12 Comments

Summary:

Whenever I feel like I’m battling myself and losing in trying get writing done, I can hear my mom saying, “You’re human, not a machine.” She’s right. We’re all going to have days where we hit the wall and can’t muster up energy to do our main jobs. And that’s OK!

Instead of feeling guilty, I do other tasks that matter to my business but aren’t my main job. They don’t require the same energy or “mood” as writing does. Try one of these next time you hit the wall.

foldersWhenever I feel like I’m battling to get writing done, and losing, I can hear my mom saying, “You’re human, not a machine.” She’s right. We’re all going to have days when we hit the wall and can’t muster up energy to do our main jobs. And that’s OK!

Instead of feeling guilty, I do other tasks that matter to my business but aren’t my main job, tasks that don’t require the same energy or “mood” as writing does. Whenever the writing muse decides to take a break without my permission, I can work on editing or reviewing tasks instead.

But even if I don’t have any reviewing or editing lined up, there are some tasks that almost everyone can do, guilt-free, regardless of your career. Try one of these next time you hit the wall.

Do social networking: Hey, it is a marketing tool! Social networking is fun and maybe you’ll dig up some new work opportunities or the motivation you need to return to your core duties. Twitter and LinkedIn count!

Reconcile bank accounts: It’s administrative and dull, but most of us have to ensure our bank accounts balance.

Manage invoices: You do want to be paid, don’t you? Make sure your invoices are up-to-date and paid.

Follow up with clients: It’s OK to call or email clients just to see how they’re doing. Contacting them without any motive can make your relationship stronger. Why not surprise them with a handwritten “thank you” note?

Read content related to your work: Here’s one time where you don’t have to feel guilty about Internet surfing. Hopefully, reading WebWorkerDaily helps you to learn something new and become a better web worker. Don’t forget about books, newspapers and magazines. They all count. Well, maybe not People magazine, unless you’re in the entertainment business.

Clean up email: A less cluttered email box equals a more organized mind.

Write a blog post: Even if you don’t have a blog (why not set one up?), consider contributing a guest blog post to another blog that your prospective customers read.

Find a better way to do something: This could mean time and money savings. Are you not happy with your invoicing process? Research other options. Change is hard, but can pay dividends. I just got a new computer and don’t look forward to switching over to it, but should mean a faster and more efficient system.

Exercise: While this doesn’t directly contribute to your business, staying healthier ensures you have fewer sick days and doctor’s visits.

What business-related activities do you do when you don’t feel like doing core business tasks?

Photo credit: Gaston Thauvin

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  1. What to read on the GigaOM network Tuesday, June 9, 2009

    [...] ready for open-source management? (Earth2Tech) Open-source networker Vyatta raises $11M (OStatic) Zero-guilt activities for when you hit a wall [...]

  2. Some quite good excuses not to work within your article, thanks! :-)

    I guess anybody who works in the creative industry already experienced this every now and then – at least I did sometimes.

    Usually when I feel that I’m not productive at all, I go running in the forest nearby, answer all of the eMails still in my inbox, follow interesting links on twitter, read blogs and basically really “surf” through the internet without knowing where it might take me to.

    When I do this I fortunately also often discover interesting things such as new and useful apps or hardware I consider purchasing later, so even though I’m not really working I still do something productive.

    PS: Reading here on WebWorkerDaily quite often keeps me away from work lately.. ;-)

  3. If you need to find a better way to do something, check out usefultools.com (full disclosure: I’m the writer). We review useful web apps that help you with finances, web design, advertising and more.

  4. I don’t know what kind of walls you have around there, but when I hit the wall, the last thing I want to do is bookkeeping. Followed closely by blogging, exercising, or cleaning up much of anything. If I have the gumption and clarity to undertake those, I can do work for pay, too.

    But thanks for thinking about it! Maybe you could add: when you hit the wall, make a list of things to do when you hit the wall.

  5. @Max, no need to feel guilty about reading us — we’re all about helping you in your web worker ways :)

    @Alison, I just discovered your site recently and like that it’s nothing but reviews.

    @Skip, some people find it easier to do admin and other tasks when they can’t do other things. I do and I don’ think I’m unique.

  6. @ Meryl-Thanks! Glad you like it!

    I have to say I’m with Skip, though, at least as far as bookkeeping is concerned (and I will pay the price when I finally take the time to get my books up to date.)If I just can’t write, I usually gorge myself reading blogs or try to do something outside, away from the computer.

  7. If you get bored and have nothing to do . Goto Studentdriven.com. You can upload music, play games and coming soon find a job. Have questions they can be answered on Student Driven.

  8. When I get to that point I am usually exhausted…Spending time on cooking a good meal I find productive not just for me, but for my family, and spending time with the children; completely rearranging the furniture also works for me…It is invigorating!

  9. Justin Levy Friday, June 19, 2009

    These are some great suggestions! I think it’s always important to keep a balance of tasks so that you can feel productive even if your main goals aren’t moving along so fast.

    One thing I find I tend to do, besides most of the tips you mentioned above (except the thank-you notes, excellent idea!) is to clean. Taking even 30 minutes to clean either my office or house usually gets me right back into gear.

  10. Use Social Networks Effectively Thursday, July 9, 2009

    [...] on the marketing aspects of the networks, the time spent using them can be, as Meryl says, “zero-guilt activities.” Here are some tips for using social networks as effective marketing [...]

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