So I am actually writing this blog for future me - the very near 'future me'. After 4th of July weekend I tend to go into lazy summer mode. By August, even an ounce of motivation is a big struggle. All I want to do is relax and let my brain go on vacay.
But I've got stuff to do, so I push through the laziness to accomplish at least the minimum.
With laziness, comes procrastination. In my procrastination blog, we address the root of the problem. And while that is the most sustainable fix, what if you're just going through a phase of laziness? (A.k.a. summer!)
Almost all of us have personal and professional demands that we can't always but on hold. So here are my quick tips on how to be productive when you're feeling downright lazy:
1. What's my motivation?
Aaahh like a professional actor channeling his character: "What's my motivation"? Maybe we're actors too. Just lazy folks acting like we have an ounce of ambition on days when we feel like binge-watching Empire. Alright, not quite, but what is your motivation? Perhaps maintaining or improving your lifestyle, getting a job promotion, making things easier, etc?
Call on your motivation when you need it. I refer to my vision board a lot during the summer months as a visual reminder of what I'm working toward.
There are so many ways of doing this! For example, let's say you complete one important task each day, and at the end of the week you reward yourself. Structure it any way that works for you. And you can also bring in an accountability partner to check in with and disburse your reward if you want to.
3. Schedule time to focus
What if you had only one thing to do, and nothing else mattered except that one thing? Would you get it done? Here is what I propose:
Step 1, choose your highest priority and schedule some time to work on it, whether completing a portion or the whole thing.
Next, cancel out distractions by taking care of them beforehand. For example, eat if your hungry, make sure your kids are attended to, quiet your phone, etc. Once you get involved in your project, recognize other distractions as just that - distractions - and let them go. If it's not an emergency, you can get to everything else afterward.
Lastly, focus and work on your project until your time is up.
Repeat as often as necessary.
I kind of want to guarantee success with this approach. Even if you take baby steps, consistently, they add up to advancement.
4. Add to your daily habits
My morning looks something like this: brush teeth, workout, shower, breakfast, appointment scheduling. Oh look - you see how I just threw that last one in there?! If you have any repetitive tasks, add them to your cluster of 'tried & true' habits, such as you morning routine. You will likely find that it requires less effort because you're already on a roll and getting things done out of habit.
5. Never say "later", "at some point", "another day" or "some other time"
Switch out those phrases with actual dates. I learned this several years ago when I had a gargantuan storage unit to sort through. For two years, I had been telling a friend about this task looming over my head. I always said I would get to it. Finally she told me to give her a specific date. Which I did and of course had to stick to it otherwise it would probably never get done.
Ever since then, I always say a specific date or time frame when referring to a task because it's important to me to live up to my word.
So try this: replace those indefinite timeframes with very specific dates. Bonus points if you put the deadline in your calendar!