Combatting Laziness

Laziness is pervasive. It has a way of overstaying its welcome, becoming omnipresent, widespread, and your biggest and most common enemy. You’ve got errands you need to run, a place that needs cleaning, customer service calls that should be made, but we let them roll over day after day for weeks and even months at a time.

We hate doing the menial, seemingly minute crap that seems to always crop up. In fact, I’d argue that general human nature involves nothing more than procrastination and to bathe in your own laziness. It takes an active effort and dedicated precision to consistently combat the universal indolence we all share.

What’s the difference between the people you see stuck working menial jobs and those who seem to have most of everything they want? And more importantly, how do you jump from feeling stuck and in limbo to actually being somewhere that you value and feel excited about?

Successful people do the things they don’t want to do when they don’t feel like doing them. Ordinary people indulge in whatever feels good at the moment.

The formula is simple, the vision is clear: if you want to begin to take your life and career to the next level, you must adopt a discipline of getting shit done. And not just getting shit done when you feel like it’s convenient because five other things sounded more appealing at the moment. It’s about getting it done when you don’t feel like it. If you do this consistently, you notice you stop overthinking what needs to be done. You just do it. And what happens when you just do it? You move forward. And moving forward is how you get from Point A (where you are) to Point B (where you want to go, i.e. the next level). What you define as “the next level” is going to be your call; but we can all agree it’s an improvement over A.

How You Combat Your Laziness

Here’s the deal, again: it’s applying yourself consistently, and most importantly doing things when you don’t feel like doing them that success is built on. It’s not glamorous but it’s how you build momentum. Here’s a few tips to help you avoid idleness in your daily life.

Get a Notebook and Record Your Daily Goals

We forget crap all the time. Case in point: the DiGiorno’s pizza in the oven at 3 AM (shoutout to that late night rendezvous where bad choices and inhibitions collided, leading to a forgotten frozen pizza). On a more serious note, forgetting appointments isn’t really good, either. So write it all down. Every morning, I take the time after I meditate to whip out my daily journal and write down the goals I have for the day. On Monday morning, I’ll write a list out of things for the week. Then as things build up during the week, I’ll write them in the day I need to do them, on top of adding the things from my weekly list. At the end of the month, write down some goals you have for the month. I do this generally in the mornings – if evenings work better as a way to plan for the next day, use that.

When You Don’t Feel Like Doing Something, Do It

How do you form a habit? You consistently do it. Next time you sit down and realize you need to clean the dishes, get up and clean the dishes. When you realize you got overcharged on your cell phone bill or need to call your insurance to inquire about a charge, just do it. I guarantee knocking it out will feel rewarding. If you want to take it a bit further, actually give yourself a small reward for knocking it out. Your brain receptors won’t know the difference, and you’ll get that small boost in the pleasure zone.

If you simply can’t figure out how to knock tasks out in a timely fashion (as in same day/next day), try this method that some people use: every few days, schedule a day where you knock out as many necessary but crappy tasks as possible. This way, once you enter that zone, you can just cross off as many as you can, leaving you with a few days of getting involved in things that actually interest you. So if I know I have to call my insurance, my cell phone provider, and fill out an online form, I’ll save all three for one evening instead of doing them spread out over the entire week.

Think of the Alternative 

It’s as simple as throwing yourself a guilt-trip. If you don’t make the effort and get into the habit of getting down and getting dirty when you don’t always feel like it, you probably won’t accelerate forward much in your life. Success is hard, but it’s attainable. The people who wonder the most about why they aren’t successful are the ones who refuse to acknowledge just how much their laziness permeates.

If you want to live a mediocre life, go for it. If you want the (better) alternative, make it a habit to practice getting your hands dirty when you don’t feel like dirtying them. This is how you reach the next level.

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