Do you ever feel that you are NOT 100% your best, that you aren't at the top of your game, having the most brilliant insights, and that maybe you left your most creative problem-solving head at home today?
About 100 times a day I have that feeling.
So what to do? Berate ourselves for where we are? Curse not getting enough sleep, the frustrating conversation we just had, or the after work commitment we have made and wish we hadn't? All reasonable but ultimately won't either solve that tricky problem you have OR make you feel any better about your day.
Wanna play a game with me?
First of all, what get measured gets done, so on a scale of 1-10, how do you feel? 1 being "I'm sobbing under my desk right now", and 10 ....well, you probably wouldn't be reading this because you'd be in action making the most of how amazingly focused and productive you feel. You get the picture.
Second, stand up and do something else for 1-3 mins. I suggest something physical like stretching/dancing to some music, doing a quick Qi Gong pat down (google it), or like I did today on my virtual retreat, literally shake your body for 3 mins. Now check your score. I'll bet it went up.
Don't believe your mind.
A millisecond after you reported that score though, your mind will have jumped in with "Nah, you don't really feel any better, you still have all those stressors you had a few minutes ago." Yes, that's right, your mind will want to persuade you that feeling better must be an illusion created by being present with yourself. Tricksy mind.
Don't wait until you don't feel good to have a plan.
As with any other job, you'll want to have your tools handy ahead of time. If you wait until you are feeling crappy to wonder what you should do to not feel crappy, your crappiness will tell you that there's nothing you can do about it.
Trust the data and build your toolbox.
Try the before/after scoring with a few tools of your own. You might text a friend, watch a funny video, look at cat pictures....whatever you think might work. Then write them down and commit to reaching for them in any moment you are struggling to focus, or when you are wanting a more inspired version of yourself to show up. Ask other people what they do when they get stuck and test it out for yourself.
Above all, don't let where you are right now, define where you could be in the next 5 minutes.