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What Do You Do When You Can't Work On Work?

Thursday September 30, 2021

Anon writes,

What do you do when you can’t work on work? I know that the work needs to be done. My team discussed it and made plans for it. I am the one who has to do it, and I agreed to it. Also, it seems simple. But I am not doing it. I can’t. What do I do?

I’m sorry to hear about this situation, Anon. But I’m glad you brought it up, because this happens to a lot of us when we get buried.

Personally I know I’ve experienced this on projects in the past. Part of the problem, IMO, is that the intuition can make the issue seem so vague that it’s almost ethereal, and maybe even scary. It is immediately more like a mystery, and it can even seem like there’s no reason for it at all.

However, it’s worth considering that maybe other perspectives and methods can help, aside from this future-outcomes intuition. So when this kind of thing comes up I hope you will start to look deeper into the reasons.

I know it can also be painful to start to dig deeper, as if to contradict one’s own ego-attached Ni functionality, but I think it’s usually only painful when it’s a new situation, or it’s not your normal thing.

Here are some examples and possible solutions. Does it seem to fit any of these?

  • I don’t see it getting done, in the future, in my intuition
    • Example Case There is a blocker that you haven’t identified yet.
    • Possible Solution Ask your intuition, what is blocking this? Can it be worked around for now?
    • Example Case There is no longer enough time or energy (your energy) to do this.
    • Possible Solution Identify a minimum level of energy needed to show that you have started the work, but it seems to require more time or effort. (Estimate this if possible)
  • The deal has changed
    • Example Case There were unforeseen details that have come up.
    • Possible Solution Identify the specific details, identify that this is a change in scope, and discuss it ASAP.
  • The situation is no longer equitable
    • Example Case I am not being properly recognized for my role and work so far. I’ve done too much, for too little.
    • Possible Solution Find a way to recognize yourself. You may need to use more Si for this, spending time on your recall function. For example, “just to recap where we started, and how far we have come, this project started as a humble chair, but now it is a floating pool recliner made out of special materials.” And so on.
  • I have lost my bearings and don’t know where I am at in the project.
    • Example Case There are 36 sub-projects and I have spent five hours on just one of them today.
    • Possible Solution Rest, immediately. Eventually, bring your mind around to listing aspects of the project. After some time has passed, organize the listed aspects. Then, present these listed aspects as part of your work outcome for today.
  • There is a bigger issue here that I’m not acknowledging.
    • Example Case I already told my boss I’m not doing this kind of project anymore, and I agreed to this, but I shouldn’t have.
    • Possible Solution As painful as it may be, it is time to think about a way to bring it up, again. If you do the work, maybe that shows that you’re not as sure as you said you were. So it works against you to do the work. Maybe you do some, maybe none. But the lines of communication should probably be opened up.
  • There is something else I need to do right now.
    • Example Case My intuition tells me to work on another project for a while. But this one’s more important?
    • Possible Solution Try to work on the other project for a little while, even as a simple way to build up task momentum.

I hope some of those are helpful, Anon. The intuition is weird that way—a lot of times there’s a specific reason for the feeling, but it doesn’t really feel like that initially.

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