This is a post that I wrote for selfish reasons. Lately, I’ve been finding myself slipping and succumbing to laziness and not getting a lot of things done. This has led me to procrastinate on projects that have deadlines, and I had to scramble last minute to try and complete them. This not only leaves me feeling stressed, but also diminishes the quality of my work. Therefore, I’ve been looking for ways to defeat laziness.
I can recall several times when I was an expatriate in West Africa when laziness leads to a whole slew of problems. It was really hot in The Gambia, which is where I lived during my Peace Corps service. This often made me feel like doing as minimal movement as possible. However, this environment also made it so that if I skipped out on even the most minute details, then it would create so many problems later.
A great example of this was keeping the floor of my house clean. Which was often a real pain in the ass. My floor was cement, and I didn’t have a traditional long-handled broom like I did when I was living back in the states. Instead, I had this one-handed broom made of long whisks (or something like that!), and I had to squat down and duck walk as I swept the floor. Having to do this in 107-degree weather made it even more of a pain in the ass!
Regardless, I still brought myself to do it, and I had to do it frequently. For if only a little bit of food was on my floor then it would bring a ton of ants into my house. And rats wouldn’t be too far behind them. So even if I didn’t feel like sweeping the floor, I did it anyway, because I knew the problems that it would create if I didn’t. The same could be said about other things that I often didn’t want to do there, but still brought myself to do anyway. If I didn’t do my workouts then my health would start to decline, leaving me susceptible to illness. Which try fighting an illness in 107-degree temperatures… no, thank you! My mental health would also start to decline. Allowing the already present feelings of loneliness, isolation, and frustration to magnify.
Now that I’m back stateside, I still try to utilize the same mindset that I had in The Gambia surrounding laziness. Though admittedly, I’m not always so great at this. Therefore, I’ve started looking for strategies to defeat laziness. In this post, I’m going to discuss five that I’ve found to be beneficial for me. And I think that they would be beneficial to you as well if you’re trying to defeat laziness in your own life. Which if you chose to read this post, or listen to the podcast episode that corresponds with it, then I’m assuming that’s the case. So here are five ways to defeat laziness!
1. Create a Plan
It’s difficult to do the things that you need to do it you don’t know what those things are. Writing a plan helps you to identify those things and establish when you need to do them. I suggest physically writing them down in a planner instead of using an online platform like Google calendar. Google calendar is an effective tool. However, I’ve found that if I have to check my phone or go online to create and check my plan. That puts me in the path of social media or other things that could distract me. Therefore, I prefer to go with a physical planner.
There are also certain times when you should craft your plan. On Sunday, create a plan for your week. This doesn’t have to be too in-depth, but get a good idea as to what you want to accomplish during the week. And at the end of each day, create a plan for what you want to do the next day. Don’t wait until the morning to plan what you want to do that day, and I’ll go over why in the next tip. When planning the next day, I create time blocks for tasks that I want to do. This applies to both personal and professional things.
For example, I like to do my workouts in the afternoon. So I will block off from 4:00 to 5:30 pm each day to do them. I also block off an hour following my workout to shower and have dinner. Whatever it is that you want to do, block it off in your schedule. Even if it’s something like watching Netflix, playing video games, or relaxing for a bit, block it off. I even suggest leaving an open block to compensate for things that come up. Inevitably things will come up that can throw off your plan. Therefore, having an open window where you can move interrupted tasks can be helpful.
I’ve come to like utilizing time blocks to plan my day. It gives me a good sense of what I need to accomplish and when to do them. It also helps keep me accountable and get the most out of my waking hours. For as Grant Cardone once said, “You wanna find out if the devil exists? Just take white space, put it on a calendar, have nothing to do for two days, three days, four days.”
2. Implement Systems
Now that you’ve crafted your plan, put the right systems in place for you to win with it. I talked about planning for the next day on the night prior. After you’ve done so, get everything ready for you to execute your plan. For instance, if you plan to work out first thing in the morning. Have your workout clothes stacked on top of your dresser, or your nightstand, or somewhere so they’re readily apparent. Also, have your coffee machine filled and ready so that all you have to do is switch it on. Or if you take a pre-workout supplement, have your powder ready to go in a shaker bottle so that all you have to do is add water and shake it up.
Getting these things ready ahead of time gives you less to think about in the morning. As well as helps you to streamline when it comes to executing your plan. For me, I like to commit my mornings to do my creative work. I’m currently writing this post at 5:30 am! Since I had planned to do so. I logged into WordPress last night, opened up a fresh post page, and then put my computer to sleep. That way, when I woke my computer back up this morning, I was ready to rock and roll! So implement these sorts of systems so that you can set yourself up to win when it comes to executing your plan.
3. Don’t Rationalize
Once you’ve blocked off a time to do a specific task, actually do that task during that time. Don’t rationalize doing something else instead. If you blocked off an hour or so to workout, don’t try to come up with a reason to do something other than your workout. You already planned to do that task during this time for a reason, so stick with it. You may get to this time and feel tired or groggy or whatever else and this may lead you to start thinking about taking the easy route or not doing the task at all.
Don’t give yourself a chance to fall to the wayside, or find an easier path, or ultimately, be lazy. You know that since you’ve put that task in your plan that it’s the right choice to make. So don’t allow yourself to try and rationalize that anything else would be better to do at that moment.
4. Be Decisive
This corresponds to the previous point. Be decisive when executing your plan. Once again, instead of taking the time and space in your head to rationalize not doing a task, take decisive action and do the task instead. If you allow yourself to start thinking of alternatives, then you could subject yourself to paralysis by analysis, which could lead you to do nothing at all.
You can practice being decisive with all of the decisions that you make. One can be choosing a shirt to wear that day. Don’t spend time thinking about which one to wear and seeing how they look in the mirror. Just grab a shirt, put it on, and get going. Or if you want to go out to dinner, don’t spend time combing through Google and reading too many reviews or things like that. Pick a place and go eat!
Being able to decisively make prompt decisions with simple things like these will translate well when it comes to deciding to execute on tasks that you’ve planned for yourself. And ultimately, defeat laziness.
5. Have Integrity
By writing down tasks in your plan that you want to accomplish, you’re essentially giving yourself your word that you will do those things. Therefore, if you end up not doing those things, then that makes you someone other than a person of your word. Or to put it a bit more bluntly… it makes you a liar. It’s the same as if you tell someone else that you’re going to do something and you end up not doing it. You lied to that person, and are thus out of integrity. So if you told yourself that you’re going to do a task, then do it, have integrity.
So there you have it, five ways to defeat laziness. I hope you found this helpful. Leave me a comment and let me know if you resonate with any of these points. Or let me know of any ways to defeat laziness that I might’ve missed.
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