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June 21, 2024 4 mins

Get unstuck by doing something practical

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
Welcome to Before Breakfast, a production of iHeartRadio. Good Morning.
This is Laura. Welcome to the Before Breakfast podcast. Today's
tip is that if you are feeling disengaged or stuck
at work, clean out the office fridge. This may seem random,

but there are some reasons that doing something at least
semi productive might help. Today's tip comes from a recent
Harvard Business Review idea cast, podcast and article about what
to do when you are feeling unmotivated at work. Harvard
Business School professor Boris Grousberg and research associate Robin Abrahamson

laid out a four step plan for when you are
feeling particularly unmotivated. One of their ideas was to clean
out your office fridge. There were a few reasons they
suggested this random idea. For one thing, if you clean
out the fridge, you stop ruminating about how stuck you

are feeling. You are taking a break from the work
that had you feeling disengaged or stressed, and you are
doing something completely different that in and of itself can
boost your mood. By cleaning out the office fridge, you
are also doing something to help your coworkers you feel useful.

Grousberg and Abrahamson note that doing something that makes you
feel useful can help you get unstuck, so you see
your own capabilities. Some colleagues may even notice. One might
hope and say thanks, which will feel good and foster
connection too. If the fridge was previously rather gross, the

benefit is that you may be eliminating something you experienced
as a daily frustration. Instead of an overstuffed and dirty
fridge annoying you every time you go to get cream
for your coffee, the clean fridge will contribute to a
sense of calm. I like this recommendation to clean out

the office fridge because it is so concrete, kind of
like the advice to count to ten if you're feeling angry.
It gives you something specific to do when you are
not at your best. Of course, I should note that
Greuzburg and Abrahamson are not recommending a day of proclastic cleaning.

Anytime you feel a little bored or stumped at work.
You can't spend all your time at work cleaning out
the fridge. Also, it's sometimes worth sitting with a hard
problem and denying yourself the easy win of doing something else.
Sometimes an easy win is just procrastination, but if it's

not going to be possible to just sit with the
hard problem, then maybe a break to clean the fridge
will allow you to accomplish something quickly and then get
back to work with renewed energy and positivity. In the meantime,
this is Laura. Thanks for listening, and here's to making

the most of our time. Thanks for listening to Before Breakfast.
If you've got questions, ideas, or feedback, you can reach
me at Laura at Laura vandercam dot com. Before Breakfast

is a production of iHeartMedia. For more podcasts from iHeartMedia,
please visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you
listen to your favorite shows.

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Laura Vanderkam

Laura Vanderkam

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