Discover more from Telescope by 180
How to jumpstart your brain into doing The Thing 🎬
POV: You've been sitting in front of your laptop for hours but haven’t accomplished anything
“When I woke up this morning, I knew it was going to be one of those days …”
We have those stuck-in-the-slump moments. Those I-have-so-many-things-to-do-but-here-I-am-doing-anything-else-but days. Days where our minds seem unable to focus on the tasks at hand.
These kinds of days, weirdly enough, can be felt through the bones. We know when they’re going to happen. And we know how terrible they could be, so here are our picks on ways to jumpstart your brain into doing The Thing:
1. The Just Do It! approach
Wow, how helpful. We know.
Before you complain something along the lines of, “If you’re telling me that the best way to do something is by doing it, then I really don’t need your advice!” … hear us out.
If you ever feel stuck and don't know where to start, there you have your answer: start somewhere! The Just Do It! approach means starting an action of doing the work, despite it not being the actual work itself.
Having to write an essay, but currently hitting the worst writer’s block of the centuries? Pick up a pen, scribble today’s date and the essay topic. Open up a blank page and type the supposed title. Pull up Google and type away just one (1) thing that needs to be researched.
Facing an intense battle between wanting to work out and sleeping in? Sit on your bed. Done? Okay, time to level up: get up, and play that special workout playlist you love so much.
Feeling stumped to chat with someone, confused as to how to start the conversation? Open up their contact and type “Hi” or “Hello” or “Sup” depending on your mood that day.
By doing this, you will—hopefully—find yourself catapulted into doing The Actual Thing in no time. If, say, you’re having writer’s block, even the act of picking up a pen or starting a paragraph with a single "I don't know what to write" can jumpstart your brain into producing real ideas. It tricks your brain into working, and because of that, it actually starts working!
2. Distraction is the enemy of progress
(Pretty sure that’s not how the saying goes.)
Depending on what type of distractions you’re dealing with, try to remove them from the equation as much as possible. If, say, we’re talking about phones—also known as the biggest evil there is—then the obvious choice is to zip your phone in a nonbiodegradable bag, ship it across continents, and forget it ever existed.
If going to such extreme sounds a bit much, at least put it somewhere out of reach, turn on focus mode, silence all notifications, or do all three, because we don’t do things by halves.
3. Word vomit
This one might be a tad too specific to writing—this newsletter is something we write, sue us—but also applicable to other things.
When writing, we find word vomitting works. For example, this newsletter was originally a 2,000-word piece written in a first-person point of view. We dumped all the words in our heads before taking them out, editing the bulky draft into a more compact piece of writing.
Often times we hinder ourselves from writing (or doing The Thing) out of doubt, out of fear it would turn bad. But that’s the point; if you don’t get the Bad Things out, you will never get the Good Things out either. You can work with a horrible first draft, but not with a blank page.
So, get the Bad Things out. Do things badly, then improve along the way. In a non-writing term, so it’s like … do vomit?
Definitely not that, but you get the idea.
4. Remember the Eat the Frog wisdom
Doing The Thing while we don’t feel like it is a bummer, one we often can’t get a way around. We hope these tricks can help you nonetheless.
(Honorary mentions: scream into the void, complain to nearby potted plants, smash your keyboard, pull your hair in frustration, regret every single minute you spent watching cat videos on YouTube as an attempt to "look for inspirations" ... all the things we do in-between but never make the headlines. Because honestly.)
See you next week! 👋