Do you experience inertia surrounding your to-do list for the day?

There are days when I feel like getting things done and there are days when I don’t really feel up to doing much. This post is about the days when I don’t feel like doing much of anything.

I am a planner so I always have a list of things to get done each day more or less. Some days are busier than others. Some days are more motivated than others. This post is about the days that I don’t feel particularly motivated and/or may also feel that I am just not up to the task of going to the grocery or fixing a home-cooked meal that day.

So I am assuming we all know what inertia looks like on those days when the to-do list is not a source of help for organizing the day. Inertia looks like: I don’t feel like doing anything other than the most rudimentary things like caring for the dog or taking a bath or shower and maybe not even these items. Additional items on the to-do list are just more a source of stress than anything else. It is as if there is a pile-up accident on the highway up ahead and I am just caught in a huge traffic snarl and cannot get through the pile-up of vehicles (to-do items) up ahead on the highway. In other words, I just don’t feel like getting things done.

So what is it that can help with all this inertia and being caught in a multi-car pile-up (metaphorically speaking)? I have found that there is not a cure for this inertia. It rears its ugly head from time to time and does not truly disappear. I am certain it is a by-product of depression associated with my bipolar condition. But there are some ways of managing this inertia or countering it.

I find that if I can muster the energy to do just one small thing on my to-do list for the day like the simple act of emptying the dishwasher, I am all of a sudden ready to tackle another thing that is important but may or may not be on my to-do list for that day. And the trend continues to a third or maybe even fourth item on the list (or off). The key appears to be true to the idea of inertia. If I set my body in motion (by acting on the dishwasher) I have a tendency to keep moving forward (by either doing another item on my to-do list or some other task that may be equally important).

This also means being flexible with the items on my to-do list. I may be motivated to do items not on that list and need to be aware that doing these items is progress even if those items are not on the original list for the day.

Inertia exists in both directions. A body will stay at rest if it is put to rest. A body will be set in motion if there is movement. This idea of setting a body in motion really helps me get over the hump in my day and move onto the next item on my to-do list. It is a matter of changing the force of inertia for the day from a resting place to a movement place.

For example, I did not feel like doing much today and did not feel like going to the grocery store at all. I was able to get the dishwasher unloaded and felt afterward good about writing this blogpost and did. In the meantime my husband went for a short grocery run and I was somehow able to plan and prep for a nice home-cooked meal of marinated salmon steaks, couscous and cabbage. My day went from standstill to pretty busy and fairly fulfilling.

Does this inertia metaphor ring true for anyone else? What helps you to pick up your to-do items when you are not motivated to do so?

Sometimes when I don’t have the energy…

Sometimes I don’t have the energy to tackle the things on my to-do list. Either the to-do list is too long, or I am feeling anxious about things or some combination of the two.

What I have found when I am feeling this way is if I can just do one small thing on the list like pickup eggs at the supermarket, the rest of the list does not feel so daunting. As soon as I can jumpstart myself into doing one thing that’s productive, the barriers to finishing other items on the to-do list are less so. Often I can go ahead and complete several other items.

Does anybody else have a way of jumpstarting their to-do list? What is your secret?