We’ve all been there — low energy times when you’re having trouble making progress on anything. Maybe it’s the mid-afternoon slump. Maybe it’s a few days of feeling blah after an intense time at work or home.
If you can just take the time off and be gentle to yourself, great. But if that’s not going to happen, here’s another idea. If you can’t work, plan. Using low-energy time to think about what Future You could do can turn what might feel like wasted time into something more fruitful.
This realization is how Friday became my weekly planning day (see Tranquility by Tuesday Rule #2: Plan on Fridays). Many of us who work a Monday to Friday week are pretty much sliding into the weekend by Friday. It can be hard to start anything new, particularly after lunch. But I realized that I might be willing to think about what Future Me should be doing. It takes less effort to write “revise book proposal” on a planner page than it does to actually, you know, revise that book proposal. So I began creating the next week’s plans on Friday, trusting that Monday Morning Me would have more vim and vigor for these things than whatever I’d morphed into by Friday afternoon.
This insight can work for all kinds of planning. If you’re spinning your wheels on Thursday afternoon you could take a stab at a weekend plan. If you’re feeling like you’re banging your head against the wall you could regroup and write a Summer Fun List, or a List of 100 Dreams, or do something random like plan next year’s holiday vacation. Or plan something completely unrelated to your current slump… like next November’s podcast episode topics?
Perhaps the sense of devising a plan will feel energizing. That energy might help you get going on something else. But even if not, now you’ve got a plan for next weekend. Or a Summer Fun List. Or next November’s podcast line-up. Those are things that didn’t exist before, and probably should happen at some point. Productivity is all mental anyway. If you feel like you should be getting something done, and then you do get something done, whatever that something happens to be, that tends to register as a win.