Do you want to conquer the world, but also stay in bed and eat pizza? Yeah, you are not alone. There is no shortage of girl bosses and hustle boys these days but deep down aren’t we are all trying to fight our inner lazy sloth?
Highly productive people aren’t any less lazy than you are, they just found a way to overcome their laziness. These tips will boost your productivity without breaking a sweat.
Take A Nap
Taking a nap is the ULTIMATE lazy way to becoming more productive. Naps up to 20 minutes boost your attention, alertness and overall productivity. One study showed that a 20 minute nap is MORE effective than either 200 mg of caffeine or exercise.
During longer naps, which result in slow wave sleep and REM sleep, neuronal connections are formed and altered. This leads to improved creative thinking, problem solving, learning and long-term memory. Just to name a few benefits.
Prioritizing is key if you want to get things done. Research shows that working more than 55 hours a week causes such a steep decline in your productivity that the work you do isn’t effective anymore. AT ALL. So instead of working more and more, ask yourself which tasks are crucial for reaching your goal. Focus on them and KICK ASS at them. You are judged on what you do best so strive for quality over quantity.
Are you trying to stop yourself from procrastinating, over and over again? Stop trying! Research shows that moderate procrastination can boost your creativity. In one study moderate procrastinators came up with 28% more creative ideas. By letting a thought or idea simmer for a while you give your brain time to create different connections and simply think more freely. During this period creativity has a chance to manifest itself.
Focus, Focus, Focus
It’s pretty difficult to focus in today’s world of social media and cellphones. We have become conditioned to ENJOY switching between tasks. We are rewarded with the release of dopamine every time we respond to a notification. We expect NEW information to come to us when we click on it. However, often times, you did not get an interesting e-mail but just a spam message. But the dopamine was already released in anticipation of the news, so the addictive effect stays the same.
Yeah, You probably already know what you have to do. The only way to protect yourself from this notification addiction is to mute your phone and close those tabs.
Another reason why we have trouble finishing a task is because the task is WAY TO BIG. On average we lose our concentration after 20 minutes. Taking this into account, You are much more able to stay productive when you plan several 20 minute short tasks, followed by a break, than when you plan a 2 hour long task.
Also, we often schedule tasks that are SO big that we lose our motivation to even start. If you have trouble starting, try this: agree with yourself that you will only work on it for 10 minutes. Set an alarm clock for some extra dramatic effect. There is a high chance that after those 10 minutes you came into the flow and you actually want to work some more. Plus, your brain likes closure. Unfinished tasks stay active in our brain. Therefore, by simply starting on a task you will feel motivated to keep on working.
Don’t Trust Your Future Self
How many times have you convinced yourself that you will start doing something tomorrow? And how many times did you end up NOT starting? We are GREAT at convincing ourselves of the idea that our future self WILL have the motivation to do it. ‘I will do it. Just not right now. I will do it next time’. NEWSFLASH: you will NOT magically have all the motivation in the world the next time. When you realize this, you are left with two choices. You either accept that you are not going to do it OR you will conclude that you are better off doing the thing right now because you will not feel like it tomorrow either.
Find A Positive Work Environment (And A Work Buddy!)
You probably know the quote by entrepreneur John Rohn: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
The environment you are in indeed has a HUGE effect on you. In How Complaining Rewires The Brain: What You Think, You Become we already discussed that behavior is contagious. We are masters of imitation, and while this is great when it comes to positive behavior, it’s not so great when it’s something we don’t want.
So if you surround yourself with people that complain and are simply not motivated to get stuff done, you can imagine this is not the best environment to be in. By surrounding yourself with likeminded people and people that you can learn from, you have a much better chance of reaching your goals.
Also pay attention to your physical environment. Make sure you match your personality and activities to your environment. Do you need to concentrate or are you easily distracted? Find a quiet spot. Are you energized by having people around you? Find a fun flexible working spot or café.
It’s Fine To Fail
Are you secretly avoiding starting on something because you are worried you might fail? According to Arianna Huffington’s mother: ‘Failure is the stepping stone to success.’ And boy, was she right!
We all need to realize that it is OK to fail and we need to accept that you WILL fail sooner or later. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start. It’s simply a part of the learning process. Plus, there are even many positive sides to experiencing failure.
Besides, failure isn’t failure until you give up. Joanna K. Rowling could have given up after receiving 12 rejections for her Harry Potter manuscript. It would have been a failed attempt at getting her book published. But she tried one more time and the rest is history.
Will you try this and beat your laziness (once in a while)?