How do you guys get to work when you have low energy or can't concentrate?

Stephen Dewitt

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One tip is to maintain a list of tasks that you can do at times like this - i.e. low energy, routine stuff - I often feel a bit like this first thing monday morning, and so I start with small, easy things (Ideally things I can do while listening to the radio or something). Often completing a task will give you motivation, so you can get the ball moving with these small things and move up to other stuff.

More generally, it also depends on the reason - if you've just got low energy from being tired, maybe taking a 30 minute nap is better than struggling through the whole afternoon. If you've got distractions, maybe there's something to deal with there.
 

mclDeveloper

Registered
Sometimes a goal we'd like to achieve seems to be a stone's throw from us, in fact this is.
The only issue is, it is the stone's throw from us at the current level we're on to achieve this.

You might spend some energy and "loose focus" when you jump back and forth between levels, that's because things become more concrete - from an order to the concrete action.

the easies example would be:
* clean the house
- kitchen
-- sink
-- dishes
+++ dish 1
+++ ...
+++ dish N
- bathroom
-- shower
-- mirror

Understanding of different levels of abstraction helps me to stay on track and do thinks on the same "level".
It keeps me focused. That's why I ended up with a little website project I'm currently working on.
 
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Loida Pen

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Thanks for the ideas guys! :D Really helpful.
Stephen Dewitt, how do you deal with the distractions? I notice that you said, "maybe there's something to deal with there" but what do you do if you decide there is something to deal with?
Do you just run the problem through the project planning phases? Or something else? I'm not very good at the project planning phases so any tips from anyone would be appreciated.
 

mcogilvie

Registered
Thanks for the ideas guys! :D Really helpful.
Stephen Dewitt, how do you deal with the distractions? I notice that you said, "maybe there's something to deal with there" but what do you do if you decide there is something to deal with?
Do you just run the problem through the project planning phases? Or something else? I'm not very good at the project planning phases so any tips from anyone would be appreciated.

The last thing I want to do when I’m feeling stupid and lazy is some planning process. Use the 2 minute rule: if it seems worth doing and will take less than 2 minutes, go ahead and do it. Otherwise throw it in your inbox to be processed. Or if you have time and feel like doing it, do it. If it turns out there was something better to have done, then maybe you have learned something. And you got something done. Making good (not perfect!) decisions quickly is a master skill. And you can do it at any time.
 

Oogiem

Registered
How do you gets get to getting stuff done when you have low energy or can't concentrate?
I look at my available contexts and pick actions to do that don't require whatever form of energy I am low on either physical or mental.

For example the rams broke out and got mixed in with the ram lambs before coffee this past week. After the physical sorting I needed to do to get everyone back where they belonged, and fences repaired I was not up for the physical work of actions still in the context of "Outside by Myself" I had on my list. So I came inside, changed my context to "LambTracker" and got some database updates completed. I had mental energy but no physical energy.

Conversely, a few days ago I had spent nearly 5 hours straight working on a particularly persistent bug in LambTracker. I was getting nowhere. So I decided to take a break and looked at the outside context. I went out and got a bunch of electric fences moved and set up for the next sheep grazing move. I didn't have to do it then, sheep still had plenty of feed where they were, but I had zero mental energy to work on LambTracker problems and needed to get up and move a bit so I worked on ones that only took physical energy.

When I just want to procrastinate because I'm rebelling against work at all I have another tactic. My action lists also include all the fun and hobby things I like to do. Yesterday I'd been working on stuff all day, a combination of both mental and physical things and and I just wanted to stop and relax. I took a look at my current knitting project plan in my list manger under the context "Inside by Myself Hobbies" and see that there is a next action to knit a gauge swatch to set my gauge for a replacement winter hat. It's fall and I know I'll need the hat soon. So I grabbed my knitting bag that had all my tools and the yarn. My yarn was already spun, that was a previous action for that project. So I started the gauge swatch and got it almost half done. I didn't check off the make gauge swatch action because it's not finished but I made progress and when I next want to or need to take a knitting break I can just pick up the bag and go.

Sometimes the best choice is take a 15-20 minute nap. if I'm dithering between what context to move to or what has priority or what I can do with the time and energy I have but it's not the same as procrastinating on finishing some specific thing and it's not that I just don't want to do anything I usually stop, go drink a full glass of water and lie down for a 10-15 minute nap. I know that will refresh me and I can then pick up again and probably actually get something done.

So I use a variety of techniques to get me moving forward.
 

benedikt

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In that case, I just go and do a nap. We are not machines.
If it means not touching work for the rest of the day, this is ok.
Listen to your body. Do something for recreation.
 

Sojourner

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220px-Caffeine_structure.svg.png
:p
 

dtj

Registered
Clean something. Sometimes I just go on a walkabout and move everything where it should be. Those shoes in the dressing area, for the 3rd straight week, take them where they should live. Those things that i've been meaning to take to the basement, but my hands are always full, take them upstairs. Big pile of tshirts need to be folded, tell laundry room Alexa "Play Iron Maiden", start folding, and take the results to my closet upstairs. The workbench and my desk are always low hanging fruit for cleaning.
 
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