How do you Trough?

Blue trough

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?