Paper work, filings, product briefings, shitty user stats, and some rather tough questions that put a deep blow on a founder‘s head…. Most entrepreneurs have to go through these bouts of hopelessness, depression and a drop-zero to productivity.
I'd love to learn how you guys break out of your "down" times.
Step back and take a day off. Then revalidate why you're doing this. Would the world be a little better off if you succeeded at your startup? Do people really need it? Remember the WHY. Or maybe figure out a new WHY. As long as your base assumptions are solid, you haven't failed. You just haven't succeeded YET.
It helps to set a monthly goal (make sure you set your expectations to what you want, not what you expect). Then list the steps you need to attain that goal in order of priority/effectiveness. Break those down into weekly milestones. Write them down. Maybe have someone else review them. At the end of each month, review what went well and what didn't. Do that and you'll make progress. Maybe you won't reach your goals, but that's ok. You have to aim high to reach high. Aim low... and well, why did you leave your job to do this startup again?
Get out of the office, put your phone down and get back in touch with why you are doing it all in the first place. We are so driven that we spend every waking hour pushing. Take a three day break and reaffirm your meaning and purpose. We are not superman, but our brains think they are.
I think realizing what you're feeling helps a lot, since you don't want to give up over something like that. It's easier to get over a slump when you know it's a slump.
The Oatmeal had a comic that, to me, really accurately describes the feeling. http://theoatmeal.com/comics/creativity
When you make stuff, you breathe out, but you need to breathe in eventually. Breathing in being like read some books, go outside, draw something. Realize there's a life beyond paperwork and product briefings. It makes you feel much better.
There are no bad results. You either get what you want, or you get what you need (in this case, you learn what does not work).