As many of you know, in May of 2016 I quit being a high school English teacher to work full time for Kippo. I had taught for 10 years. This time of year can be a bit difficult for me because, although there is nothing I would rather be doing than building Kippo (ladies, we are so close to launching our women’s line), crisp mornings and isles full of school supplies make me miss the energy that comes with the first weeks of school. I don’t miss having to be at school at 7:45 a.m. or only having 27 minutes for lunch.
While there are pros and cons to both careers, something I found to remain the same is the occasional “day of apathy” (as I like to call it). Normally, this day comes after a career setback. A rough day with a particular student, a lesson I thought would be awesome but flopped, a sample garment that STILL WASN’T RIGHT! These days are few and far between, but when they hit they hit me hard. Thoughts of anything else I can do besides what needs to be done consume me. When I was teaching, it would be things like cleaning out my desk, making copies for something that wasn’t needed until like… next year, or checking every teacher in my department’s mail box and hand delivering the contents. Now, since I work at home, I will do laundry, trim the bushes outside, or walk the dogs.
Instead of losing a productive day to this monster mind set, I came up with strategies to combat it. Maybe you could use some help with this too.
- Change locations. When I was teaching, my great friend was the school’s multimedia specialist (a.k.a. librarian). When I couldn’t stay focused in my room, I would post up in the library. I have a dedicated office space in my home (which actually helps a LOT), but there are times I need to go to Starbucks or even just on my patio and work.
- Listen to Jazz music. I personally can’t listen to music with words when I work, but if I find myself slipping into the black abyss of apathy, I put on my Pandora Miles Davis station and it helps.
- Take a brief walk. When I was teaching, I used to do this all the time when I felt indifferent toward the day’s tasks. I would set the timer on my phone and walk as far out on the football field as I could and then come back. Now, Buster, Pete, and I will do a lap or two around the house to reset.
- Take a timed internet break. If you can spend three hours looking at cat videos on YouTube, do not attempt this strategy. If you are disciplined enough to stick to 10 minutes, then this can work wonders. I am sucker for msn.com or some brief online browsing at Nordstrom. No buying anything though! It would be embarrassing if your work’s server got hacked and everyone saw your purchases.
- Grab a mid afternoon beer. Just kidding. Don’t ever do that.
- Pack a snack. I am highly motivated by snacks. I will buy a snack I love and begin a task knowing I can only have my snack when I am finished.
- Make a list. Many times, the first thing I will do on a morning where lassitude is looming is make a list of essentials that need to get done. Make a physical list and as you accomplish each task mark it off. Seeing that things are getting marked off helps me keep moving.
Hope this helps the next time you are feeling like your day’s accomplishments are out of reach. Keep moving.