I get these days a lot. I don’t feel like getting out of bed. I don’t feel like getting dressed, or doing my hair, or even hopping in the shower. I don’t feel like going running, or working out, or stretching. I don’t feel like cooking, eating, doing the laundry, prepping dinner, prepping my husband’s lunch for the next day, finishing a project, finishing the thank you cards, or finishing anything…
Does any of that sound familiar? Sure, it may not happen every day, or even often – but those days do come. So what are we to do with them? How do we conquer the inertia and get anything accomplished?
Honestly, some days I don’t. While the early pregnancy days of staying in bed all day while hoping just to feel well enough to sit up with throwing up are gone, I still have days that I don’t even wake up until late in the morning. Like almost noon late. With just four to five hours before it’s time for dinner and my husband to arrive home from work, my biggest priorities those days are getting dressed and making dinner. And some days I don’t even get to the dinner part. For those who don’t know, I have Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), and it comes with periods of extreme sickness and exhaustion, even when managed by medication.
What about you? Do you have an autoimmune disease, three kids in diapers, a super-demanding work schedule, a ridiculous college credit load (or nursing school! or law school!) or any other combination of factors that results in days like mine?
Right now this is the 4-step strategy that I use to overcome the exhaustion long enough to get done what really needs doing.
I overcome the inertia and the “I don’t feel like doing this right now” feeling by sheer will-power (and sometimes a side of grumbling, which I don’t recommend.) And as I go along, I get into a rhythm, start enjoying the visible evidence that something is getting done, and suddenly I have the motivation to finish.
2. Choose 3-5 things that must get done on a given day.
Crystal over at MoneySavingMom.com is the inspiration behind this one. She mentions this in her blog, as well as her book Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. I often feel overwhelmed by all that needs to get done. Or I feel like a failure before I’ve even started as I look at the huge “to-do” list and think, “I’m a terrible homemaker. I have no idea how I’m going to get this all done.” But when I decide what three to five things need to be done just today, that takes away the pressure to get it all done. Suddenly it’s just these few things, and I can look back with satisfaction at the day when I’m able to complete them.
3. Break a giant task into smaller steps.
This helps when I’m overwhelmed by a specific task. I look at it and say, “Okay, what is one thing I can do?” And then when that is done, “What is the next thing one thing I can do?” A great example that I’m dealing with right now: Moving and unpacking all of those rooms and boxes! I start with one box, and put the things in it away, one at a time. It’s addicting. Before I know it, I have unpacked six boxes and tidied up an entire area or room. And I refuse to think, “Great, but there are still five more rooms and fifty more boxes to unpack.” Nope, I relish the things I’ve already completed.
4. I evaluate my physical state and determine if I actually need to do nothing and rest.
This has been true occasionally over my adult life when I put too much on my plate, and just really need a down day (or evening.) Giving myself permission to rest, without feeling guilty, is huge. I’ve had to learn it even more so with HG. Knowing how to appropriately balance how much I do in one day is a never-ending learning curve. Some weeks my body is full of energy. Other weeks I just can’t. Knowing the indicators that I’ve overdone it the day before and need to rest today is vital. I can accomplish more in a week by taking that one day off, and then slowly completing what needs doing at a pace my body can tolerate the rest of the week.
How about you? What helps you get things done when you don’t feel like doing anything?