It happens to the best of us. You feel gross, you haven’t slept much, you’re behind on your work, you keep putting people off, and you don’t know what to do. You put a negative spin on everything, your once considerable ambition is out the window, and you can see the self-sabotaging efforts bolster right in front of your eyes.
Sometimes we find ourselves in this position. Whether it be a result of spending one too many nights out on the town, or a bad breakup, slumps are no fun. But there’s no time to complain or feel sorry for ourselves, it’s time to break the rut, take action, and start living again.
These are the baby steps I take, when I find myself face first in the dirt:
1) Clean – A dirty room and dirty kitchen usually goes hand in hand with a dirty slump. The first thing I do is pick up the clothes on the ground, clear my desk, and wash the dishes. You will instantly feel better, I promise.
2) Write – The act of writing something down literally relinquishes the stress of remembering that thing from your body. Write down everything you need to get done, people you need to contact, and things that are bothering you. This will give you the freedom to conquer some of these things, without out the anxiety of forgetting them.
2a) Once you’ve created the master list, take each point and decide the next actionable step. So if the main point is: meet with academic advisor regarding class registration, your next actionable step would be: email advisor to set up an appointment. This gives you a concrete next step, rather than a looming large task. (One of my secrets that have helped me incredibly) Which brings me to my next point…
3) Do the first thing on the list – Don’t try and do it all right away and don’t stress over all of the things you have to complete, just get started. Remember, the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time!
4) Get a good night sleep – You’ve probably deprived yourself from your zzz’s, which is taking a toll on your body, mind, and overall health. Sleep is a period where your body repairs itself, so give it the time it needs to recover.
5) Start a routine – Get your pen and calendar out (or should I say finger and phone), and go crazy. For the first week out of your slump, write everything down from wake up time, to gym time, to important meetings. This, like the action list, helps ameliorate the body from stress and pressure.
6) Lay off the booze – Alcohol is a depressant, which means is slows the function of the nervous system. Take a couple weeks off. Soon you will find yourself raging with energy and ambition.
7) Find inspiration – This small exercise will help bring you back to what makes you happy, and give you a little inspiration. Some of the things I do are: look at old pictures of myself and my family, read quotes from some of my role models, read up on the success of others, check out entrepreneurship blogs, travel pages, and outdoor magazines. You’re the only one who knows what lights the fire under your @ss.
As a side note: find your goal, google it, and look at the success stories of people who have achieved that goal.
8) Communicate – Convey your goal, excitement, and anticipation to your spouse, friends, or colleagues. When I make a goal public, it makes me more determined to achieve it because I now have fans watching.
9) Post it – Come up with a one sentence goal and print it out in big font. Post it somewhere in your room so you can wake up and see it every morning. I have one overarching goal posted, with myriads of quotes and mini goals I like to read every day.
10) Get Excited! – You’re well on your way to success! Visualize your goal, visualize the person you want to be 1, 5, 10 years from now. Read, read, read, everything you can on how to be successful and happy. Most importantly, enjoy it. This is the fun part of life.