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Put a deadline on your mood


What do you do when you just can't get anything done? You dilly-dally. You put things off. You procrastinate. Perhaps you're procrastinating because you're in a bad mood. You've had an argument at home. You didn't get the job you wanted. Or the promotion. Or the golf score.

As a result, you get stuck in an emotional rut. You just can't get that issue off your mind. The distraction of the mental stress causes lethargy. You lack energy and momentum. And often there's not much you can do to fix the situation. You can't change the person who let you down. You can't convince them they should hire you, or be nice to you or to recognize your contributions. There's only one thing you can control, and that's your own emotional reaction.

So you stew. You choose to be depressed. No one else makes that choice for you. And that means only you can decide to make a change.

So here's what to do when your moodiness causes inaction. First be aware of the state you're in. Recognize your depressive lack of drive. Then, concentrate on your emotion and set a time limit for being in that emotion. Concentrate on being depressed, or mad, or envious or hopeless. Focus on it; revel in the emotion, try as much as you can to feel it - but only for 10 minutes. Or until your exit on the highway. Or until your bus stop. Keep working hard on being in that emotional state. Surprisingly, you'll soon become bored with the concentration involved in sustaining your bad mood. Then, when you find the bad mood waning, provide yourself a positive motivator. Smile, or quicken your step or plan an activity that makes a difference. Perhaps the one you've been procrastinating. You'll soon be on your way to positive progress. Your time is worth it.

Mark Ellwood is a productivity consultant dedicated to improving people and processes through consulting, training and facilitation. Reach him at mark@GetMoreDone.com or www.getmoredone.com.

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