I Just Don’t Feel Like Working Today

By Yaro Starak
46 Comments

Many years ago I lived in a share house in the inner city suburb of West End in Brisbane, Australia.

Although I prefer to live alone, I appreciated living in a share house with other people because it gave me some kind of socialization during a period of my life when I was largely spending the rest of my time alone working on my online business. It also made the rent cheaper.

One of my housemates and I were talking on the couch one day about jobs and work. Me, being the entrepreneur, noted how I didn’t understand how she could work nine to five every day of her life knowing that it will never change. Each week will be the same over and over again, punctuated by brief holidays, until she retires. A nightmare scenario in my books.

My housemate on the other hand didn’t know how I could deal with the ambiguity in my life. How I could be disciplined enough to get work done without the threat of losing my job, or attempt to build financial security when how much money I made was not guaranteed week in and week out.

Clearly we came from different worlds.

Conditioned Time Zones

One of the points that really stuck with me was how my housemate treated her weekends. She loved knowing that for two days out of every seven she had no work on. This “time off” was so clear to her, that the idea of doing any work on a weekend just didn’t make sense. She didn’t understand how I could sit on my computer on a Sunday working on a website.

She lived in a cleanly delineated world. Work time was work time. Everything else was not. Although she didn’t hate her job, she never felt a compulsion to “work” during the weekends, a feeling I often had about my “work”.

Although it was clear that my housemate and I functioned on different time zones when it came to how to structure work, play and rest time, I realized that I wasn’t completely immune to this sort of conditioning.

Although I pride myself on my flexibility when it comes to how I use my time, I’m still conditioned to do, or not do, certain things during certain times. For example, Friday nights. I struggle and always have struggled to work on Friday evenings because that is supposed to be a party time or a relaxation time after a hard work of week or school.

This would make sense if I was working a nine-to-five, five-days-a-week job, or studying at university or school, but I don’t. I can party or relax every night if I want to. At the end of a Friday I rarely feel any more or less exhausted than I do on any night because I haven’t been putting in the long shifts, living for the weekend. Despite this, the conditioning remains, and it is very hard to get anything done on a Friday night, so usually I don’t bother even to try.

When Do You Get Work Done?

In a recent podcast interview with Patrick Meninga, who has been known to write as many as 400 articles in a month, he explained how important it is to meet his daily quota. Having this sort of deadline, for example “write 1,000 words per day, every day“, spurred him to create a successful niche website that allowed him to quit his job and eventually walk away with a $200,000 pay day after selling it.

In the past I have used similar deadline motivation to get work done.

When I wrote the Blog Profits Blueprint, a 50+ page document, I committed to a deadline with my launch team. We had a date that we would release my product, and that meant my Blueprint report had to be done at least a week before that.

Once I made the commitment to write the report, which was about six weeks out from the deadline for the launch, I realized I needed a daily quota. I promised myself to spend some time every day writing the report and aim for AT LEAST 1,000 words a day, if possible 2,000.

I made this work by focusing on my quota first thing in the morning. Before starting my normal daily activities I would write at least 1,000 words. Sometimes I would also head to a cafe and do more in the afternoon or evening as well.

I started by writing out the topic headings for each chapter and then just got busy filling out the framework with words. After three weeks of writing at least 1,000 words a day, I finished my first draft of over 25,000 words. Within a week I had added pictures, formatted the document and had a report ready to go for my launch, all done within a month.

The combination of a deadline driven commitment with a daily habit lead to a solid result. I conditioned myself to focus on this goal and knew what I would be doing every morning. Because I did it in the morning, I never had that feeling of guilt as the day drew towards an end and I hadn’t done any writing yet. The quota was always met first.

A Time And A Place

This article I am writing now has been constructed in two places. I ate my lunch in a food court in Brisbane city, after which I came up with the idea for this article and wrote out the frame work as a list of headlines I would cover. Next I packed up my laptop and headed to a cafe to finish the work.

Cafes are literally my offices. I feel so at home sitting around other people who are talking, eating and drinking while I type away at my laptop. I’ve been doing this activity at cafes in Brisbane and around the world for over ten years. It’s become a comfort zone for writing that wonderfully can be found in almost any city on the planet.

Writing is not the only activity that I have a comfort zone for. Eighteen months ago I completed the P90X training program, spending three months doing one DVD workout every day. I’ve joined gyms before, but never stuck to it because I hate the group workout environment. I like to do this kind of exercise alone at home, and have continued to work out a few times a week with the P90X DVDs since then.

Most mornings I get up and go for a skate before doing anytime else. Again this is an attempt to make sure my exercise is done before everything else on a habitual basis. This leaves the rest of the day free to be as productive (or not) as I like, knowing the important, keep my body functioning activity is done. I tend to listen to audiobooks while I skate too, so I get educated at the same time as I get cardio.

I also have a weekly yoga session with my CrankyAds.com co-founders Walter and Mick (I call these “Walter Wednesdays”). We have a team meeting in the afternoon and then do the P90X YogaX DVD together. Again another habit that we all keep each other accountable to, which I admit would be a lot harder to stick to if I didn’t have the other guys doing it too.

Work With Your Conditions And Change Them When Necessary

Everybody has conditioning on their time. You’ve formed habits, places you go where you do certain things, times of the day where you are conditioned to perform certain activities, not to mention energy shifts you experience throughout the day that are impacted by how you sleep and what you eat.

When it comes to growing your online business, or for that matter, any personal goal you have, whether that be exercise or study or writing, etc, you need to work with your conditioning to give yourself the best chance of success. That is assuming your conditioning is conducive to getting things done.

If you presently sit on the couch, drink beers and watch TV, that’s not going to work. You’re going to need to change habits. Review your day, in particular each block of time in your day and how you currently use it, and decide where to place the new productive habit you are going to form.

You need to look at your entire life when deciding to make changes. This means you consider working on weekends and even friday nights (gasp), if that works for you. The key is to harmonize your energy flow, emotional state and the rest of your activities, so that when it comes time to perform and implant a repeat new habit that leads to the result you want, you are not fighting yourself.

It’s hard to start exercising if you are exhausted after working an eight hour shift at a job, which is why so many people prefer to do it in the morning. However if you are a night-owl who works on web projects into the early hours of the morning, you might not find waking up early to get exercise done easy (I never have). If you have one habit fighting against another, it isn’t going to work.

In my experience, I’ve looked at changes (or goals) that appear hard, things like writing a report in a month, or completing a 90 day exercise regime, as a temporary experiment. This is necessary because if I attempt a significant change – and anything you really want will be significant – if you see it as something you will have to do for the rest of your life, that is too daunting. You will give up before you reach even the second week.

If you know you only need to write just one report for one big launch, or exercise for 30 days to drop 10 pounds, it’s more manageable. As the saying goes –

the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time

Even if the big goal might take a long time, it’s the habit that gets you there. Gently inserting the habit into your life where it fits best makes it easier to get over the initial hump you will inevitably face, where you just don’t feel like doing it. You are stacking the deck in your favor.

You Are The Most Important Tool

Time management and productivity can be terribly boring subjects unless you enjoy looking at parts of your life as components that can be optimized. I’m not super keen on overly-structured analysis, the way an accountant or economist might look at productivity, however I am a bit precious when it comes to my emotional state and physical state. You might even say I’m a bit of a princess.

In order to actually get work done I can’t be hungry, or missing more than one hour of sleep off the 8 I require a day. I need the right environment and have the desire to produce something and be creative. I have to be in an at least content mood (if I’m feeling depressed work is hard). It also helps if I have some kind of deadline driving me to work, even if it’s just the tug a blogger feels when a fresh piece of content hasn’t gone live in a few days.

I think entrepreneurs in general are a bit like this. We are artists after all, which to run the risk of stereotyping, means we are prone to irrational emotional outbursts (sometimes only visible from the inside), but on the flipside we can release passionate bursts of creativity too. This I believe is also why entrepreneurs are so unemployable. You can’t “work” in a structured environment if your creative process is not structured.

It’s like asking a painter to create something original and amazing and then giving them a pen and a fill-in-the-blanks questionnaire to work with. There’s just not enough room to be flexible. You need the space to “waste time” when you want to in order to awaken those moments where the good stuff comes out.

The important point here is that you are your tool kit. Knowing when to use each specific tool and give yourself the space to do so, is critical. Understand there are best times to do certain things, and that preparation and rest matter just as much. Pick the habits you know you need to inject in your life to get what you want, and then insert them into your life in the optimal place.

If you don’t, you run the risk of fighting against the one person who will always have the ability to defeat you – yourself.

Yaro Starak
Conditioned

Photo courtesy of Randy Son Of Robert

About Yaro Starak

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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46 Comments

  • Ann

    Thanks, I found it very interesting

  • Reading this article made me wonder… were we ever share household roomies?! I’m almost serious. Having done the share house rounds of West End for over a decade, I think it’s a high possibility!
    Anyway, great points you make about dealing with the elephant one bite at a time. I’m about to launch into a rather large project myself. I’m trying to create a set of 26 fortnightly menus for busy professionals who still want to eat well. Tips like yours keep me optimistic about my rather hefty goals! Thanks Yaro.

    • Haha, no I think I would remember you, especially with a name like “the good soup”. I’m glad you enjoyed my article!

  • Insightful real as always Yaro. Thank you for the inspiration.

  • Ffion

    This is exactly what I needed to read today – thank you!

  • Hi Yaro, I totally relate to the idea of working on weekends and when I have time. Interestingly enough, I too feel at home working in a coffee shop almost anywhere.

    The funny thing about me though is that I don’t like to work at home when my wife is here. There is something about that which is truly uncomfortable.

    I have to fight the urge to run out the door when she gets home – as strange as that sounds. I want to work, but I find it very difficult. Even though she is not doing much to disturb me, I still feel ill at ease.

    This is punctuated by the few times that she interrupts me, usually to tell me about something I didn’t do or should have done. As you can imagine, this disrupts the quality of my work time significantly.

    So it is interesting to hear your story about being comfortable in coffee shops. They are my office too.

    And the office rent is cheap for a cup of coffee and a muffin.

  • Hey Yaro, totally agree! I am in the process re-ordering my schedule to make sure I get my highest priority items completed first.

    For me, exercise & health is always first because seriously… what else really matters without them? And as an entrepreneur that’s where all my energy and good ideas originate from.

    It’s not always an easy plan to follow especially when you wake up excited to start working on your business. It just takes discipline. :)

    • Too true Grace, I prioritise exercise above all else too, well besides eating and sleeping of course. I start to feel quite off if I haven’t exercised in a two or three days.

  • I find some days I can work solidly for 16 hours in the office, and others do the same amount of work, sat on the sofa in front of the TV!

    When my housemates come home they always say I haven’t “bothered” to do any work at all.

    It’s amazing really, not just to see the difference in our lives, but also the opinions of work.

    I’m more of a productivity guy, but they associate productivity with being at work, regardless of the work produced.

    I would love to write articles in a cafe, maybe I will try it!

  • Great tips! I agree completely with the idea of setting a daily quota, and getting a certain amount of work done EVERY DAMN DAY.

  • Man, Yaro, I admire your ability to make it happen amidst crowds of people.

    I once worked in a shared workspace before with a bunch of other internet marketers and I found I could stuff done only to the extent that I was kind of stand offish because I wouldn’t join in on conversations or stand around and chit chat.

    I had an outcome of how my time was to be spent and I worked to a timer for the most part giving myself a set block of minutes to accomplish a task.

    With the exception of the sound of the air conditioner there is no other noise in my working environment and I prefer being free of distraction a cafe brings (especially the distraction of have cute women I want to talk to).

    And in the same light I want to be able to tear it up anywhere which is why I admire what you’re capable of doing and I want to take this challenge on so I’m ready for whatever comes at me.

    • I will admit Lewis that in term of pure concentration I am best working at home alone. The cafe environment is distracting, but I can always write 1000 to 2000 words there once I know what I want to write. Flow state helps block things out.

      I like the social aspect of people watching, but like in a coworking space or when working with friends, much less gets done because of the constant interruption of conversation. Hence I generally go to cafes alone when I want to work. I suspect most people think I am a uni student when they see me tapping away at my laptop.

  • Cafes are impossible in small towns.. I used to love working in cafes too but now that I live in a small town I can’t sit down for 5 minutes with at least one friend sitting down next to me or the owner of the establishment having a chat! But strangely enough, I find it easier here to work in my home .. something about the stillness of the country makes it much more pleasant.

    Also because I do mostly video I find that I can’t force it either. I need to be energeized and motivated to record AND it has to be in the day for me because of the lighting. When I’ve forced it the videos have been terrible. For motivation chocolate seems to help!!

    • Fran you haven’t commented here in ages! It must be the power of facebook :-)

      I guess West End hasn’t become small enough that I will know so many people that I won’t get work done, although I certainly bump into a lot of people at three monkeys.

      Video on the other hand I completely agree, you can’t do that in cafes unless you want the crowds. I need the alone space for video recording too.

  • This was what I needed and you are right about factors which helps you produce great content. I did not try working at coffee but will try and I guess this will happen tomorrow.

  • Wow 400 a month, thats some daily quota. Daily habits are everything when your trying to get things accomplished. Have a great day on purpose!

  • Yaro, one thing I’d like to know, what do you do when you can’t be bothered to work? I struggle with motivational problems alot and it is costing me a lot of work and money.

    Say you wake up tomorrow and you have a number of articles that HAVE to be finished by tomorrow evening and you just can’t be bothered, are there any tips you could offer to help get over that feeling? :)

    • Well there are a few ways… I find making myself accountable to other people helps. Like having partners who rely on me, or telling people something will be released in a public forum so you have to get it done or look bad.

      Also the push of needing money always helps, thus if the cash isn’t coming in I tend to be motivated to figure out a way to make it come in.

      This is all much easier done when you like the jobs you are doing though. I like writing and coming up with ideas and solutions to problems. I don’t like doing my taxes or working on copy testing, hence those things are a lot harder to get me to do :-)

  • Insightful post Yaro. Hard for 9-5′ers and entrepreneurs to relate to one another because of mindset differences.

  • Ronni Mattarollo

    Hi Yaro, How did you survive the time when you were still 9 to 5 ing and just beginning your blogging? My friend suggested this as an idea for me as I love teaching (Secondary School) and teaching about the art of teaching – passion, passion, passion. My biggest worry is the passion of school days followed by many hours of night preparation makes me exhausted for any extra evening work (and even even if you love it, it is still work :)). Not sure how to ‘swing’ it.
    Cheers Ronni

    • Hi Ronni,

      I never had a 9 to 5er, the “worst” I had was a part time gig for a few months before I went traveling.

      What I did was juggle casual jobs and kept my expenses low by living at home. As my online income grew I was able to move out, but I didn’t quit my casual jobs until I was confident I could support myself with the online income.

      I recommend you check out the how I got started link in the navigation bar to hear my full story if you want more details about my early years.

      Yaro

  • I still stick to my 9-5 schedule even though I made the transfer to full-time marketer in Nov. 2011. I will say I work harder now but it’s on my terms not forced by someone else. I say work; however, I love what I do, so is it work??

    Yesterday it was 85 degrees so I decided to work from 6-10am and then from 5-8pm to get my daily tasks done. The mid-day was spent on a beach relaxing and brainstorming! You CAN’T put a price on that type of Freedom.

    Thanks for everything you do Yaro, you have been a big help in this Entrepreneur’s Journey : )

    • Right on Scott, that’s the exact kind of freedom I’m talking about and I think every human should have in their working life.

  • I downloaded your ebook, Blog Profits Blueprint, and I have to admit that this is a great ebook for those who is interested in making money blogging. I really appreciate because you giving this ebook for free, we just need join your email list and get download link, thanks so much, Yaro.

  • Hi Yaro,
    About a year and a half ago, I read Tim Ferris’ book about the 4 hour work week and was certain that it was the way i needed to go. In business school, and prior to, I always gravitated to creating my own business. I enjoyed working on my own schedule, managing to create an idea business and working at cafes till midnight. The funny thing is, the 9-5 is doable but knowing that there’s a “work and play when you want” out there keeps me motivated to do what you are advising – to create a deadline oriented goal and a habit, so I can chunk the work out. The elephant is huge, but with one bite at a time helps! It is working pretty well so far – now I just have to try the same for my workouts! (Incidentally, I also enjoy P90X)

    Bhushan

  • Ben

    P90X is awesome. It is amazing to me that most of the time things are laid out for you, like the P90X program, or a diet, or anything that is proven by other people, such as your eBook. The disconnect is when you have a program that is proven and you don’t follow it, you aren’t consistent, then you don’t get the results you thought you would get.

    I’m sure you got excellent results from the training program over time, it sounds like you were consistent and followed through with it. You look back at the starting photo and think, “Damn! I look totally different now!”. The first day I did the program, I literally could not do ONE full pull up, but as time went on, I got better. Very slowly, I saw results. At the end, you are doing pullups left and right, it is habit, it is easy.

    Just like a workout program or diet, look at your blueprint. It is literally spelled out for everyone. The only thing holding you back is yourself, your lack of consistency, lack of dedication, lack of quota’s, etc… Just like P90X and me barely doing 1 pullup, I barely got 1 visitor to my site. As time goes on, you keeping adding content, marketing it, visitors come more often, more frequently. As Patrick said, plan on spending 2 years to get your website successful. It takes time and dedication. If you are consistent and follow through, it is nearly impossible not to see better results as time goes on.

  • Yaro, I am so proud of you choosing P90X over CrossFit!

  • shades

    I have to thank you from the heart for this article. Its like it is talking 100% about me ! I am glad i found this article because lately i felt like am kinda unique/different since all people around me are 9 to 5′ers. They couldn’t understand myself and i cannot understand their’s. “..Each week will be the same over and over again, punctuated by brief holidays, until she retires. A nightmare scenario in my books….” , wow exactly!!
    Thanks for sharing your experience and ideas about the topic, have a gr8 day!

  • I love the point about entrepreneurs being artists. I have always thought business is an art no one appreciated. Thanks for the post.

  • Hi Yaro,

    Where I’m from, we don’t have the luxury of having cafes as “offices”. If we spend more than an hour and not order more food or coffee, we get nasty looks from waitresses.

    My home is far from being an ideal space – with my husband telling me that the sight of me happily (I love what I do!) sitting in front of my laptop everyday when he comes home makes his eyes hurt.

    Disapproving stares and comments do not help make quality blog posts so I try to stay away from these places when I’m working on my blog.

    Although it’s almost always hard for me to find one place where I can work, I keep at it. Someday I will be walking away with probably not $200,000, but close.

    • Oh Karen, you need to find some nicer cafes! Every single one I go to in Brisbane is staffed by friendly people. I do buy tea and sometimes food if I am hungry to support them and pay for my wifi use, but I don’t get nasty stares if I am there too long. You need to find a nicer neighbourhood by the sounds of things!

  • Thanks for you post Yaro,

    Exactly my point also, some time ago on my – Home Business Lifestyle - Blog I wrote a post titled:

    ‘What Makes a Home Business
    a – Happy – one..?’

    In that post I wrote:

    ‘…, chances are that like many people trying to build their own
    Home Business they aren’t really building a Business, and instead
    only just build an other Job with possibly an even more Horrible Boss
    than the Monster Boss you already have, because the Boss
    would be You!!!’

    I do think that indeed it’s important to also frequently just take some time to - Relax - Because it usually helps with getting New Energy and New Inspiration. In alignment with this, on my - Travel Lifestyle - Blog I have a few posts with also some intresting eye opening info about what some historical figures have said about the Power of Laziness (you can also actually find it back on that same Blog on a special page as must have Travel Reading.)

  • People who love the 9-5 day jobs and entrepreneurs like us are definitely living in two different world. some of my friends have the same mentality, friday is always a big deal to them because it’s week ends, but Mondays are always dreading. I enjoyed the post.

  • Yaro,
    Unfortunately my computer is attached to the wall :( Hope to afford a lap top soon. I like peace and quiet when I am working too, no radio or anything. Thankfully my husband works a crazy shift so if he is here he’s usually sleeping. My kids and grandkids are lining up at our pool in the back yard and I love that but it is still a distraction because I feel I should go chit chat. I try to work during these times but it’s not very productive

    My problem is this…I have always been, in my husband’s eyes “plagued with the entrepreneur’s spirit.” He is very much a 9-5r and will not take a risk on anything. He is such a bore. lol We are polar opposites. I find that I am feeling very alone in what I do. Not so much that I need people around me because I have that, I just want to meet someone in the flesh, a real living human being, that understands what I am doing and wants to talk about it!!!!!

    Just this morning I was so excited because some of my major keywords took a huge jump and put me at #1 on page one!!! I’m trying to tell my husband about how I did this and tweeked that and,….. and,….. and……….he wasn’t listening!!! .He could care less!!! He doesn’t understand any of it and quite frankly doesn’t want to indulge me in coversation. He loves me, we have been happily married for 28 years but he hates the entrepreneur in me. I am new at blogging. Just launched in January and it is like he is waiting for me to fail. Ha, I have news for him. I am so freakin passionate about this I spend at least 60-80 hours a week sitting at my desk. (Yes, I probably exaggerated)
    Okay, my point is this, where do you find people, that do what you do, without going to expensive conferences and summits?

  • Great post, Yaro! I admit, I haven’t been to your blog in years, but I just stumbled across it and found this post to be inspiring.

  • This blog post total reads like an autobiography! It speaks a lot of the struggles that entrepreneurs have in managing themselves. I totally agree that we can be our best and worst enemies when it comes to productivity.

  • Just think Yaro, you could’ve come to the gym with me – but you piked! ;0)

  • Inspirational stuff Yaro! It just hit the right spot for me for where I stand in my life right now. Tired of fighting myself, ready for some real changes. I’m also listening to the audiobook “The Power of Habit” which also covers the same topic to a great extent. I’m really looking for ways to move towards a life that suits me best to reach my full potential. Thanks for your blog post.

  • Well thats great dude. At least you’re enjoying it. Will this mean we’ll see a Yaro’s home workout DVD anytime soon? :0)

  • Yaro, you are a simply awesome person. Thank you. – Adam Rafferty

  • Thank you for your articles. I have just read several about working from home. One topic I haven’t seen that might be interesting is going from an office to home and the ‘feelings’ around that. I am about to close an office I don’t need and use two bedrooms at home for that purpose. It feels like stepping backwards even though financially it makes sense. Any suggestions?

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