We all have those days.
Those days where we let laziness and procrastination get the best of us.
Those days where you don’t want to out of bed and pull back those curtains quite yet.
You don’t want to start the day, preferring instead to prolong the warm fuzzy moments you stay curled up like a caterpillar underneath the covers.
You want to skip breakfast and even forsake a shower and (gasp)… a toothbrush.
When you wake up feeling like this, you know immediately that your day is not going to go as planned… that you quite possibly awoke on the wrong side of the bed… as in the “shites not getting done today” side!
You woke up to a day chock full of weak and lame ass excuses to help you avoid doing that thing you know you need to be doing and feed on distractions like they’re your Last Supper!
Trust me, I completely “get” this feeling.
Everyone Gets Lackadaisical and Unmotivated at Times
See, I work from home, and as a result… I manage my own time. And I say “manage” with a healthy dose of dubiousness because let’s face it… I’m pretty realistic on the quality of my management skills.
On good days I’ve always thought that this lifestyle is great. I’m a killer manager of one! Great that is until I get another attack of lazybone-itis. (Yes I made that up.) Then I realize my managerial skills have been highly overrated and wonder how I ever became so deluded.
I’ve had more than my fair share of feet-dragging and cursing under my breath because I am too fracken weak-willed to force myself out of my oh so comfy bed so I can start my day and earn my keep.
Especially on those lovely rainy days, which we’ve been experiencing a lot of lately!
Hmnn… there’s something about that darn rain.
I can honestly say though that I’ve improved quite a bit in my self-management skills since starting my entrepreneurial journey. And hey… improvement is improvement right?
But let’s face it… it’s kind of a do or die situation isn’t it? Either I figure out how to be productive and stay on track… or I veer so far off course I end up in a smushy, bloody heap at the bottom of the proverbial hill.
Dunno about you, but I’m not fond of smushy and bloody. And if you’re anything like me, you probably aren’t too inclined to let such crappy days defeat you.
So, here’s a little secret… you can take it or leave it, but it works for me.
When I’m Feeling Uber Lazy, I Don’t Fight It
I just let the master procrastinator take over, even if it’s just for a day.
BUT—and here’s where things get a bit tricky—I wheedle and cajole that other side of me that really needs to be productive, to work at its own rhythm and at its own pace.
Does that sound slightly nuts? Ha… how about we just call it cutely quirky instead and you just do what I tell you to anyway? (I know, so bossy.)
Make a Pact with Yourself
Make it something that makes not working a HELLUVA LOT harder than actually working.
OK, at first glance, this may seem like a nutty thing to do too, but really… I’ve found that it works. It’s a kind of a punishment that you give yourself when you choose not to work.
Like this- let’s say you want to watch a TV series instead of working on your priorities for the day. Save that TV series to an external hard drive, and give it to your spouse to take to their office for the day.
Then, if you want to watch it, you actually have to travel all the way to his or her place of work just to retrieve the hard drive so you can watch it. Chances are you’ll be so discouraged by all the trouble you will have to go through to watch the freakin’ TV series that you’ll just opt to work instead.
Genius right? (I know, I amaze myself.)
Exchange One Thing for Another Thing
If you don’t want to work, make a trade-off and do some other chore.
Don’t want to face your laptop to do that long-overdue business plan?
Go mow your lawn instead. (Yikes… I think I’d prefer doing the business plan… have you ever mowed a lawn in Florida?!)
Think you need a break from working four straight hours in your craft shop? Perhaps you can sort out the junk in your garage and put away some stuff to be given away for charity.
This is called structured procrastination, and it has actually been around since 1949. The theory is to exchange your work task for another chore that may not be quite as important but is also in dire need of your attention.
So… technically speaking, even if you’re not working, you’re still doing something productive. (Gotta love splitting hairs!)
Automate and/or Delegate
You’re a true-blue lazybones if you’ve gone to the trouble of figuring out ways to work on auto-pilot!
There are many ways you can do this really—you can get an online app to help you handle your tasks and remind you about important updates, appointments and things to-do. You can also delegate some lesser tasks to your employees or outsourcers in order to sort of “farm out” the burden.
This way, you’re not really working per se, but by using your time to make things run more efficiently, you are actually using your time pretty wisely. That’s called leverage my friend. And we’ve already established you’re genius! (Or wait, were we talking about me?)
Simplify and Think Things Through
I’ve found that the biggest procrastinators (read: lazy. OK! Kidding! You’re not really lazy…) are those who have the longest to-do lists on the planet. Maybe you started out with genuinely good intentions—you want to make sure that you list every single task down so you don’t forget one… until suddenly the enthusiasm to actually START on any of them has ebbed away.
Does this sound familiar?
Don’t worry; been there done that… actually still do that sometimes! A good work around is let’s say you already have that mile-long list in front of you because you simply couldn’t help yourself and had to create it. None of which is crossed out yet by the way.
Prune it up! Go through it again and see if there are any extraneous tasks that don’t really have to be done, (be honest here, because you know not all of them will be life or death!) or that are no longer necessary because you’ve waited too long. (See, procrastination can be a good thing too! Well, sort of. At least your list just got shorter…)
Give Your Lazy A%! a Reward
So this is a kind of promise that I make myself to motivate me enough to finish something on time. If I’m working on something big and important, or that needs to be done asap… I tell myself that I can reward myself with an equal number of lazy hours IF (and only if!) I beat the deadline (with only quality work, of course, don’t get all half-butted here).
I can do whatever I want after I finish the job. Watch my fave TV series, go get a pedi done, or grab a few extra hours of shut-eye (Heaven!). Psychologists call it positive reinforcement, but I call it a self-pat on the back for a job well done. (Go me!)
Don’t Forget to Focus on Your Strengths
Often if you think back to the days when you’ve felt that incredible and irresistible twinge of laziness travel down your spine, and found yourself on the procrastination train, you’ll notice that those were the days when you were faced with a task that either seemed boring, mundane and much too easy to do… or on the flip side virtually insurmountable.
The challenge, therefore, is to do things that interest and motivate you, but are not so ridiculously difficult to complete successfully that it saps your energy just thinking about it. Capische?
And personally, I’ve found that when you’re working on something that just completely fits you and what you are meant to do, that you begin to experience less and less of those lazy days, and that crazy urge to procrastinate slowly begins to become a not so fond memory. (Mostly.)
Just be realistic with yourself though. You won’t always have challenging and interesting activities to do in your freelance or entrepreneurial career, that’s just the nature of the beast. But the great thing about freelancing is that as you grow and begin to lose that feeling of “I need cash NOW” and start to have a little financial cushion… you can begin being selective and picking and choosing the projects that interest you the most.
And you’ll find as you go that you naturally begin to select projects with the right mix of work that keeps you not just busy, but productive and entertained as well. And let me tell ya… that’s a beautiful thing!
So how about you? Battle with procrastination and the urge to be lazy during your work day? Got ways you give it the beat down and award productivity the champion’s belt? Drop your thoughts in the comments below, we’d love to hear them!