Sometimes, you have “one of those days.” No matter how hard you try, the endless barrage of interruptions just plain keeps you from getting anything done. You start the day with a list of 10 things to do, and you end it with the original 10, plus 15 new ones. The phone rings off the hook, your email inbox is flooded with one emergency after another, and… well, you get the picture. On these days, the key is just to deal with the barrage, and when it ends spend some time refocusing your energies, reprioritizing your lists, and making sure that you’re able to get back on track. It’s tough, but it’s do-able.
That’s not my problem.
My problem is the OTHER kind of “one of those days.” Sometimes (this seems to happen a few times per month) I just can’t seem to get anything done. My day looks a little something like this:
<table border="1"><tbody><tr><th>9:00am:</th><td> wake up… check email. No emergencies… screw it. I’m going back to bed!</td></tr><tr><th>10:00am:</th><td> wake up again… check email again… no emergencies… go back to bed again. :)</td></tr><tr><th>10:30am:</th><td> OK… I really have to get up. Walk down to home office. Read a couple of news sites…</td></tr><tr><th>12:00pm:</th><td> Time for lunch!</td></tr><tr><th>1:00pm: </th><td>Check email…</td></tr><tr><th>2:00pm: </th><td>Chat with online aquaintence</td></tr><tr><th>2:30pm: </th><td>Read some computing article</td></tr>
<tr><th>3:00pm: </th><td>check email…</td></tr><tr><th>3:30pm: </th><td>Tidy desk</td></tr>
<tr><th>4:00pm: </th><td>fiddle with computer until something breaks…</td></tr><tr><th>4:30pm: </th><td>fix computer</td></tr></tbody></table>
You get the idea. I used to get really worried about those days– I used to think they meant that I was a total slacker a couple times a month. However, I’ve come to realize that I need those days. Allow me to explain…
After analyzing these days for a while, I recognized a pattern… they invariably struck when I was in the middle of a large project that was headed in the wrong direction in some subtle way that I might not have noticed conciously… and the next day I would realize the problem and (hopefully) affect a course correction. The useless day was my brain’s way of rebooting and subconciously figuring out the item that was out of balance.
The point: sometimes you need to accept your natural rhythms– sometimes they are there for a reason. So the next time you find yourself staring at the wall for no apparant reason, make sure that there really *isn’t *a reason before you stop– it might just save a project.