I get conflicted sometimes between just getting something done, and waiting until I’m in the right mood to do it effectively. I’ve been ‘trained’ – haven’t we all? – to push myself to do things I think I ought to, even though I don’t feel like it, and then to feel bad if I don’t actually do it, because then I’m being lazy or procrastinating. Yet I know that pushing myself doesn’t work well for several reasons.

When I push myself to do something, there’s always a part of me that’s resisting it. So I use more energy than necessary, because I’m overcoming my own resistance as well as doing whatever it is. Even easy tasks seem to leave me worn out.

And somehow those tasks take longer, or get more complicated, or involve problems I wasn’t expecting: the computer starts going slow; the phone call doesn’t go as I had hoped; I can’t find a vital element I need; the bus is late; the person I need to talk to isn’t available.

When I look at it objectively, it’s obvious that pushing myself isn’t the most effective way to use my time and energy, so I’m experimenting with a different approach, and slowly retraining myself!

It all hinges on the mood we’re in. and the grand realisation is that our ‘bad’ moods are not static. They can change in a heartbeat. The only thing that keeps us in a bad mood is if we resist it being like it is. If we accept how it is and go along with it, it runs out of steam, because we naturally incline towards something more useful.

What’s more, we can help ourselves to change our mood. Firstly, we can just take a break. Often, sitting down for ten minutes with a cup of coffee is enough to get me going again. It allows the mood to shift itself.

Secondly, we can prompt ourselves. If I’m feeling fed up, what would cheer me up a bit? If I’m feeling irritable, what would soothe me? If I’m feeling low on energy, what would give me a little burst to get me going?

It’s not hard to change our mood – we do it all the time without thinking about it. So let’s get in the right mood, and then tackle that task with a bit of gusto – it works so much better in every way!

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