Get Out of a Funk
The nature of a funk makes it hard to get out of a funk. That’s the whole problem, right? Sometimes, it has to be done though. I’ve figured out a few strategies that help me get moving.
One thing I’ve tried to teach myself is to avoid the all-or-nothing mentality. I’m the type of person that has a hard time not completing a task to my standard of perfection. I either have to do it perfectly, or I refuse to do it at all. What I’ve learned, however, is that things don’t need to be perfect. Getting 10% done is better than staying at 0%.
Consume motivational content
If I can’t get myself motivated, the first thing I do is put on a YouTube video that involves someone else being productive. I’ll search up things like:
Pretty much whatever it is I’m trying to do, I’ll watch someone else do it to get me off my ass. Something about the aesthetic nature of these types of videos inspires me. If they can do it, why can’t I? Yes, they’re probably faking it to some extent. Or maybe not, I guess some people just really have their shit together. Regardless, it gets me going.
Genuine anecdote from the day I’m writing this: I wrote a list of things I need to get done this week and started sobbing. I got some soup, and felt much better. Turns out, I forgot to eat after working out, and it fucked me up. Eating eases the pain. I’m still stressed out, but at least now I’m not crying.
What’s worse than being stressed? Being stressed and having low blood sugar. It doesn’t take much more explanation than that. It doesn’t need to be anything crazy or time consuming.
Try to have easy snacks or microwave meals on hand. My go-to easy meal that involves protein, carbs, and fat is scrambled eggs with buttered toast. If you want to get fancy and incorporate some more fat and fiber, add an avocado. I’ve timed it, it takes me 15 minutes to prepare and eat.
If I’m in a shithole, I’m not getting any schoolwork done until I clean up. I absolutely cannot focus if I have a messy space. Now, I used to use this as another excuse to procrastinate—and I definitely still fall into that trap from time to time. There are a couple ways to avoid that. First, before shit hits the fan I do a deep clean. I wrote a bit about this at the beginning of the semester. Check out that article here. It’s much easier to maintain the cleanliness throughout the semester with a fresh start.
If you didn’t manage to do that, and you absolutely need to deep clean now, allocate half a day to get it done. It’s worth it, and will keep you from using it to procrastinate once you’ve gotten on a roll on other work.
If neither of those things are manageable, I revert back to my lesson on all-or-nothing. I can clean up enough to feel focused, without diving into a four hour project. To me, this means straightening up. I put away all the loose objects on my floor or my desk, put all the dishes in the sink, make my bed, and take out the trash. The purpose of this is to create a neater visual space, and to do my entire living space takes no more than 20 minutes. Set a timer!
Make a list and read it out-loud to someone
Everyone has a different strategy to doing this, but when I need to get out of a funk it’s a necessary step. It can be on physical paper, on your calendar, or on your notes app. To me, the most important part is to brain dump it, then include the date it needs to be done and how long it’s going to take (approximately).
Once I have it all down on paper, I prevent the feeling of things popping up in my head and creating a renewed panic. Including the dates things are due gives me a general idea of where I need to start. Adding the time things will take me lets me organize when I’ll fit things into the rest of my obligations. Personally, I also enjoy doing the quickest tasks first because it helps me ease into work. It also feels much more approachable to tackle the bigger tasks when I have some things crossed off the list already.
Don’t forget to read the list out-loud. I don’t have to do this every time, but when I feel totally overwhelmed it’s helpful. Verbalizing the tasks is another way to pull them out of the floating abyss of your head and make them feel more approachable. It’s a small way to make your mind settle down. It doesn’t really matter who you read them to, sometimes I’ll even just read them out to myself.
Wake up earlier
I hate that I’m even saying this, but I swear it’s helped me. I’m not talking about 6:30 a.m. here. As long as it’s pre-9:00 a.m. I feel like I’m doing something special. Doing this makes me feel like I have sooooo much time in my day, especially this time of year. Even if I went to bed at 3:00 a.m., this still clocks in as a solid six hours of sleep.
Waking up earlier with the intention to be productive is kind of a mental game. First of all, it gives you time to do all of the above things. I do a full morning routine, make myself a cup of tea, spend 20 minutes straightening up, and play a motivational podcast in the meantime. Please take my word for it, because I wrote an entire article about being a night owl, giving yourself time to do all of these things before starting your day makes a big difference.
Remember that getting started is the hardest part. Even if you can only get one task done today, at least you’re making progress. Plus, once a couple things are done, the rest will probably seem a lot more approachable. Good luck!