Feeling overwhelmed by having too much time on your hands? This can happen easily if you are a solopreneur, working from home, a stay-at-home mom or dad, or unemployed. Without the framework of a regular job and the outside push of a boss who tells you what to do (a much as you dislike this), your days can feel like unmanageably long, monotonous stretches of time without any structure to them. It may wear you down emotionally and leave you stuck and unproductive. So what can you do about it?
Work with your attention span
We all have a certain attention span and we all need rest. This in itself is a structure that we can use to our advantage. Only you know how long you can focus on something, but let’s say it’s an hour for you: Then you have three to five of these blocks of time available to you every day (be realistic about how much you can do). You get to decide how to use and schedule them, and in between, you rest or do something else you enjoy. With this small change in perspective, you can get rid of the pressure you feel when seeing the whole day ahead of you as potential working hours of which you MUST use every minute productively (who is capable of doing that?? Not me.).
Work around inertia
Something else that can get in the way of getting stuff done is inertia. Even if you have partitioned your day into four or five time slots, it’s still easy to get dragged into aimlessly surfing the internet or reading news about celebrities and royals (I know what I’m talking about).
In order to kick yourself out of inertia, break down your day into manageable units, and give yourself the variety you need, try the following tricks:
Set a timer for things you don’t want to do. Just take 15 or 30 minutes to do something necessary but unpleasant and stop after that. You are totally allowed to drop everything as soon as your alarm goes off. Sometimes, you might even find that you’re having fun and want to continue – great! You never have to, though. That’s the cool thing about this tool.
Set a timer for things that take you forever doing. There are things we spend way too much time on, like checking and answering our e-mail (oh boy), writing blog posts, fiddling with our website. Tasks tend to take up as much time as you assign to them, so if you go and start a task but don’t give yourself a time limit, you’ll either work very slowly (because there’s still time…), or be very perfectionist about it. In any case, it’s going to take forever and you’ll wish you had never burdened yourself with this to begin with.
So just set a timer and make your task fit into the allotted time. When your alarm goes off, you MUST stop working (I admit, I don’t stop writing my e-mails in the middle of a sentence, but you get the picture).
Go for a walk. Taking a walk is a great way to relax your mind and make a fresh start. I find I have the best ideas when talking a walk, showering, or doing sports – they just come out of nowhere, while they hide away when I try to force creativity. Even if you have no ideas – getting some fresh air and moving is the easiest way to get out of a rut.
Call or meet someone. Or go somewhere where you’ll be among other people, like a café. When you are working from home alone a lot, loneliness can be a big problem. Who feels like getting things done, or frankly doing anything, when what they really need is human company?
Reward yourself. It’s much easier to get to work when you know you’ll be finished within 30 minutes (because that’s what you set your timer to) and get to watch an episode of your favorite TV show afterwards as a reward.
Can you do at least one of these things for yourself today?
About the author
Julia Felberbauer is from Austria and helps people become their true selves by releasing their inner blocks with energy work. She is a certified practitioner of The Emotion Code, the energy work technique she uses to help her clients and herself. She loves blogging honestly (often to the point of embarrassment) about the personal and the global. Find her at www.energysessions.at.
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.