I have the impression that people (including myself, I'm not going to be ignorant) have the nature of locking themselves up if they have an 'off day'. It's a lacking of inspiration, stimulation and encouragement to go on sometimes.

Of course as a good PM or PL, you want to have the occurence of these periods as low as possible. As a PM or PL, people depend on your input and on your outcomes and if you slow down, probably the whole project slows down.

How do you keep yourself motivated on days that you cannot find the drive to go for it 100%? What are your tricks to keep you fresh and motivated?

For example: If I have a bad day (and it only happens once every few years) I oblige myself to go to one of my colleagues and ask for something. No mather what, even if it is how it's going with his work, I always come back a bit refreshed. Seeying other people work, often stimulates me to get back on track with my own job.

  • I can hardly find a relevance between this question and project management...
    – yegor256
    Apr 20, 2011 at 11:29

3 Answers 3

  • One of the most refreshing things you can do is, as you mention, talking with people -- not only occasional chat with one of colleagues but also some planned discussion around topics which are important but not necessarily urgent.

  • Another idea is to use such time to sharpen the saw -- learn something new or improve your PM toolbox. Actually it's almost always bad time to do this so treat it as opportunity which may pay off pretty soon.

  • Also you can try to overcome such mood. One of methods which proved to be worthy for me is do-it-now day. You just switch to the mode when you deal only with whatever comes next. This focus change makes it much easier to do something constructive and valuable and, at the same time, you finish a lot of small tasks which would wait for their turn pretty long time otherwise.

  • A couple of times I used such mediocre days to make them even more miserable trying to complete especially dull tasks. This doesn't do any good in terms of your enthusiasm and engagement but at least you get some really boring task done which, surprisingly enough, can be pretty rewarding.

  • Consider taking the day off. Especially when you risk the situation may last longer than a single day. Even a single day off can be like taking a deep breath before diving back under the surface again. Personally I like to use such a break for some physical activity which is great in terms of stop thinking about the work for a moment.


List down the things that absolutely definitely need to get done that day, delegate them out and take off. Pushing yourself through a 'rough day' often does more 'damage' than good - don't let the team see you under stress, part of the role is to always be balanced and in control and if you're having a rough day of it, do what you can - including not being there - to not show it. PM Psychology 101.


In the afternoons, I can definitely slip into 'off' moments. So what I do is I drop whatever I'm doing and go for a 20 minute walk around the block. I don't go for a slow, leisurely walk. Instead, I go for a power walk. When I get back to the office, whatever steam I needed to blow off was effectively blown away during the speed walk.

I also find it helps to talk to people face to face. In a world filled with faceless chats and emails, it's easier to say things using a sarcastic or negative tone, but when you see someone face to face, you may find it easier to keep yourself in check.

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