Updated: Nov 7, 2019
I have SO much to do. So, naturally, I plop myself in front of the television and watch 2 hours of absolutely mind-numbing stupidity. Then I eat. Then I nap. Then I decide to get on the phone with my mother-in-law, which I never do. And all of the stuff that I must do is still waiting for me. I'll be damned.
We have all been there. Those days when you feel like your "get up and go" just got up and went. They always hit me by surprise. I'm usually such a productive person and I just never know when I'm going to lose my motivation to get things done. But when I do, it lands like a brick on my schedule and conquering the need to just lay there is brutal. Last week I had to drag myself out of this spiral of nothing. And yes - there is still stuff to do, no matter how productive we are. But working to keep yourself motivated and engaged with the needs of the day help make the following day much easier to wake up to. Here are my quick tips for salvaging an otherwise lazy day:
1. Pick the easiest task to start on. The low-hanging fruit that doesn't take as much effort. For me that is usually tidying bedrooms after the kids head off to school, or picking up the kitchen after breakfast. Mind-numbing, routine, every day stuff that I don't have to think about, takes 5 minutes and gets the day going. Just do it.
2. Get out and get in some steps. Take a walk (or jog). Walk around your living room while you watch a television program that makes you smile. Stretch and get the blood flowing. Anything that reminds you that your body was meant to be in motion and you need to keep it in motion in order to not fall asleep today - do that.
3. Allow for some complaint time. It is not a tragedy to feel a little blah. It is certainly not a tragedy to miss the dishes or the chores or other tasks on occasion. Frankly, we owe it to ourselves to have some down time, and if that comes in the form of a day that includes some moping, some lamenting about your busy schedule or feeling tired, so be it. Consider it self-care to NOT fill your day to the brim. But contain it to a defined period of time. And then move on. Life is going to proceed with or without you so - don't let it get too far ahead of you because of your brief moment of total inaction.
4. Turn up the music and get your groove on. Music always helps fill in the space, drown out the dreary, and pump up the pace. I find tasks significantly easier with the tunes in the background. Singing along lifts my spirits every time. And on the rare occasion when music is just irritating rather than soothing, I turn on an engaging podcast or audio book. It is the sound of another voice that seems to help me feel less isolated and less burdened by whatever my routine calls for that day.
5. Write everything down that you MUST do. Don't include standards that are always present, like getting dressed or brushing your teeth. Even when lazy these things get done. MUST dos only. You might find that there aren't that many, and that actually your day is comprised of lots of WANT TO dos, which is fine but need not feel like a burden. When we see that we can actually enjoy doing some want to items, it can be more motivating to chip away at your must items. It is the reward you need on lazy days. Do this stuff first and then enjoy the reward of having some time to do this fun thing. Some people find alternating between a must and a want item works, but I personally get started on my want item (which is almost always sewing) and never think twice about what I should have been doing for the last 3 hours. I do better writing things down, starting with the easiest, and proceeding down the line. Know thyself and do what works best.
6. Take a nap. Sometimes we just need more sleep. As much as we should be trying to get a lot of quality sleep at night, it gets hard to stay on schedule and settle our mind enough to make that happen with regularity. If I find myself stumbling through the day and I can count 3 errors that I have made (cutting myself while slicing veggies, leaving the faucet running for 3 minutes, tripping up the steps with the laundry), I know I am just too tired to be efficient. I stop and try to sleep for just 25 minutes. It actually helps me refocus and get back to work.
I never take for granted the luxury of being able to plan my day and rest when my body when it is telling me that I need it. And I also never take for granted the power I have to turn an otherwise blah day into one that keeps me moving forward toward my goals. Or toward the final episode of Grey's Anatomy. Either way, progress noted.