Well, hello there internet stranger. What’s that I hear? You’re tired of hearing your mother screaming at you for not washing the dishes? Mentally exhausted from your wife telling you that you’re a lazy prick who doesn’t get anything done in life? Or, you kind of feel bad about hiding behind your desk every time your boss is walking around the office because you, again, didn’t send your report on time? Don’t worry, you’re in the right place.
See, I was the same careless dude back in the days. In school, and later in high school, my favorite activity was doing nothing.
That’s right. Give me access to a computer and suddenly my body will enter energy saving mode and move only when it needs a sip of coffee or reach for another slice of pizza. Occasionally, I went to have a few drinks with my friends but that’s a whole different story.
Simply, I didn’t feel like working, studying, writing, or doing any type of physical activity that will interfere with my sedentary lifestyle. I bet you often feel the same. Especially nowadays, when having social media account feels like the only important thing in life.
Well, as strange as it might sound, there is more to life than sharing goofy photos of yourself eating, wearing new clothes, chatting, or watching YouTube videos all day.
Being productive and less lazy is an important step of your transformation from a money-sucking-parasite to a responsible adult.
Hell, it can even get you a decent job and help you accomplish your ultimate goal in life.
In this post, I’ll do my best to help you be less lazy and become more productive.
What Does Being Lazy Actually Means?
Looking at the dictionary and Wikipedia, we can quickly answer this by stating the following: Laziness is someone’s disinclination to perform activity or exertion despite having the ability to act or execute.1
Or in plain English: Even though you know that writing your report on time is crucial for moving forward in school or keeping your job, your body somehow finds a way to do something else. Something that involves less action and more leisure activity.
Why is that?
Why we don’t execute and we postpone doing important tasks when we know that they’ll have a negative impact on our lives?
It all starts with our desire to pursue pleasant activities above all. The human body (and mind) is trying, by default, to find the best way to be in energy saving mode. Because, resting and laying around means less energy consumed, thus higher chances for the body to survive. Then, it comes our addiction to immediate gratification.
Again, the body (and mind) want to feel good. And feeling good now, in this very moment, is way better than feeling good when you get your paycheck 20 days from now.
Sadly, for the global GDP and humanity as a whole, nowadays we have more than enough ways to distract ourselves from doing work in general.2
For teenagers, and not only, it’s far more important to be active in social media than actually doing their job.
Far more satisfying to watch Netflix TV series and YouTube videos than exercising, learning a new skill, or doing some kind of work that will have a future positive impact on their lives.
This tendency to keep a tab on your computer open for our social media accounts turns into a habit. And when it becomes a habit we all know what happens: We fall in love with the remote control and nothing else seems so important.
In conclusion, laziness is a habit rather than anything else.
What Does Being Productive Means And Why It’s Important?
The state of productivity means executing important tasks for the shortest period of time, consistently.
Often people think that being productive means doing a few important things faster than usual. But there is one additional factor in the equation often left behind: persistence.
Yes, I can write one really good article for under 3 hours but this won’t make me a great writer. I must follow this routine persistently if I really want to make an impact. And by persistently I kind of mean forever.
Again, to be productive means: Doing the most important things, for the shortest possible time, consistently over time.
We can push ourselves to complete a certain project, once, but once is never enough. The simplest example is with exercising:
- One really good workout won’t make you muscular.
- Staying in the gym for 3 hours won’t magically get you the body that’s worth sharing on Instagram. You will only waste your time and feel exhausted afterward.
The best scenario is: doing relatively short workouts, a couple of times per week, that are tailored for your physic, basically forever.
The forever factor sounds scary but it’s really important.
Imagine that you exercise hard for a few years regularly and you get that dope body. Everyone on social media likes your pictures and stuff. You become a fitness guru. However, if you decide to stop exercising at some point, eventually your six-pack will turn to a nice round belly and your biceps will hang like a ballsack.
Yep, I know. It’s sucks but that’s the painful truth.
Why Being Productive is Important?
Well, that’s kind of obvious but let’s say it anyway: Because not being productive means that you’re simply wasting your time.
As mentioned above, I can spend 4 hours in the GYM but this won’t transform my body and add muscles to where I previously had fat.
It’s also an important factor in terms of economics. When people are more productive they produce more goods in a shorter period of time, thus production costs are lowered and income is higher, therefor people can increase their standard of living.
For the individual this might look like this:
Let’s say you’re a freelancer. If a single project takes 20 hours to be achieved, and if you increase your productivity by 20%, you’ll do the same amount of work faster. Basically, you will have an extra 4 hours. You can use this time to work on another project, which basically means higher income.
So, yes, being more efficient in your day to day work can really make a difference.
Ok, but how can we achieve that Mr. smarty pants?
Well, even though it seems complex, it’s not so hard.
What Other People Are Saying Online?
There are countless suggestions and possible solutions online for being more productive and less lazy. Not that all of them are bad but some of them are absurd.
I want to add a few points before I give you my absurd solutions:
Preparing your mind is a waste of time:
I don’t believe our mind is going to be prepared, ever. Yes, you can decide to sit and work but there are so many distractions that can send your good intentions to work better to hell that a single book can’t cover them all.
Celebrate the small victories will make you feel like you’re winning when you’re actually not:
Celebrate because you’ve actually done what you’re supposed to do? Well, come on.
This tip basically means giving someone, who is supposed to stop drinking, a drink after one month of abstinence.
It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
Buying a product or a service will surely not going to make you more productive:
This is my
This includes everything: planners, new gear, a course, visiting a conference, reading a book. Yes, you can get some sort of ideas but in general, it won’t solve the whole puzzle.
I’m saying this because people buy stuff like crazy thinking that they’ll magically get shit done faster. These people solely rely on the thing they’re about to purchase to make them more productive. In real life, it doesn’t work like that.
Even if you get the super-duper productivity course from a famous guru, it’s still up to you to sit on your butt get more stuff done.
Not that I have something against books. I love them. But you simply need to understand that reading something alone won’t magically prepare your homework for tomorrow or wash the dishes. You’ll actually still need to sit down and do the work. A productivity planner might help you organize the important tasks in your life but it won’t actually do them.
Ok, then. What should I do then?
I’m glad you’ve asked. Here are my honest tips for becoming more productive:
How to Get More Shit Done
Productivity is a lifestyle than anything else.
Yes, you can create a list of things, buy the latest planner app, get a slick laptop and a sophisticated time-management software but this won’t really make you work more.
Being more efficient and productive starts with your tendency to say no to things.
Our mind loves to daydream and drift away thinking about “what new thing to buy” or “let’s open Facebook for a moment”. Remember, the mind and the body are always trying to escape the hard work and find a way to enter energy-saving mode. For the mind, less work means less consumed energy, therefore higher chances for survival.
So, every time a thought appears in our minds prompting us to “check our social media feed just for a second”, “check for new emails”, “watch that short video my friend send me”, we must say “fuck off funny video, I don’t want you in my life” and continue our work.
Every time you say Yes to distractions, even for a moment, this builds up. It becomes a tendency in your mind, a
This constant interruption in your process leads to lack of efficiency.
Actually, according to studies, It takes an average of about 25 minutes (23 minutes and 15 seconds, to be exact) to return to the original task after an interruption. That’s how many minutes of concentration you’re losing when you’re checking your phone. Basically, if you check your phone twice every 15 minutes you’re not doing anything productive for an hour.3
Distractions are surely going to appear. Even if you sit alone in a cabin somewhere in the woods with no internet connection you’re still going to face endless distractions in forms of thoughts.
- “Should I go to the nearest coffee shop and check my social media profile?”
- “Should I go outside and get a break for a couple of minutes?”
- “Probably I should stop writing for today. I don’t feel like writing.”
- “Should I move the rifle closer to my laptop in case a bear appears?”
Don’t believe me? Ok, close your eyes for a moment and try to not think about anything…
You can’t, right?
Different thoughts are appearing constantly.
Ok, so what the hell can I do to become more productive?
Let me give you a slightly different approach than what others are saying:
What’s your one thing?
You don’t need to prepare a list of things and take a full day wondering what to do first in your list.
You should focus on doing only one thing, good. Like, really good. Exceptionally good.
I’m sure you already know what you need to do that will get you closer to where you want to be. Sometimes we feel like there are thousands of things that need to be done but it’s usually one. One task that modifies a bit.
For example, before I go to bed, I decide what article I’m going to write tomorrow. This usually happens in my mind, sometimes I even write it on a piece of paper in case I don’t want to forget something. I don’t need a whole planner to list the title of the article I’m going to write.
The task is always to write, the goal is to write on a predetermined topic.
Set a Norm
Life is complex, even though I sometimes I write for more than 8 hours, and I want to write for even longer, there are other things that need my attention: shopping, going out, emergency situation, a friend called me to help him with something.
Set a target for the day.
My target is 1000 words per day. Yours maybe exercising for an hour, or doing some specific task related to your business.
Decide what will be the norm and how are you going to measure it:
- Work 4 hours;
- Do work X every day.
The idea is to be something achievable and for you to be able to measure it.
Once you’re done with the norm for the day, anything extra will be good. But you if for some reason you’re not able to cover the norm, you can simply move the work that’s left for the next day.
For instance, if I write only 500 words on Wednesday, I’ll do my best to write 1500 words the next day.
Get back in the stone age
There isn’t an app, or a tool that can help you stay focused on your tasks.
Even if you hire the best expert in the business of productivity it’s still up to you.
The idea here is to reduce the likelihood of your body to grab your phone and start browsing mindlessly.
Few things that can help you here:
- Make sure you have everything you need before you start working: For instance, before I start writing I make a coffee and I fill my water pitcher. If you’re repairing cars for a living, you will want all of your tools beside you before you start. Arranging your workspace before starting your work will save you precious time later during the day.
- Have less physical things around you that might distract you: If I leave a book on my desk I will surely go through it at some moment.
- Leave your phone in the other room if you’re not able to control yourself: No matter how well prepared my mind is, it will still want to check my phone. So, leaving it somewhere else is probably the best solution.
- Say No to most of the things: As mentioned, your mind will constantly convince you that there is something else that needs to be doing: “check your phone”; “have a snack”; “go to the coffee shop around the corner”; “call your husband”. There is always something. Learn to give your monkey mind another job. Tell him, “Ok, we’ll check the phone after I write 500 words”, or “I’ll work 10 more minutes and I’ll take a break”.
Some Closing Thoughts
Productivity is a way of living.
You’re either productive or you’re procrastinating.
As I mentioned above, it’s not about completing a single project faster than usual, once. It’s about doing the needful, every single day, over the course of your lifespan.
The main idea here is not to never watch a funny video again, or to go live in a cave for the rest of your life and work on a project till your eyes fall from your skull. It’s rather doing, first, the important things in your life and then, taking a well-deserved break.
Prioritizing the essential activities and postponing the pleasant ones.
It sounds boring, I know. But that’s the only way you can get more shit done.