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Dealing with micro-burn-out  

Noah Kagan of AppSumo:

Then it hits me around 2pm, I feel like shit. I can barely push myself to work, I have zero interest in doing anything AppSumo related, my teammates are chatting in our group chat and I want to be doing anything but this.

(...)

Have you ever felt that way? Unmotivated to do anything in your business.

It may be called “burn-out” but burn-out is solved with time, relaxation, hiring and pacing yourself. This was different — an immediate, uncontrollable feeling.

For the record, I feel like this at least once a week. Most people seem to go through this with varying frequencies. My approach to dealing with this is very similar to Noah's:

  • Step away from work for a bit.
  • Try to do one small thing at a time.
  • Write out a list of what you want or need to do.
  • Find the one "blocking" task that you're stuck on and just get it done.
  • Get a life coach.
  • Try and figure out what causes your motivation to wax and wane.

The one thing I'd add is that what's most important (to me) is to not feel guilty about having this ebb and flow of motivation (and productivity). If you let yourself feel guilty about it, you're just compounding the problem, and possibly causing yourself some even worse long-term issues.

It's ok to not be super-motivated 100% of the time. Just make sure you manage this and don't let it last for weeks or longer.

Another tip that I've given before is to have several cool things that you're involved in, so that when you burn out on one, you can switch to another. For example, for me, I've got swombat.com (both coding and writing), GrantTree, Woobius, Cocoa coding (learning in progress...), whatever book(s) I'm reading - all of which I can switch to without feeling guilty about "not being productive".

More from the library:
The SaaS market in Japan
Evolution of a dashboard: beware vanity metrics
Firing yourself, again and again