The Problematic Afternoon is the sort of mental minefield peculiar to artists, writers, freelancers, grad students and other “self-employed” types. The Problematic Afternoon represents the time of day where morning’s promise has finally and completely worn off, all talent seems squandered, and it has somehow become impossible to produce any kind of quality work. This is where frustrated plans turn into a larger existential anxiety over your choice of career and life in general.

4:30pm is, for me, the absolute bottom of the day, when my ability to focus is at its lowest and I’m most prone to second-guess my skills, choices and right to even exist. It’s no coincidence that it’s also the time of day I’m most likely to slink guiltily out of the apartment to inflict my mood on the larger world. The afternoon constitutional is the natural remedy for the problematic afternoon, as is the one-off project. The one-off project has the potential to make everything much worse if it fails to go anywhere, but at least you’re working, rather than surfing the Internet (which is how most Problematic Afternoons can be diagnosed). The afternoon constitutional, in turn, has the potential to lead to a sort of endless meandering until dinner. But sometimes simply being on your feet will clear your head enough to let the ideas back in, and you may cut the walk short in favor of a one-off project.