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Sudden inability to work

Ace Contributor
Tarek S Member Since: Sep 10, 2015
11 of 23

Well, I might have not explained it correctly, but it is more like getting bored maybe? I've been doing this for 12 years, maybe being at home all the time cause this cause I hardly have any other activity other than working and walking my puppy... I'm trying to get over this, and your answers have helped me a lot and I'd like to thank you all for your input

Community Guru
Renata S Member Since: Jun 10, 2014
BEST ANSWER
12 of 23

@Tarek S wrote:

Well, I might have not explained it correctly, but it is more like getting bored maybe? I've been doing this for 12 years, maybe being at home all the time cause this cause I hardly have any other activity other than working and walking my puppy... I'm trying to get over this, and your answers have helped me a lot and I'd like to thank you all for your input


Hi Tarek,

I think it sounds like a work/life balance thing. But if you live in the northern hemisphere and this feeling hits more in winter, also check into whether using a full-spectrum light might be something that could help. Sometimes people shift their working hours when they freelance because they don't necessarily have to work on a particular schedule, so you might not be getting a lot of natural daylight.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364...

We don't really have to leave the house that much either if we don't want to. It could help you to shift what you do slightly, or just make any change that will alter your routine a bit or get you talking to new people (who are not clients). You could do just about anything to try to make a change: take a class, join a choir, volunteer, join a club, learn a new skill or whatever seems appealing. 

Sometimes it can help to look at the types of tasks that bog you down. A Canadian procrastination researcher (Tim Pychyl) has come up with this list of characteristics for tasks that tend to make people procrastinate:

Screen Shot 2018-12-09 at 3.02.00 PM.png


I find that if I can diagnose what's going wrong using this list, it sometimes helps me to either work with it, or even better, avoid taking projects that look like potential hits for any of these items in the future. 



Community Guru
Wassim T Member Since: May 29, 2015
13 of 23
Tarek,

You shouldn't be looking for technicalities because I bet you already know how to manage your workload. Focus on the emotional side of things. This happens when you are not happy from the inside. You need to have a meaning for your life and find people who care for you (and you care for them). Could be a friend, girlfriend, wife. When you have someone you love and care for in your life, you'll want to finish your work quickly so you can spend more time with them and do the things that make you happy.

Blessings,
Wassim
Community Guru
Scott B Member Since: Nov 20, 2015
14 of 23

Honestly I think this experience is pretty normal if you are generally quite busy. The mind wants new and different challenges. If you indeed find yourself missing deadlines or delivering lower quality work, I would then worry about it. Otherwise I would take it as something that most go through and your brains way of shaking things up. 

Ace Contributor
Valerio S Member Since: Oct 13, 2017
15 of 23

I used to have the same problem, my solution to stop procrastinating is to write down everything.

Every week (sometimes every two days, depending on the workload) I write down what I have to do, deadlines, progress and so on, and when I start slacking, I take my piece of paper and check my "To Do" list. I found out this really helps and keeps me focused and,  weirdly, motivated.

Community Guru
Renata S Member Since: Jun 10, 2014
16 of 23

@Valerio S wrote:

I used to have the same problem, my solution to stop procrastinating is to write down everything.

Every week (sometimes every two days, depending on the workload) I write down what I have to do, deadlines, progress and so on, and when I start slacking, I take my piece of paper and check my "To Do" list. I found out this really helps and keeps me focused and,  weirdly, motivated.


Sometimes I find I can start avoiding my "To Do" list if projects are particularly complicated or if it's not clear what I'm accomplishing. The "ambiguity" point on Pychyl's list is an interesting source of slowdown for me.  

As an alternative, I started doing a reverse list, my "To Done List."  I write down what I've done. Sometimes that's a more motivational way to get out of a stall than looking at a long list of items that need doing. I also write down things I've attempted and alternate things to try if I'm running into problems on particular projects. 

Community Guru
Baris A Member Since: Mar 15, 2017
17 of 23

Hello Tarek, how have you been? I read your original post with a surprised amusement. It was like reading something I had written in the past. There are some very good advice here and I want to add mine.

 

What you write really sounds like seasonal affective disorder as Renata pointed out or a very mild case of bipolar disorder. When I realized I was having difficulties like you I looked to past and saw that I had been having them since highschool.  I lost my will to work/study for a couple of months every year. I had it again at the start of the summer but it was not as intense as winter.

 

Now I have a very bright daylight bulb that’s on all day and my desk is next to a very large window. I feel good about this placing and light but I’m not sure if it helps or not because I’m also using medication.

 

What I’ll write here is not medical advice. This is what I’m doing to be able to feel normal. There is a medication called modafinil which is sold as Provigil, Modiodal, Modiwake, etc. I take 1 mg every morning when I open my eyes or even before getting up. It is a wonderful drug used for narcolepsy patients and it also keeps you alert and focused without any side effects. I also use a low dose SSRI antidepressant. There are lots of those and some with different effects but I found the SSRI ones to be most helpful. I use “vortioxetine” sold as Brintellix, Trintellix… This drug doesn’t cause the “brain fog” you "might" experience with other SSRI’s. I use 5mg every day. This drug doesn’t affect instantly, it should be used for 2 weeks for the effects to be felt, has some mild side effects which also disappear after 2 weeks. Don’t believe songs saying that drugs don’t work. They do work.

 

Even with these I feel lazy and unfocused for the first 2 months of winter but to be aware makes things easier (you just wait for it to pass) and the drugs minimize those.

Community Guru
Wendy C Member Since: Aug 24, 2015
18 of 23

The physical, mental, and emotional effects of light deprivation are very real. I can't comment on the use of medications but fully second Baris' suggestion to look into a light designed specifically to simulate sunny natural daylight.

 

It worked for me I was living in Boston.

Community Guru
Renata S Member Since: Jun 10, 2014
19 of 23

@Wendy C wrote:

The physical, mental, and emotional effects of light deprivation are very real. I can't comment on the use of medications but fully second Baris' suggestion to look into a light designed specifically to simulate sunny natural daylight.

 

It worked for me I was living in Boston.


@Wendy
It's not something that people normally consider, but the effects can be quite profound. Like the carbohydrate cravings. I remember this from  living in Vancouver (which is like living on Noah's ark in the winter -- 40 continuous days and nights of rain is not an uncommon weather occurence).  I found I couldn't get through the morning without a 16-oz coffee and a double chocolate muffin at coffee break. It also did a number on my motivation and concentration. And I started to become an extreme night owl -- not to mention gaining weight from all those double chocolate muffins. Smiley Happy

Community Guru
Baris A Member Since: Mar 15, 2017
20 of 23

@Renata S wrote:

I remember this from  living in Vancouver (which is like living on Noah's ark in the winter -- ..


 And you don't even mention constant danger of stampede...

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