A lot of the time, I’ve come to be critical toward myself, not about what I’ve done, but what I haven’t done. It’s laziness that eats me up and as much as I love sitting around relaxing, it still destroys my self-image because I’m not doing what I believe I should be doing.
Over time, I’ve come to embrace when I should be allowed to be lazy, and when I am actually just wasting my time.
Recognize When You Are Being Lazy
If you’ve ever set a goal for yourself and realized you could’ve started acting on it but instead gave yourself some relaxing time before to unwind, that’s totally fine.
It’s once the end of that time starts approaching that panic sets in and you start finding excuses to move it back a bit and increase you free time.
If you’ve had a thoughts similar to Oh I forgot to eat so let me do that first so I’ll give myself 30 more minutes, or I didn’t think this through, I won’t have enough time to start anyway so I’ll plan for another day, then this is where you need to figure something out.
A lot of people ask when the perfect time to start something is, and really, there is no such thing.
The perfect time isn’t something that comes.
You don’t ever feel the perfect time and waiting for that exact moment is a waste of time. It isn’t out of your control when you can and can’t start something.
I recently read an Article titled, “Get Anything Done with the 5 Second Rule” by Dave Wentworth on Medium, and if you aren’t familiar with Mel Robbin’s book, “5 Second Rule” then let me explain.
The rule goes like this. Whenever you encounter an invisible barrier blocking you from starting or doing something, count backwards from five.
This can apply to anything as simple as counting backwards from five instead of hitting the snooze button and getting up right after zero to starting a new blog post instead of waiting for your first perfect article idea. It’s almost like a way to trick your brain into warming up.
We’re accustomed to preparing, even if it’s just mental preparation, whenever we hear something approaching like a countdown.
It might not make a lot of sense, but if you really think about it and try it over the next couple days, you’ll see that it really does stop your brain for staying blank to quickly grasping the situation as the countdown forces you to start.
Reduce Your Amount of Free Time
This may sound a bit strange, but reducing your free time really makes you cherish when you do have time to kill. Even if you choose to do nothing with it.
Pay attention to your schedule throughout the day and take little bits and pieces off of when you know you aren’t really doing anything.
It’s an annoying and painful process because we are used to completing what needs to be done and preparing to let our brain turn off for the rest of the day. However, if you change that around and really limit the time you spend enjoying an episode of your favorite TV show, you’ll find the less time you have to enjoy, the more your brain will actually relax during that free time you allow yourself to have.
So how do you give yourself less free time? Well, it may be just to take off some time you would normally spend on social media or the time you would dedicate to catching up on the nation’s news, and block yourself from doing that.
If you’re in a more severe situation where you find yourself with too much free time where it’s made you even lazier, force yourself to start doing things you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t started yet.
For example, if you have days dedicated as a sit at home day, take a bit of the morning or the evening to workout a bit. Or if you already do, make it two workouts that day.
It may sound stupid, but sometimes the busier a person is, the better they feel about their free time because it feels earned.
If you still find yourself too addicted to free time, the next section will give you a different approach giving even more force to make you productive.
Let Others Know What You Are Going To Accomplish
If you’ve found yourself the time to start something, but have too much built up anxiety to attempt it, tell someone you are close with what you want to try.
By telling someone something such as, I think over the weekend I might try and make a blog, you’re already building anticipating for yourself to do it.
A lot of the time, pressure actually helps. If someone knows what you said you want to accomplish, you’re more likely to do it because they might be curious about seeing what you’ve done after you’ve spent some time on it.
I had some trouble starting my blog because I didn’t know what to make it about and was waiting around to see what ideas would come and what kind of blog I could make.
That was until I started messing with layouts on WordPress and my roommate came in asking what I was doing.
After showing him and explaining, I think I want to try blogging and see if I enjoy it, it built up that feeling of, If he asks about it in the future, of course I am going to want something to be able to show that I did what I said I would.
It’s the same kind of pressure that comes from getting closer to a deadline. If you have no deadline, make one by giving people expectations that something will come and you’ll feel more compelled to do it.
The problem with doing this, is you might try and avoid telling someone until you feel it is the right time to tell them, but again, there is no right time. You might as well start when you can so you can already begin building the pressure up and get what you want to accomplish in the works.
Overcoming Self Doubt
Now comes the bit that everyone experiences when trying something new that they want to be a part of, but have no experience.
If you aren’t familiar with the quote, “The Master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried” by Stephen McCranie, this holds true in every industry. Every job. Every skill.
Unless you accept that you are going to start off terrible, you will always avoid trying.
In my view, a lot of this comes from the education system.
You start learning stuff at the same time as everyone else in the class so you don’t have that self doubt of I’m no good at this, because at the time, no one else is. But if you join say a creative writing class and there are people in it that amaze you with what they have accomplished, it’s because it’s their hundredth or thousandth attempt at writing.
Unless you submit to being no good at something and believe starting off terribly will ward you away from doing it again, what’s the point?
And if you really think about it, if you start now, those that start later, you will be ahead of. That’s why the perfect time to start is now, because although you might have self doubt, it’s about working at that self doubt until it goes away and you feel I do have a bit of experience in this field now.
The obstacle is the way and if you never force yourself to face that obstacle, you’ll never get over it.