.
I’m with you. I totally have these moments too. Sometimes the answer is to just rest. Don’t worry about accomplishing the task you’re avoiding. Let it wait.
On the other hand, it’s useful to find a way to do the work anyway regardless of how we’re feeling about it. The thing is if you only do your important work when you feel like it, you might not ever get it done. So, how do you learn to do something even if, or especially if you don’t feel like it?
The Mistaken Expectation
Many people have an expectation that you should be in the mood to do something. You should be excited, rested, and focused. And when you get down to working on whatever it is, it should be easy, fun, and comfortable every time.
The problem with these expectations is that you are more likely to run away from the things that feel hard, overwhelming, or uncomfortable. So when you are not in the mood or just not feeling it, you’ll avoid it like the plaque and find other things to occupy your time. There is nothing wrong with this. It can lead to creating a life you’re not happy or completely satisfied by.
Most of the time when you do the thing you don’t want to do it is uncomfortable or difficult. Mainly this stems from not being in the mood in the first place. You shouldn’t shy away from hard things. Embrace them. Usually doing something that you find hard will ultimately be more meaningful for you.
Many of our most meaningful experiences are difficult. Such as running a marathon, giving birth to a child, just creating something important. These are not easy experiences, and yet they are more meaningful because they are not easy. Would you rob yourself of meaningful experiences by shying away from the difficulty?
How to Do Hard Things When You’re Not Feeling It
For me, I try to notice when I have an expectation to be in the mood or that the thing I don’t want to do is to be easy, fun, and/or comfortable. By noticing the expectation I now have a choice. A choice to run away or avoid the task or I can decide to not only be “fine” with doing something that could be uncomfortable when I’m not in the mood, but to embrace it.
I can choose to do a task that could be challenging, uncomfortable, or uncertain. Basically, it boils down to two things:
- Notice the expectation or acknowledge that you aren’t feeling it.
- Open yourself up to the meaningful experience of that work, despite it’s difficulty, your lack of focus or despite not feeling it.
You’ll be amazed by what happens when you do something even when you’re not feeling it.