What I Do When I Just Don’t Wanna

Sometimes, I just don’t wanna.

I don’t wanna do the work.  I don’t wanna look at my Action/Next Steps list.  I don’t wanna do my Weekly Review or my Daily Review.  I don’t wanna call that person or email that company.  I don’t wanna write a blog post.  I just don’t wanna.

Today is one of those days.  I have three major projects on the agenda this month, and I don’t want to work on any of them right now.  I’m traveling all month, so I’m working on the road, in coffee shops, airports, airplanes, buses, family and friends’  houses, etc.  Which is actually what I dreamed of doing – I am actually living the dream, with my mobile office and Skype sessions and work/play combinations.  I am manifesting my ideal life.  It’s pretty awesome.

Still, I don’t wanna.  Moreover, I don’t really wanna do anything else.  So I’m sitting in this sort of ennui where nothing is happening and I’m not sure why.

Fortunately, when I get in this place, I have a plan of action to help me get out of it.  Granted, I may choose to sit in my limbo for a bit, basking in the I-don’t-wanna-ness – but inevitably, I get antsy and decide I need to find my way out of it.  Here’s how I do it:

  1. I ask myself why I don’t wanna.  Am I procrastinating because I don’t know what to do next?  Then I need to determine my next step.  What needs are in play here?  Am I burned out?  Tired?  Hungry?  Preoccupied with an unrelated issue?  Then I probably need to address that need (work on something else for the day, take a nap, eat something, take half an hour to recharge by doing something enjoyable).  If I’m not sure why, it’s okay; I can still move on to the next question.  However, it’s easier to take my next step if I have some idea of my motivation.
  2. I ask myself if I need to do it right now.  Is the project at hand something that can wait another day?  If not, what about another hour?  Sometimes taking a break from the project is actually helpful, and allows me to come back with fresh eyes; other times, it can be detrimental (like if I’m on a tight deadline).  I tell the difference by weighing urgency vs. importance.
  3. I ask myself what I can do that will motivate me.  If I need to do it now, even though I don’t wanna, can I put on some music to improve my mood?  What if I take a walk first to get my blood flowing and serotonin levels up?  Is there a short project (like, say, taking 15 minutes to write a blog post) I can do to kick my brain into gear?

If I follow these steps, I can almost always get myself out of the quagmire.  I try to remember to be gentle with myself and be flexible, while keeping my priorities in sight.