Generally, leaving tasks undone sucks up a lot more mental energy than taking care of them promptly. But this time of year, when the days are cold and the nights are long, sometimes a lack of energy feels as if it comes from the season instead. That can lead to excusing procrastination with an internal narrative along the lines of, “I’m too tired to do a good job on that now, but I’ll work on it later when I feel more refreshed.” Too much of that, and the tiredness persists while the more refreshed feeling never comes. Creative projects, in particular, end up getting stalled.
So I’ve decided to give myself an attitude adjustment whenever I catch myself thinking like that, by changing my self-talk to convince myself that I have plenty of creative energy. Even if I don’t feel energetic, I take a few minutes to imagine myself working on the project and zipping easily through it. I tell myself something like, “I have lots of creative energy to put toward this, and it’s going to be so much fun and turn out great! I’m feeling fresh as a field of daisies!”
Of course, there are days when I haven’t gotten enough sleep and honestly can’t focus on a creative project enough to do much with it. I’m certainly not suggesting that we should all force ourselves to check off tasks on the to-do list when we’re half asleep! But even on days when going to bed early is the best choice, we can cultivate creative energy by picturing how things ideally would go, instead of reinforcing a lack of energy with thoughts of feeling tired.
If we’re always telling ourselves that we feel too tired to do anything, sure enough that’s what happens! But when our self-image shifts to having lots of joyful energy, then we’re likely to feel more inspired the next day and get much more accomplished, after catching up on sleep.