Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

9 Quick Tricks for Overcoming Inertia

Mountain Stream

I could write blog posts for Always Well Within all day long.  But, I sometimes suffer from inertia when it comes to longer projects.  A burst of wild creativity gets me going at the start. In fact, I feel unstoppable for a while.  But gradually, inertia sets in when it comes to carefully coloring inside the lines.

The sensation of pushing a boulder up a hill can be unnerving when you have a deadline to meet, a promise to keep, or your livelihood depends on getting the work done. Inertia happily feeds the demon of self-judgment, stirs up the ogre of worry, and gives voice to the devil of self doubt.  Whatever you do, don’t give these monsters free rein!

9 Ways to Overcome Inertia

You can beat inertia by applying the right tricks.  This is my mix of methods. One of them almost always works.  Be skillful by choosing one that fits your particular circumstances and mood.

  1. Just get started. Do anything to get the energy and inspiration moving.  Start anywhere:  in the beginning, middle or end.
  2. Remove distractions.  Knowing you are prone to inertia, don’t let distractions lure you away from your goal.
  3. Have a preset plan for your project. Then follow it no matter what.
  4. Do the fun parts to get out of your funk.  I know it sounds like cheating, but it really gets the juices flowing again.
  5. Remember your purpose and rekindle your belief in your work.
  6. Allow yourself to do a mindless task for a short but set amount of time.  Then get on with your work in progress.
  7. Taking a nap always refreshes me and makes me more enthusiastic to get back on track.
  8. Go for a walk and get some fresh air.  The luxury of space and increased oxygen to your brain can easily refresh your view.
  9. Take a day off and thoroughly enjoy your self.  We all have lulls in our motivation.  It’s OK for you to have one too.

The brain needs downtime to replenish itself.  Inertia may be a sign that you are not taking enough mental breaks during the day, which are crucial to increase productivity and boost attention.  Inertia might also indicate it’s time to check in with yourself to see if this is the right project for you.

Don’t waste time feeling embarrassed when you are stuck.  Inertia gets the best of us at times.  However, if you find inertia a constant companion you might want to see your doctor to consider if something more complex may be going on.

Do you sometimes hit a wall when you’re in the midst of a project?  What do you do to overcome inertia?

I’m happy you’re here! If you liked this article, please consider subscribing for free updates by email.  And thanks so much for sharing.  With love, Sandra



Do You Know the Remarkable Benefits of Regret?


The Heart of October: Inspiring Links


  1. Hi Sandra,
    These are all great ideas and very timely too as I still have 2 1/2 months left on my latest contracted project and I’m feeling sluggish. The data is dense and hard to focus on, collate and extrapolate from.

    I have been in a state of intermittent inertia for months due to a course I have been taking that has negatively affected my mental set, my paid work and my blogging. The effects of it have been fuzzy thinking and loss of drive.

    The cause was what you indicated above ie. the course was not the right one to have taken on when I took it on. I stumbled along until I took a long walk on a frosty morning and finally came to my senses. I don’t have to live up to a commitment to stay the course to the bitter end. If I bog down and uncover the fact that a project and the people I’m working with aren’t a good fit. Or if I find the people or even I have become too”difficult” to deal with in a kind and meaningful way, then it’s okay to call it a day and walk away.

    I have always relied on 5. I have frequently used 1, 2, 6, 8 and 9. I’ve tried 7 but it wasn’t for me but 3 and 4 that are new ideas to try. Thanks so much for sharing them.

    With much love,

    • Hi timethief,

      I’m glad these tips have given you some new ideas for kicking inertia. That sounds like a very long project and I can fully appreciate how it’s easy to get into an unmotivated state. I have my ups and downs too.

      That seems like a pretty intense experience in your course. I’m glad you are free now! I know it’s not easy to leave sometimes once we make a commitment, especially if you are a responsible person.

      I recall now that naps don’t invigorate you! We’re all so different and each have to find our own methods. Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. jean sampson

    Hi, Sandra! If I would just leave this computer alone, I would get a LOT more done !:) 🙂 🙂 I wouldn’t need any suggestions, except to “step away from the computer.”
    I’ll bet that I am not the only one, either!

  3. The real questions about inertia is “What do you feel about you want to do?”.

    When you think of your task and feel frustation, feel it as a burden, then no strategy or tips will help. No reasoning and no thechnology will push you forward anough.

    So you need to change the way you feel about something, than inertia will disapear. Beacuse it’s a symptom not a cause your avoidance to act.

    • I think there’s a lot of truth to what you say. But, sometimes, I think we just need to snap out of a lull too. Many thanks for your insights,

  4. Hi Sandra,

    I find that for me, keeping moving has a lot to do with how I feel physically. I have to keep to a low-carb diet in order to feel really sharp and energetic (which I generally do, because I want to feel that way). But if I have a lower energy day, or part of the day, I tend to listen to my body and fit my projects to the energy I currently have. I can always meditate or do something more mindless, and then tackle more active tasks when I have higher energy. That way something is still getting done most of the time.

    And if I really get inertia on something, though, I start to ask myself whether it’s something I should be doing at all. I think it’s always best to try and choose projects we’re at least reasonably excited about, although of course that’s not always possible. If I do have to do something really boring, though, I find a cup of tea and a nice healthy snack helps the medicine go down, so to speak. 🙂

    On a daily basis, the way I beat inertia is to keep a list of little projects on my phone, with reminders that pop up to help me remember them. I pick two or three achievable goals every day, whatever seems most important, and just try to get through them. I do a little work on them, do something else if I get bored or tired, then do a little more. It’s pretty easy to make steady progress that way, and not get overwhelmed. I recommend it. 🙂

    • Hi Jennifer,

      Great suggestions here! I’m complete in accord with your suggestion of following your energy rather than pushing it. This is really the best approach for pacing ourselves and still getting things done.

      I like the way you use your I-phone app too. I’m getting better at using my to-do list in a similar way.

      So true that we are not going to love every task! Mixing it with a nice cup of tea and good snack is such a terrific idea. Thanks for enriching us with these suggestions.

  5. Good tips Sandra, as you’ve suggested, sometimes we just need to step away and take a break. Joyful and physical activities are best for me. Walking, dancing, gardening or sometimes, simply resting like a power nap!

    • Brad, I love this menu of joyful activities like walking, dancing, gardening, and resting. I’m glad you’ve found your way.

  6. Hi Sandra….Inertia only hits when you have a lot of leisure. We often complain of having less time or no time for self but when we have, we become sluggish, learn to procrastinate and fall an easy prey to inertia. I never had this demon attack me till I was in service. I could drag myself out of bed even with aching limbs to rush to my work. So when you have the motivation and the motive, inertia melts at their feet!

    I completely agree with you that we must walk, rest and take a nap to rejuvenate our energy. I have been doing that….. it seems for ages! Thanks for sharing great tips. They are a good reminder that we must remain productive and active for all our projects.

    • This is such an excellent point, Balroop! Inertia is a luxury that many people cannot afford. I think it tends to arise more when you work in solitude on your own, and there seems to be more space and time than there actually is. I love your unique perspective.

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén