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Sunday, 14 February 2016

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Stop being so lazy

Indolence, slothfulness, torpor... call it what you may, all of us at one time or another give into our lazy selves, putting off for tomorrow what can easily be done today. Giving it a fancy name, we call it procrastinating, but the bottom line is, lots of stuff that need to be done, donít get done, and in the process, we hold ourselves back and cheat ourselves of the life we should be living, blaming it on everything else but our predilection to be lazy.

But it doesnít need to be that way. Here are some simple habits that could help you stop being so lazy and get what really matters done by working smarter, while still having room for guilt-free lazy time.

Be kind to yourself

When you feel youíve perhaps been too lazy lately itís common and tempting to beat yourself up about it and to hope that will lead you to start taking action.

Sometimes it does. But I have found that beating yourself up most often just leads to feeling guiltier and like a failure. And so you feel less motivated to get going and you procrastinate because there seems to be little point in even trying.

Instead of getting stuck in that self-esteem sucking place, gently nudge yourself towards the next tip in this article whenever you feel like you want to beat yourself up.

Start with just a small step forward

The hardest thing is often to simply get started. So make that as easy as you can to reduce the inner resistance and to actually take action. Start with just taking a small step forward:

Go out running for only 3 minutes

Do the dishes for 5 minutes

Write on that report youíve been procrastinating on for 10 minutes

Do a small part of what matters most first thing in your day

To feel like you can enjoy your lazy/rest time fully and without guilt itís important to actually get what truly matters in the long run done each week.

So start your day with that. But make it easy on yourself by breaking down that task into smaller steps and then focus on just the first one.

Get on it right away to get into an effective and focused mindset. By doing so, you set a good tone for your day. You get that quick 5-10 minute win in first thing and youíll be a lot more motivated to keep going on that path during the rest of your day.

Cycle fully-focused work with small breaks of rest/lazy time

To lighten up your daily work, inject small breaks between doing short but focused burst of work. Say to yourself: Iíll do 20 minutes of work on this task now and then I can take 5 or 10 minutes of lazy time.

By breaking down your hours like this, the work seems less daunting. And youíll feel energetic and motivated longer and do work of better quality if you allow yourself these pauses of rest and time to lazy around on Facebook, with a game or with just relaxing in the grass or with short walk in the park.

Then, after some time, you may want to work for 40 minutes before you take a 10 minute break. But go easy on yourself at first.

Shut down the escape routes temporarily

Just sitting down at for example your computer and trying to do fully focused work for 5 or 20 minutes may not result in any work of importance getting done. Not if you donít remove those things that you usually use to procrastinate.

So ask yourself: where do I usually escape to instead of doing my work?

If you:

Escape to Facebook or other websites on your computer, then block that for a little while by using for example StayFocusd.

Watch TV, then pull out the cords to it. Or remove one of the cords completely and put it at the other end of your home.

List the downsides and upsides for renewed motivation

Asking yourself better questions tend to give better answers. Two sets of questions that you could ask yourslef with closed eyes and that could refuel your motivation are:

How will my life look in 5 years if I just continue to stay on the same path as now?

How will life likely become worse for me and maybe even for the people around me?

This is not like beating yourself up but rather a sober examination of where itís realistic that youíre heading. And it may be uncomfortable but try to see the negative consequences as vividly as you can in your mind to kickstart your motivation to get going for that positive change.

Then ask yourself:

How will my life look in 1 year if I get started, stick with it and keep going with this change?

How will life improve not only for me but for the people that I love if I stick with it?

Unclutter your life

When your lifeís too cluttered and overwhelming then you may shut down and procrastinate by lying lazily on the couch and just watching the TV or your smart phone.

When thatís the case then start uncluttering both your work hours and your private time. Two questions that have helped me to do that and to find what is most important are:

What would I work on if I only had 2 hours for work today?

If I had just 1 hour of free time today then how would I spend it?

Use these to get out of an old rut, to question your normal day a bit and to find your top priorities.

Then see what you can eliminate, minimise or perhaps delegate the things that are not contained in your answers.

Be OK with stumbling from time to time

The fear of failure can hold you back in a state of doing easier things and in what you may see as being lazy. But everyone who goes for what he/she truly wants and outside of his/her comfort zone stumbles and fails from time to time. Thatís just a part of a life well lived. See a setback as a learning experience and as a way to be more constructive and kinder to yourself.

You can do that by asking yourself these two questions after youíve stumbled:

What is 1 thing I can learn from this situation?

How would my best friend/parent support me and help me in this situation? (Then talk to yourself and do things like she or he would).

Let the enthusiasm, energy and motivation of others in

Whatever you let into your mind and life will influence you. If the people you hang out the most with are generally a bit lazy about work or school, then itís easy to just adapt to that mood and way of thinking and go with it.

But if you spend more time with motivated people in real life and via books, the internet, podcasts and audio books then that will start to influence your thinking and mood too.

So think about what you let into your mind on a daily and weekly basis and if you want make a few changes to that.

Truly appreciate and enjoy your lazy time

Time spent on just lazying around helps can help you recharge. It could also make you happy.

But if you do it too much then it does become less healthy. It can frustrate you because you are not moving forward towards what you want and it creates stress instead of relaxing you because you are not getting whatís important done. Still, at a moderate amount spending some time on being lazy can be truly beneficial.

And Iíve found that when you think a little about how you want to spend your lazy time Ė no matter if itís a 10 minute break or a lazy Sunday Ė and use that time on something you really enjoy like reading a book you love rather than aimlessly watching TV-shows youíre just OK with then that time does not only brings more happiness and fulfilment.

Iíve also learned that when I spend my lazy time in this more conscious way Iím more motivated and energised to go back to work again later on.

(The writer is a 34-year -old journalism major from Sweden, who has dived into the topic of personal development, which has seen him learning from him own experiments and experience and figuring out how to build a better life. This article is one of his building a better life experiences)

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