Have you ever gotten work-dread or even depressed just looking at your daily to-do list and schedule?
I got into a deep funk this morning, and not exactly sure why. I looked at my to-do list and saw phone meetings I’d rather not have, a time block for a project that I don’t truly care about, admin tasks that bore me to tears, and my son’s soccer practice late at night. And it got worse as I realized that I didn’t truly have to do any of these things, but I had previously agreed to them out of sense of obligation and responsibility.
So I moped. And I checked email. And checked it again. And checked news headlines. Might as well check Facebook. Forgot about Twitter so I checked email again.
Wow, this funk is bad. I’m getting depressed over the things I have to do today.
Here’s how I reversed it, in about 20 minutes.
- I realized I was in a funk. The necessary first step. I had a meta-awareness of my mood. Wow, this sucks. Haven’t felt like this in awhile. How am I going to get through this day like this? I’d better do something…
- I went outside. Most days I like the quiet and solitude of being in my windowless, basement office. I can get into a writing zone and crank out thousands of words a day down there. I can be blissfully ignorant of the cold callers and door knockers upstairs. But realizing I was in a deep funk, I walked up and outside and just sat on my deck. Soaked up vitamin D sun rays, left the sunglasses off so I could experience the full effect of “bright light therapy”, and I became mindful of the bird songs and cicada chirping.
- I experienced gratitude. I’m a big believer in having an attitude of gratitude so I intentionally thought about all the amazing things I have in my life. From healthy kids, to a resort-like home, caring friends, and even the unbelievable range of colors in the flower pots on my patio. I am truly blessed.
- I saw people as people. Our default mode too often is to view people as objects. We don’t do it on purpose of course, but some people become “clients” who we must do things for to get their money. Others become “employees” who we need to “manage” in order to get our work goals accomplished. While sitting out on my deck I thought about the phone calls I had scheduled, and thought about the individuals who I’d be speaking with. Real people with hopes, dreams, fears and problems whom I have the opportunity to serve. I reframed these meetings from not-fun obligations to opportunities to help others.
- I reframed my project as a creative exercise. I am a creator, but not in the traditional sense. As an entrepreneur I actually view startups as the ultimate canvas. As an author I often think of crafting books the way others might sculpt clay. I thought about the project that I decided must be done, and thought about how I get to create something from nothing. It does not exist now, and it will exist later through my efforts. How can I view it as (unconventional) artwork?
- I wrote this article as a quick win. As I reflected on how I was feeling remarkably better—not euphoric, but happy-enough to do the work at hand—I thought, I should share this out! And I knew it would flow quickly. So, seizing the moment, I wrote this short article, which gave me an easy “win” on the day. Whatever else I must do today, I already did something I found enjoyable; it was something for myself, but I hope you liked it, too.
Do you ever get into a “funk”? What have you found are great ways to get out of it?