How To Deal With Bad Days
Bad days are like days when you feel like doing nothing. You feel unmotivated, don't want to do anything… But the problem is that you have a lot of work to do.
On this video, I answer a question from a reader that asks me how I've managed to create 30 PluralSight Courses in less than 1 year, with a good time spare… How have I dealt with bad days?
John: Hey, John Sonmez from simpleprogrammer.com. I got wrote an email a while back about how I created 30 PluralSight Courses in less than a year and I got back a response from Hitarth. Hitarth said, “Hi John, thanks for that. It’s pretty inspiring to read about how you set yourself such a daunting goal and ended up achieving it with 2 months to spare. Curious to know how you dealt with the “bad days” though. Did you just keep pushing through or did you let it go and pick up slack on the good days? Cheers, Hitarth.”
This is a good question. I think this is something that’s—I definitely had bad days. Just to give you a little bit of background. What I had done when I created these 30 PluralSight courses in one year is basically I had a schedule, I had a quota system for myself and I set it up so that I would do 3 modules of the course which is like about an hour of finished video per week. That was my pace. Based on that each course had about 5 modules in it so I was getting a course on roughly every 2 weeks and I had enough time to get to 30 courses, so I kind of had this specked out. That was my plan.
So, how did I deal with bad days? You might ask yourself, “Well, did I always get done what I planned to do every week?” The answer is actually yes. I had bad days though. I had days where I woke up and I didn’t feel like working on the PluralSight courses. I had days where I got in a fight with my wife or I had days where I just was not feeling very good or whatever it was, I didn’t have any motivation, got some bad news on a rental property or something like that or had some disaster, a fire come up that I had to deal with. But I still committed to and made sure that I got—I had enough slack in my week having 3 modules a week. Sometimes I was staying up on Sunday night getting it done because here’s the thing.
The key thing is in order to be successful you have to be consistent. You have to make certain promises to yourself. The most important thing I think is how much does your work mean to yourself, right? If you break your word with yourself and your promises to yourself start to become meaningless, you can no longer hold yourself to things. You kind of lose this discipline and you lose control and power over your life because now when you say you’re going to do something you might not do it, right?
I’m pretty sure now like 99% sure that if I say I’m going to so something, if I commit to something, a promise to myself I will do it even if it’s extremely, extremely hard. That allows me—I have to use that power judiciously. I can’t just commit to things that I know I can’t do, but when I commit to a thing I’m pretty sure I’m going to get that done. I can be very confident that is going to happen. That’s really important to be able to plan and set goals and achieve those goals.
How did I deal with the bad days? I soldiered through it. I forced myself to go and do the thing that I committed to that I needed to. A lot of people they are looking for good days and they’re looking for motivation to get things done. Sometimes your best creative work is done when you’re motivated but a lot of times it isn’t.
There’s another quote, I can’t remember who said this, but I know that it’s quoted in The War of Art, you can get that book here by Steven Pressfield and he says—someone had asked this famous author, maybe it was—it might have been Hemingway—maybe not, I don’t know, but anyway, they asked him, “How do you be so creative? Do you wait until you feel creative?” or something essentially like that. He said that “At precisely 8 AM everyday inspiration strikes me” because that’s when he sits down to work.
What he was basically saying there is that like you just have to do the work. You got to sit down in the chair, put your butt in the chair and do the thing even if you don’t feel like doing it and the inspiration will come. In trying to get something done even creative things you’ve got to just write. When I was writing my soft skills book there were tons of times when I didn’t feel like running. When I was doing PluralSight courses there were tons of times when—but sometimes my best work came out of those days because I forced myself to do it. I think that’s key.
Even if you force yourself to do something and you did a crappy job and you’re going to throw it away it’s still worth doing because keeping that commitment and that promise to yourself is the thing that’s going to matter in the long run.
In dealing with bad days the answer is you just soldier through it. You don’t wait for good days. You keep pushing through and it takes guts, it takes courage, it’s going to be painful, but if you develop this skill in life you’re going to be unstoppable because most people don’t have the guts to do this. Most people live their lives based on how they feel not on what they plan to do. If you can be the kind of person that commits to a thing, plans to do it and successfully does it regardless of what they feel, another quote here, someone recently I heard they said that, “Discipline is doing what you’re supposed to do whether you feel like it or not.”
I’ll leave it with that. If you like this video, subscribe to the channel and I’ll talk to you next time. Take care.