What to do when you don’t want to do something. Or anything.


You don’t want to review that big file. You don’t want to call the adjuster. You don’t want to deliver the bad news to your client. Usually, you don’t think about it, you just do it.

But not always.

Some days, when you don’t feel like doing something that needs to get done, you avoid it and busy yourself with other things.

We all have days like that.

We also have days when we don’t feel like doing anything but sitting on the sofa and playing with our phone.

What do you do when you have a file you don’t want to look at or an article you don’t want to write? What do you do when you’re not motivated to do something you need to do?

You start.

Open the file. Find the phone number. Sharpen your pencil and write your name and room number at the top of the page.

Do something related to the task you are avoiding, however trivial, and let nature take its course.

Your brain will see you’ve started and compel you to take the next step.

Action is the solution.

“Getting started is magical,” says psychologist Thomas Pychyl. “Motivation follows action, not the other way around.”

On days when you don’t feel like doing anything, get out of the house and go to the office. If you work from home, go to your home office and sit at your desk, as if it was just another day at work.

Move your body, engage your mind, pick up a file or re-read your notes and momentum will take over.

Unless it doesn’t.

Some days, you just want to sit on the sofa and play with your phone. In which case, maybe you should take the day off.