Stuck in a Rut? How to Break Free
I was driving on the freeway the other day. I was all the way over in the left-hand lane and I was movin’!. The road was fairly open and there were a few other cars humming along beside me but other than it felt like I had the freeway to myself. I was movin’ and groovin’ all the way until I came up on this car going maybe 55 mph tops.
I slowed down a bit. Backed off a little. I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she didn’t realize how slow she was actually going. I waited a few moments but she hadn’t changed her speed at all. I flashed the lights once or twice. Nothing. I lightly tooted the horn. Nothing. I paused again to see if she would respond but she either didn’t see me or was choosing to ignore me.
What should I do? Plow through her back end? Eh. Too messy. Continue to wave around and flash my lights. Eh. I’d rather get to my destination.
I chose to just keep going. I checked behind me, signaled to the right, moved into the lane beside us, and then accelerated around her (I may or may not have given her a dirty look but that’s beside the point).
Once I made the move, I was in the same lane once again, but now with a wide open space in front of me. I breathed a sigh of relief. It felt good to move ahead.
Later that same day I was working on the computer but it didn’t feel like anything was sticking. I started one thing, but couldn’t stay focused. Started something else, but couldn’t get through five minutes. I tried one last time and then wanted to throw in the towel, feeling unmotivated and definitely not creative.
I sat for a moment thinking about what to do next. I had set aside this time to work. To crank stuff out. To knock my to-do list out of the park and yet I couldn’t even get on base.
I looked into the kitchen and saw a pile of dirty dishes staring back at me. Hm I thought. I’ll do the dishes. See how I feel after. I finished them quickly but out of the corner of my eye, saw a dirty stove-top. I’ll wipe it down, make it shine again. I finished the stove top. My attention quickly diverted to a pile of laundry waiting to be folded. Ah I thought! I’ll finish the laundry.
When the clothes were folded and the dishes were put away and the stove was shining I sat back down. This time the words flew from my fingers across the keyboard and I filled a new notebook with other ideas.
Interesting I thought. That was the first time that had happened. Instead of getting annoyed like I usually do that my dedicated work time wasn’t going as planned and my brain wasn’t firing the way I wanted (and needed) it to, I just shifted my energy laterally.
To the side.
And then kept on truckin’.
Much like I did the other day when I passed the 55 mph bittie on the freeway.
So here’s my recommendation to you. Maybe you don’t like to clean. Maybe your thing is cooking or working out. Whatever it is, it actually doesn’t matter because the idea is just to take your energy and keep going with it. If you start and stop all the time it can be challenging to keep momentum or to stay in the flow, but if you move to the side with the intention of continuing to move forward, little energy is lost, and even more gets to be accomplished. I think it’s important to remember that there are other directions you can travel besides forwards and back.
I’d love to know in the comments below other tricks you use to keep your energy up and running during your dedicated work time? Or do you work off of inspiration only?