The guilt eats at you when you think about the day you’ve just had. You could have accomplished so much more, but here you are, feeling sorry for yourself because you’ve spent your time doing nothing but insignificant crap.
You’ve been watching videos on YouTube, snacking on cornflakes, going on Facebook — as you procrastinate on what matters most. By the end of the day, you try to remind yourself that you’ll have more productive days soon — or that you needed the break today.
But deep down you know you need to change for good… This pattern has happened once too many times for it to be an accident.
My Story: Avoid Procrastination by removing the possibility of choice
The most unproductive days I’ve had were down to me feeling like I had the option to do things later on. So, I would do what I felt like first, before attempting to do anything that was important. If I was given a work assignment due for Tuesday, on a Monday morning, I would tell myself: “It can wait; I’ll do it later on.”
I soon realised that if I kept beginning my day from the wrong place, I would end up in the wrong place.
My change occurred once I started understanding how important each first half of the day (first 8 hours) was to my future — and the satisfaction I experienced in the present.
What I wish I had: Having Priorities for each day
I used to negotiate myself into doing whatever I felt like doing. I would switch between checking email and Facebook and doing work. I would then multitask between different work tasks whenever I felt bored or anxious.
Or, I would just keep hacking away at a job without taking breaks. So I’d either be distracted or mentally beat.
What I was missing: A place to dump all the things I needed to do, so that I could differentiate between what was a priority and what wasn’t — and knowing when to take a break.
Following David Allen’s GTD Principles, I started using a Google Doc to list out all the tasks I needed to do.
So whenever I thought of something that needed doing, I could drop it in there without ever forgetting about it.
That change alone made my mind so much clearer, and I began to see everything I wanted to do with a clearer mindset.
It’s our natural inclination to put off the things that make us uncomfortable. And yet, it’s these things that make us grow the most. Having all your tasks in view, allows you to see what’s truly important — allowing you to more easily stop being lazy and knuckle down on what needs doing.
Takeaway: Find a place to write down everything that comes up in your head.
Start your day with the MIT (Most Important Task) and use a Timer
Every morning, I started to write 3–5 tasks I wanted to accomplish by the end of each day. And I would make sure to dedicate 2–4 hours to the number one priority or a single project. I would ask myself: “What’s the single hardest thing I need to accomplish today?”
Achieving it as soon as possible allowed me to move through the rest of the day with excitement and a sense of triumph.
“The hardest part of any important task is getting started on it in the first place. Once you begin work on a valuable task, you seem naturally motivated to continue.” — Brian Tracy
As my life slowly changed for the better, I began to realize unproductive days were greatly down to a lack of urgency after the early morning hours. You can stop being lazy and start getting **** done while being happier for it; once you start choosing to do what’s important. And once you start physically listing out what’s on your mental task list with a keyboard or pen.
Using a Timer increases Productivity
The other change I made was using a timer and setting it for 90 mins each time I worked on the computer. That way, I’d know I’d have a break coming up, no matter how I felt. Naturally, I’d be a lot less likely to multitask, or get distracted and it made a huge difference to my level of focus.
Quick Recap: 5 Ways to End Constant Laziness Forever
Step 1: Start seeing the first eight hours of your day as the foundation of your life. In those hours, get as much of the high-stakes stuff done.
Step 2: Get everything out of your head using a document or a tool like Todoist, or even a paper notebook, so that you can see your life objectively.
Step 3: Use a timer and set it to 60–90 mins so that you have a break to look forward to when you’re working on longer tasks.
Step 4: Work on your most challenging to-do first thing after your morning routine.
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