March 7, 2016

What to Do When You Feel Like Doing Nothing

What to Do When You Feel Like Doing Nothing

You’ve recently lost a big client or account.

Sales have slowed or stalled completely.

You launched a program or a product and results were disappointing.

You’re reaching out to your audience daily, but there’s little or no feedback.

You’re discouraged or you’ve lost confidence…

 

And here’s what begins to happen:

 

At first it’s a subtle slowing down – and then it becomes avoidance all together.

The work that once inspired you becomes a burden.

You feel guilty and afraid.

You’re not sure what to do, so you do nothing at all.

And things come to an ugly, grinding halt.

You’re not longer in the flow. You’re on the couch.

 

I know how you feel, because I’ve felt this way at least 100 times in my career, and in my business.

 

Trust me, you’re not washed up.

You haven’t lost your ability to run a business.

You haven’t lost your ability to make a difference in the world.

You haven’t lost “it” or “what it takes.”

 

You’ve simply lost momentum.

 

Momentum, in its strictest definition, refers to the quantity of motion an object has. Outside the science of physics, momentum refers to the quantity of motion in all kinds of things that are not necessarily objects, like sports teams or tropical storms or political campaigns…. or entrepreneurs.

 

Think about it this way:

 

When something is on the move, it’s difficult to stop.

When something is REALLY on the move, it’s REALLY difficult to stop.

 

If you’ve ever watched World Cup soccer, then you know about momentum. The team that’s moving forward – in both mass (points) and velocity (speed on the field) has the greater momentum. And as either of those things increase (mass or velocity), the momentum increases. Once that happens, the team with the momentum is very, very hard to stop.

 

So how do you get it back?

How do you get momentum for your business when you’re stuck?

 

MOVE.

In any direction related to your business.

Just make a move.

Literally ANY move will do.

 

Any business task that you complete successfully – no matter how small – will add momentum to your day, and facilitate the forward movement of your business. Unsure where to start?

 

Consider some of these options:

 

  1. Clean up your work space. Clearing your environment may also help you clear your head. Set yourself up to work. And after you’ve completed that task, roll right into another.
  2. Avoid planning. Focus on doing. I’m a strategist, and if you read my blog often then you’ve heard me say (again and again and again) that NOTHING trumps a good plan. I’m going to do a little reversal on that statement here. Just this once. When you’re paralyzed or overcome with lethargy, planning is not the answer. DOING is the answer. Rather than taking a class or writing a long-term plan, complete an IMMEDIATE task for your business. That act of completion will build momentum. One success begets the next.
  3. Craft your pitch. Whether you’re after giant clients or names for your email list, your “pitch” is your paycheck. Throw yourself into it. Create some free content that you can provide to readers in exchange for email addresses. Perfect your elevator speech. Create a PowerPoint presentation or a short video about your services. Write a long-form sales letter. Get yourself into the ACT of selling, even if there’s no one to sell to in the moment. You’ll create confidence and clarity, which will give you the courage to take the next required step.
  4. Write. Anything related to your business. I’ve seen many productivity experts recommend beginning the day with a specific word count. Writing sets your thoughts in motion. If you can’t write about your business, write about what’s on your heart. Just write. The process of putting words to paper will often “unstick” you, and build momentum for the day ahead. It will also force you into focus. Pushing through the act of writing will create a sense of accomplishment, and help push you through the actions needed to move your business forward.
  5. Get ready for work. Working in our own businesses can trip us up. We feel free. We have all the time in the world. Until that freedom and time work to our disadvantage, and we become prisoners of inactivity. So reign it in. Set your alarm for a consistent time each day, shower, and dress for work. Even if you’re sitting in a home office alone. Ditch the yoga pants and dress for work. You’ll be surprised how much weight a morning routine can carry. And many of us have our best ideas in the shower…
  6. Leave your solitary office. If you work alone, try getting up each morning and going to a public place. Work in a coffee shop, a diner, the local library, or a shared office space. Many of us who are extroverts (and I’m definitely in this group), don’t realize the lack of energy we experience when we work alone all day, every day. By leaving a solitary space and placing ourselves in a situation with noise and activity, we can effectively re-charge our batteries, even without interaction. And, we’re much less likely to sit around doing nothing in the presence of others.
  7. Reach out to an accountability partner. Some of us need accountability in order to perform. If you’re one of those people, then build accountability into your workday and your workweek. Join an online forum or a mastermind group. Reach out to another entrepreneur or someone who may be feeling the same way. Trade to-do lists with a colleague. Once you share your fears about moving forward, they lose their power.

 

Mass x Velocity = Momentum.

 

An object at rest has zero momentum.

 

What’s your next move?

 

Share it with me in the comments below. I’ll hold you accountable.

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26 thoughts on “What to Do When You Feel Like Doing Nothing

  1. Oh, excellent

    This is me, right now. Old Co. closing, New Co. stalling

    My demons favourite food is #2

    Bravo & thanks

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Hey, Dave. I so feel where you’re at. I call that “business purgatory.” We got rid of what we didn’t need, or didn’t want. But we haven’t gotten to what we DO need, or DO want. So we’re stuck in the middle, like a kind of torture. From what you say, it sounds like you need to stop planning and start doing. I hope you’ll get on it today. Even the smallest of things to make that new business work. I’m right here if you want to reach out. Up and over, my friend.

  2. Heather Summers says:

    I know that stuck feeling all too well and this is great advice!

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Thanks, Heather. I hope this will help “unstick” you next time. Cheers.

  3. Pam says:

    Excellent ideas! I’m struck with this from time to time. It’s nice to hear I’m not the only one.

  4. Naomi Teeter says:

    I find that just talking it out with my partner or a good friend who completely understands the struggles helps me get back into action when I’ve been that funk of overwhelm! Being really honest about how bad I feel (instead of holding it in) is the most liberating thing. When I acknowledge it to another person, then I can move in a better direction from there.

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Such great advice, Naomi. Shame lives in silence, doesn’t it? I’m so glad you shared this… that you hold onto your power by talking about how you feel and liberating yourself from opinions. It’s a really wonderful lesson.

  5. Kent Stones says:

    This. Is. Beautiful.

    Can I offer an additional suggestion (implied in your article)? Just physically move and breathe. I loved your perspective, because we so often think we have to do something significant or meaningful, when more often it’s just about getting our energy back, getting it unstuck. Such an insightful post.

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Thanks so much, Kent. And I love what you added — physical movement is everything, isn’t it? Thanks for reading along and for the support. I’m so glad you’re here.

  6. Tesa Colvin says:

    I get stuck in the research phase. I really need to just “DO” something…to get the ball rolling. Its very frustrating since I know where i’m stuck and why I’m stuck (fear), but I cannot break the nasty cycle.

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Aaah, Tesa. I know the research phase! I had a period of time in my life, after my dad passed, when I read about three books a week. I told myself I was “searching” for something. And then I read somewhere that reading about happiness is not the same thing as being happy. And a light bulb sort of went off for me. And now, when I get stuck in the research phase, I tell myself, “Reading (or learning) about being a business person is not the same thing as doing business.” And I can generally get myself over the hump…

  7. Michelle says:

    Awesome juju exactly what I needed. Big hugs and bigger thanks!

    1. Julia Hook says:

      You’re welcome, Michelle. I’m glad it’s what you needed.

  8. Ashala Faircrest says:

    Researching is one of my traps, too. I am much more comfortable when I have way more data than I’ll ever need or use – but it also helps me sort out what’s useful and valuable from what’s not. So, for me, part of the challenge is recognizing when I’ve gone past the point where there’s a positive ROI for the time I’m spending reading and “researching.”

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Hi, Ashala. I’m glad that you can see this about yourself. Research is a place that lots of us “hide” when we’re fearful about moving forward. So putting a cap on it (and ROI is an excellent way to measure that) will force you out of your comfort zone and into action. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Deanne Marie says:

    Love these ideas! Simple, practical and powerful! My #1 strength is strategy so I often get stuck in the planning and learning phases. I’ve used each of these actions at one point or another – and I think the first step next time will be “find that list that you read that one time” – so I’m sharing it on Facebook so I will know where it is. 🙂 Thanks! I know I will come back to this time and again.

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Hi, Deanne. LOVE your URL. And thanks for the Facebook share!! We strategists do tend to get stuck in the planning — so seeing that is the first step in preventing it. I’m glad you’re here.

  10. Kelli Clark says:

    I got so wrapped up in working and building my business that I completely forgot about time for me and just “being” and letting things start to happen.. Well a few weeks to a month now of just being and I forgot how to “do”… And I’ve gotten rid of so much “negativity” and things, beliefs and people who don’t serve my higher purpose that I’ve turned around to find I’m doing everything alone.. I’ve got the support groups, personal and entrepreneurial but that just doesn’t take the place of a human beside you cheering you on, building you up and raising you higher.. Anyway.. I think my big issue is balance.. in all aspects😞

  11. Carma D. says:

    Absolutely BRILLIANT!
    Your advice was sheer confirmation for me. This morning I woke up in such a funk…you know…that particular funk when you can’t deny that something is terribly wrong and all hell is breaking loose. Yep, that was me! And instead of convincing myself to write a list, that would remind me of failure by the end of the day, I pushed myself to GET UP AND MOVE! Such an amazing article! And just to think, I was actually in the process of removing my subscription when I came across this article! Whew! Thank you so much!

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Oh my goodness, Carma! I’m so glad you’re on the move!! And don’t cancel your subscription!! I’ve got goodies for you every day. Glad you liked the article… Cheers. -Juju

  12. Theresa says:

    Perfect read for this day! My business is in a downtown area. We are going through construction of streets and sidewalks. Last year my mom passed away with Alzheimer’s. My business has been greatly effected. I get out and call on customers which has helped but I have not been able to hire the part time help as I had before. It has been really hard to not want to give up. During this time I have been trying to focus on branding and come back with a better understanding of who I am. This really helps. Than You

  13. Christyl says:

    Wow Juju! This was just what I needed and at the right time. I have been feeling like this for a while . I started by immediately cleaning my work space before I finished the rest of the blog, and it did give me a pep in my step. I wrote down the other things to do and will be set in motion to work on those. Thanks so much for this information!

  14. Ariah says:

    This is really good advice, thank you! I’ve been stuck at times for a long while….figuring the next move, getting impatient.
    Movement of any kind is helpful. My chiro had a sign in her office that I reflect on often and share with others. It read: “Movement is Change and Change is Movement”

  15. Karen Pickering says:

    Hey Juju… Doing nothing and being paralyzed was exactly where I was before I started your, ” Unforgettable” branding program!!. With greater clarity in the purpose of my business, I feel so much freer to move ahead full speed. I do have a tendancy to get side-tracted very easily and find myself down a ” rabbit hole” chasing after or learning about things that are not relevant to the task at hand. My biggest challenge every day is ” staying on task !!”
    I love all your points about shifting momentum and I look forward to learning how to create powerful lead-ins and actually do it!!?… Sometimes the fear of not knowing how to do something gets me paralyzed too!

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Hi, Karen. I LOVE having you in the Unfrogettable U program, and watching the amazing progress you’re making toward your goals. Staying on task is not easy for any of us — especially entrepreneurs. Sometime this year I’m going to release a mini-course on some very specific tactics to approach that very thing. I’m thinking of calling it: “Get Your Ass In the Seat.” 😉 Because that really is the issue, isn’t it? If we can force ourselves into a seat, to do the work (whatever it is) on a consistent basis, then we end up with a work product. If we don’t, we end up with lots of activity, and no results. I love your comment, because it validates my thoughts on this. Thank you so much.

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