TIB #26: 3 things I do to keep going when I don’t feel like it

Written by Arno Jansen

I am not feeling it today. Today is a struggle. This is what I do to overcome that. I hope it helps you too.

I just can’t seem to find that spark, that inspiration or flow. I want to do just about anything but write.

But I made a commitment to myself and my subscribers to post twice a week. Also, this is not the first time this happens, I am well-equipped to deal with this situation.

This is what I do when I don’t feel like doing the work.

On this page:

Listen to (the right) music

The right song, album, or playlist can instantly get me in a specific mood or emotion. So, for situations like this, I have a playlist named “Buttkickers” to, you guessed it, kick my butt.

There are two songs in particular, that help to get my act together.

“That’s Life” by Frank Sinatra

This song instantly triggers an “oh well, shit happens” mindset for me. Whenever I am slouching, shoulders down, and slumped, this song is like a slap in the face.

The lyrics of the chorus say it all:

I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king
I’ve been up and down and over and out, and I know one thing
Each time I find myself flat on my face
I pick myself up and get back in the race

Frank Sinatra – That’s Life

“Bills” by Lunchmoney Lewis

The happy vibe of this song, together with (again) the lyrics from the chorus, helps me to not take things too seriously. At the same time it tells me to stop whining and just get to it.

I got bills I gotta pay
So I’ma gon’ work, work, work every day
I got mouths I gotta feed
So I’ma gon’ make sure everybody eats
I got bills

Lunchmoney Lewis – Bills

Do you have any songs that work for you? Or maybe something else triggers the “shit happens” mindset for you. I’d love to hear what works for you, please let me know!

This too shall pass

Simple as that. Nothing lasts forever, not the good things, nor the bad. It is also very difficult to predict when days like these happen. They just do. Don’t fight it, just keep showing up. Some days are better than others. Don’t discount the days that you are not at 100%, or even at 50%.

What if nothing changes

If I am really doubting if it is worth doing this work. When I feel like giving up completely, I do a simple but effective mental exercise. This also works great when journalling.

I ask myself: What if nothing changes?

What if I stop writing here completely?
What if I stop working on TJIL.
What if I would give up on being independent?

What if nothing changes from now on? What does my life look like a year from now, or three, or five?

I’ll tell you what my life would look like: I would have to live with the regret that I walked away from the most meaningful work I have done in years. Just because I “did not feel it” one day.

That image instills so much fear in me, that I usually will find a way to overcome whatever obstacle I am dealing with.

I am allergic to people who “rule by fear”, so with this exercise, I am temporarily getting allergic to myself. This is an effective way (for me) to get going again.

If I don’t want to add this negative perspective to a day that is already a struggle, I rephrase the exercise:

Or: Remember why you started

Going back to my values and decisions that made me start this journey, can lift my spirits significantly. I may still not feel like writing my Magnum Opus today, but at least I get going again. That is what mental toughness is about for me.

Like Frankie said: That’s Life

This is one of the disadvantages of entrepreneurship: the freedom to do what you want, when you want it and how you want it. You have to get yourself together and find ways to keep going. If not today, then maybe tomorrow. There is no point in brute forcing yourself through every resistance, but sometimes you just need a little kick in the butt.

That is how I try to deal with those days that I am not feeling it. The days that I struggle to get stuff done. More often than not, these things help me get at least some meaningful work done.

And if not, fine. I will not be 1 percent better today. That’s ok.

I’ll show up again tomorrow.

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