Do you want to conquer the world, but also stay in bed watching Netflix? Yeah, you are not alone.
There is no shortage of girl bosses and hustle boys these days but deep down we are all trying to fight our laziness every single day.
Highly productive people aren’t any less lazy than you are, they just found a way to overcome their laziness. Here are a few tips to fight your inner lazy sloth.
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.
Focus, Focus, Focus
So, you have probably set your goals for the coming year – or at least thought about setting them. Right?
Everywhere you look these days, the number 1 tip to achieving goals is…well, SETTING goals. But even if you set goals and have a clear plan on how to accomplish them, you are nowhere without FOCUS.
In the current age of social media and cellphones, we became conditioned to enjoy switching between tasks. We love a little distraction.
Why? We are rewarded with a hit of dopamine every time we respond to notifications: the sound of a new e-mail, a buzzing phone, clicking on the red icon in your Facebook app and so on. We expect new information to come to us when we click on it. A lot of the times, however, this is not even the case. That new e-mail wasn’t your friend, but just spam. However, the dopamine was released in ANTICIPATION of the news. For that reason we keep on letting ourselves be distracted. The feeling is just too good.
You probably already know what you have to do. Turn the notifications off when you are working. Mute your phone and close that Facebook tab.
Baby Steps & The 2-Minute Rule
Another reason why we have trouble finishing a task is because the task is WAY TOO BIG.
On average we lose our concentration after 20 minutes. Taking this into account, you are much more able to focus when you plan 20 minute tasks, followed by a short break, than when you plan a 3 hour task.
Also, we often schedule tasks that are so big that we lose our motivation to even get started. If you don’t feel like starting on something, agree to only work on it for 10 minutes. You can set an alarm 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 on it some more. Most of the time the hardest part is to get started, so you have to trick yourself into it a little.
Another tip is the 2-minute rule termed by David Allen in his bestselling book Getting Things Done: ‘If a task takes less than two minutes, then do it now.’ For instance: a quick phone call, planning a meeting, doing simple e-mail. It will cost more of your time AND energy to fist read the email, then decide you will handle it later, then somehow remind yourself to do it later, then to reread it and actually do it.
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)?