On 6th Oct of this year, I lost my grandmother.
Even at 84, she was seemingly healthy.
But for the past few months, her condition had been deteriorating. She had been in and out of the hospital since August.
And four days later her death, I had to return to the same hospital. This time, for my mother.
As Amardeep Parmar rightly said, “work isn’t a different dimension.” When you lose a loved one, have your heart broken, get into an accident, or take some financial hits, it’s bound to impact your work.
Those are the times when you need to cut back and take some time off.
But the problem arises when, even after taking a prolonged break, you don’t recover as well as you expected.
Let alone go back to work — you have a hard time functioning as a human being. You don’t feel like doing anything. You don’t feel like eating, going out, or even talking to your friends and family.
But the thing is, most of us don’t enjoy the luxury of putting away our job for an extended period. After some time, there come the real-life consequences of trying to wait out the storm.
So here, I’m sharing how I manage my writing schedule even when I’m not at my best.
Walk Past Your Mental Blockage — Effortlessly
One of the reasons why we feel reluctant to get back to studying, writing, or working after a break is our insecurity. “What if I’m not as good as when I left?”
Guess what! You are right. You won’t be as good as you were. In fact, you will be rusty. Things won’t come as easy as they used to before. But it won’t get any better until you get back into action.
And how do you do it?
All you have to do is:
When you face writer’s block, just lower your standards and keep going.— Sandra Tsing Loh, Writer, actress, radio personality, and former professor of art at the University of California
Don’t underestimate this tactic just because it sounds too easy. Not only will it help you get back in the groove but also provide you with enough flexibility to grow out of your usual flair.
Trick Your Mind Into Gaining Momentum
You don’t tell yourself that you won’t do it. You just say that you will do it later. Or you might do things to give yourself an illusion of progress (without taking any meaningful action).
That’s how you will do is kill your momentum even before rolling the ball.
So how to convince yourself to get started now?
According to Kevin Systrom, CEO and co-founder of Instagram:
If you don’t want to do something, make a deal with yourself to do at least five minutes of it. After five minutes, you’ll end up doing the whole thing.
The exact number of minutes isn’t the focus here. For some, it can be a 3-minute or even a 10-minute rule.
You tell yourself that you will write for a short while. And after that, you are free to do whatever you like. Chances are, you will keep typing away long after the initial time is up.
Yes. It’s as simple as that. No. You don’t have to take a millionaire CEO or a moderately successful blogger at face value. It is also backed by science.
When you are in constant threat of suffering sudden emotional breakdowns, you would want to get as much done in as little time as possible. So you can stay productive while giving yourself enough space to recuperate.
In such times, doing less is more.
And trust me when I say so, but cutting back on your word count in favor of sticking to the points might, in fact, work really well for you.
I’ll tell you what the data told me that your friends won’t tell you, which is almost nobody listens to or reads most of what you write. Most of the stuff that you agonize thinking about, they pay no attention to.— James VandeHei, American journalist and co-founder and CEO of Axios
So if you want to save your energy and your audience’s time, strip your content of all the fluff, and feel free to use fewer words.
Don’t Be a Coward
And give yourself a break.
I know how it sounds. But It’s true.
Taking frequent breaks helps you work better and faster. And these micro-breaks really work wonders especially when you are under stress and monotony.
For example, I take a 10-minute breather whenever I feel my fingers slowing down and my brain fazing out. Then I do something entirely else, like listening to creepypasta or playing a quick round of Shadow Fight 3.
That’s how I prevent burnout, come out with better ideas, and finish what I start as fast as possible.
Use Your Problems
When you go through a crisis, you might feel lonely. But you are not. Countless people have either gone through, are still going through, or are about to go through the same hurdles as you.
It presents you with a unique opportunity.
On the one hand, you can process and resolve your emotions by writing about them. On the other hand, you can help others by sharing your story and providing them with solutions that have worked out for you.
The only thing is, you have to make it about them, your readers, and not all about you. Make no mistake. There’s a fine line between being authentic and being self-indulgent.
I get it. Letting things go is easier said than done. But you don’t have to do it right away. Nor do you have to do it all at once. It’s okay to take time — as long as you make a small yet consistent effort in the right direction.
Always remember, the goal is to make it easier for your future self, not harder.
That’s what she said.