Tasks Aren’t Getting Done

Feeling distracted, burnt out, little motivation…I deal with this all the time.

Apparently it’s a common feeling to have when you’re a busy professional, even if you get a solid 8 hours of sleep each night. It’s like your brain is a stubborn child that won’t budge when he’s told to put his coat on and start walking to school, even though he knows he needs to.


Many times in my career I’ve felt like just…well, just not doing anything. It’s a very annoying feeling, but apparently it has a name:


According to ChatGPT, “ennui” is a term that describes a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement. It conveys a sense of deep, existential boredom and a weariness with the world, often without a specific cause. Unlike simple boredom, ennui carries a profound sense of disillusionment or emptiness.

I am weary; I’m so busy all the time that perhaps it’s actually starting to wear on me. I figured writing this article might help to keep the momentum going, as I have a lot to do as I’m writing this.

However, it might also be lethargy, a state of being where you feel a lack of energy or a lack of interest in doing things, even though you might still care about outcomes or your responsibilities. It captures that sense of not having the motivation or drive to act, despite not being indifferent.

Either way, I need to keep moving forward or the tasks will start piling up.


My thought process about what I’m experiencing is that something is missing and therefore I feel like doing the tasks I know I need to do just won’t matter somehow. Perhaps it’s an existential crisis? A feeling of purposelessness? Creative exhaustion? It’s difficult to say.

The one factor that remains is quality, and with that comes an innate sense of responsibility…so I feel guilty for not completing and/or working on the tasks I need to complete.

I care about my reputation, but I also care about my health. I admit that I was more productive with my output when I disregarded my mental health, but the problem is that this isn’t a sustainable approach.

The Marines taught me to leave things better than I found them. The mind is always going to tell you that you’re more tired than you physically are…but what the USMC failed to teach us is that if all you do is work in the mental realm, you have to learn how to get some R&R in your brain  as well.


My energy levels have definitely dipped, even after a caffeine boost. It’s probably a combination of low activity levels, poor sleep, and some other factors I don’t even know about.

This doesn’t help me right this second, however, and sometimes I think energy just dips. It just does, and there’s not much you can do about it.

Well, except push through.

Emotions are really useful in this regard, I’ve found. Anger is a motivational emotion when at the right balance (too angry and you’ll just up and quit whatever it is you’re doing). Frustration is distracting. Happiness helps keep things moving, but being too relaxed is also a hindrance.

However you look at it, my energy isn’t currently being spent on the things I need to be doing.

Perhaps fear is important? That’s a key component in human survival, right? That’ll focus your energy into a survival mode, which usually translates into action…and in my case, action that gets things done for my clients.

Figuring It Out

For now, I think that I’ll be able to push through this feeling. It’s good for me to reflect on this so if I come across it again – which is inevitable – then I’ll know how to take practical steps to keep moving.

Whether it’s ennui, lethargy, or just plain apathy, being unfocused and unmotivated isn’t helping anyone. Marines push themselves, but I’m no longer in the USMC. I’m just Paul now, so Paul has to figure out how to deal with this how Paul should.

Okay…back to work for now. I think I’ve written enough to distract myself from what really needs to be done now.

Paul Cassarly is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, musician, and entrepreneur originally from Altoona, PA. He owns and operates Cassus Media, a digital marketing solutions company that focuses on helping small businesses and government entities achieve their digital marketing goals.