One of my biggest flaws is laziness. I’m an expert in procrastination. Sometimes, it’s just too easy to just stay in bed/on the couch, doing unproductive things like scrolling through social media, watching random videos on YouTube or mindlessly channel-surfing (I especially love watching cooking shows!).
So, in an effort to shut down that lazy voice in my head, I’m practising a few things to make my days more productive:
Create a weekly To-Do list and schedule
I find that time slips away much more quickly when you just let it. For example, it’s already April and a part of me is thinking, “What have I done in the last three months???!”. (Sad answer: Not as much as I should’ve.)
In my mind, I’ve thought of things I want/need to do and should do, but some of them have remained not-done because I just didn’t prioritize and schedule them. And so, they remained thoughts and were never converted into action.
So, I’ve started something new: to create a weekly To-Do list and schedule things as appropriate so that all I have to do is follow the schedule. Two tools help me with this. Firstly, I have a A4-size table-top calendar that I am filling up with my To-Dos so that I can get an overall view of the month.
Secondly, I am using the Passion Planner weekly planner to really nail down what I’m doing with my time to reach my goals. I schedule important tasks to make sure I am giving them the attention they need, and I also note how I’m spending the rest of my time. Very soon, it becomes clear what I’m spending too much time on and it gives me the nudge to do more of what will lead me to my goals.
Both these planners give me a visual of what I am actually doing with my time and how I can make better use of it to do productive things. Now that I’m starting to take on freelance work, the planners are also helpful in managing the various assignments and deadlines.
Start small to build momentum
Some tasks are so daunting that just thinking about doing them puts you off. Case in point: I needed badly to clean my room. It was as messy as it has ever been and the clutter had reached the point where it was bothering me. Unfortunately, inertia is a strong force and the thought of tackling the epic mess was a bit overwhelming.
Finally, I bit the bullet and decided to do something small. I cleared the mass of clothes lying around my room. And once that was done, the momentum of actually doing something made me do more and I started to tackle part of my closet.
It took a few days and breaking down the cleaning into smaller manageable tasks, but I did eventually reach my goal of eliminating the clutter in my room.
I’m also trying to apply this concept to my work when I feel unmotivated or lazy. I try to do something small that will get me started on the task, and use that to get into the rhythm of doing more work.
Smaller tasks are easier to accomplish and often the momentum of taking action will lead you on to do more than you initially planned. It also reminds me that taking any action, however small, is often better than not doing anything at all.
Make plans and commit to someone
When your reserves of self-discipline are low, the next best thing is to make plans and commit to someone. This has the advantage of taking the decision out of your hands. There is no chance for that Lazy Voice in your head to pipe up and talk you out of doing something.
If I have plans to meet a friend for lunch, I’ll add in a yoga class before/after since I’m already out and about anyway. When I make plans to go to a specific dance class with a friend, the commitment is made and I’ll go even if I don’t initially feel like doing so.
I’m trying to level up and commit more to myself. Commit to my goals, my work. Commit to my To-Do list. I’ve found that momentum can really help because when you’re feeling good, feeling confident, those vibes spill over and make you want to do more. Some days are easier than others, but at the same time I’m trying not to be too hard on myself. A lazy day can do wonders to restore your spirits and refresh those brain cells. It’s all about trying to find a balance that works.
How do you combat laziness? Share your tips!