For the first time in two months I’m sitting in my little home office and it’s quiet. My children went back to school on Tuesday – term starts at the end of January in Australia! – and while I miss not having them crashing around, the silence feels like a cold drink on a hot day.
I also happen to have wangled an entire day with no clients or meetings, which means I’ve got a nice block of quiet time to get on with my (big) writing project. But – and who hasn’t – I also have the perennial other stuff to do – emails to read, calls to make, and family errands to run.
I’d really like to do the “other stuff” first, so I can get it all out of the way before I settle into the writing. But – as I was reminded by Dan Pink’s awesome new book “When” – that would be a very terrible choice. If I start with the “other stuff” I won’t be done with it until midday, which is precisely the time I will descend into what Dan Pink calls the ‘trough’: the early afternoon no-energy-can’t-be-bothered-dip we all succumb to.
I’ve often tried to push through the trough, but I now know it’s a really bad time to undertake tasks that require deep thought, motivation, creativity, or courage. So me “writing” through the trough is actually me just staring blankly at the screen for a few hours. Horrible.
So although I’d rather get the ‘other stuff” over and done with this morning and set aside the afternoon for writing, I’m going to be super- disciplined and flip it around. I’ll use my peak time to do the writing and will use the trough to clean up my inbox.
How do you trough?