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How to Speed up After Slowing Down

By Olgadegtyareva @olga_degtyareva

How to speed up after slowing downWhen we experience a burn-out, or get sick or are feeling low for a few days, we end up slowing down considerably in getting things done and achieving our goals.

Recovering from feeling low and slow after a burn-out might take up to several weeks. When last time I was sick about a year ago I experienced a burn-out as I was trying to catch up with all the things while still feeling poor. After I finally recovered from the flu I could not do anything productive for about two weeks, and the following week was extremely slow.

After such period of slowing down in our otherwise busy and extremely fast-moving life, we inevitably end up with a long list of things-to-do urgently demanding our attention. This can lead to an overwhelmed state and even to a procrastination daze. The situation might seem especially hard because of lost momentum. We feel we need to start building it up from scratch often not knowing where to start.

For many years I suffered from the consequences after feeling low and slow. I would get overwhelmed, then panic. Then just get numb and procrastinate for days making unhealthy choices and mentally beating up myself.

In an attempt to make it easier on myself to go through such experience I wrote down few ideas that I personally found helpful and a good place to start. These ideas suggest how to be gentle on yourself during this period and how to start building up momentum and deal with all the urgent stuff that piled up.

Allow it to be.

If you are feeling low and slow, allow it to be rather than fight it. Gradually work through the following process.

Ask yourself: are you eating well, are you sleeping well? Make sure, you do!

Ask yourself further “What is making you feel low?” Write it down.

Think about what is within your circle of influence to change. Take a step towards it. Maybe you need to go and see you GP, or maybe you need to build into your week an additional self-care activity, such as massage, a work-out, a walk etc.

Write down what is it you want, who you want to be, how you want to feel, what you want to be happening in your work and in your life.

Re-align yourself with your why-question: why is it important that you need to do this work? What’s your drive here? What’s the purpose? Write it down.

Make decisions in alignment with what you have written answering the above questions. This way you’ll avoid making unhealthy decisions that are destructive for yourself.

Get clear on your responsibilities.

Remind yourself that the only person you are responsible to is yourself. Move away from blaming and complaining to making requests and taking steps to expanding your circle of influence.

Take responsibility for everything, in a sense that you are able to choose a response to any situation! It can be so empowering and fun: you get to decide, you get to choose, you get to create your own life and your own success. And you certainly get to create your own definition of success!!

Thinking this way can be very liberating and … uplifting!

Get clear on your priorities.

Grab some blank paper and for 15 min write down everything that is on your mind. EVERYTHING you need to do, from cooking dinner to buying a yacht one day, from drafting that paper to paying bills and checking balance in your bank account. It’s called a “brain dump”.

It is not your to-do list. You can create your to-do list at a later point. By doing a “brain dump” you create some space inside your brain as well as free some energy.

When creating a to-do list, ask yourself “What work you need to get done?” Get clear on what specifically needs to be done. Define do-able tasks that would allow you to achieve the goal.

Schedule fixed dates and times where you show up to do it. Do it little and often.

This way you will start creating momentum, even if it’s just an hour a day. Even if it does not seem big it will do a trick and get your going!

Remember to “show up” at scheduled times, set the timer and just do it!

Imperfect action and a sense of completion.

You cannot correct your course if you are not moving. The analogy with bike riding goes “You need to be in motion to be able to steer”.

So just start working on your small defined tasks one by one, little by little – imperfectly. You can alsways come back and improve it later. However, for picking up the momentum it is crutial that you take an imperfect action.

The above suggestions do require some discipline and persistence. But once you schedule those times, be that working on your paper, answering e-mails, or sorting piles of stuff, you don’t ask yourself if you feel like it. You just show up and do it for a fixed (and short) amount of time.

When that time is over, you get a sense of completion. Congratulate yourself! Out of this comes momentum and motivation to continue with this task the next day and the day after and get it finished!

Related Articles

Accepting what is: how to achieve peaceful productivity

How to accomplish anything by choosing an imperfect action

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