Friday, July 31, 2009

Embrace Your Laziness to be More Productive

There is a ton of advice out there on ways to improve your life. There are times when it is easy to soak up this information and dream of improvement. Other times its hard to even get off the couch, much less practice for a marathon or meditate or learn a new language.

For me there is a certain natural ebb and flow to my productivity. In the mornings I have all the drive in the world (at least after I have my first cup of coffee). Come 3 pm on a work week and I almost always hit a wall and just want to go home. The same thing usually happens during the seasons. Spring through fall it is generally easy to be productive, but come winter I just want to hibernate.

It is important to remember that everyone feels lazy at certain times. It is ok. This does not mean that you cannot improve or reach your goals.

Learning how to deal with the laziness and still find time to work towards your goals is really the key.

Here are my keys for dealing with fluctuating ambition levels:
  • Embrace your laziness. Take advantage of some down time. Enjoy not doing anything. Do not feel guilty. Restore your mind and body. This step is crucial to avoid burnout.
  • Be productive when you have ambition. Use your natural energy cycles to your benefit. Understand when you usually are productive and take advantage of the time. If you are not a morning person, work hard in the evening when you have the energy. When you know you are not going to have the energy or ambition, pushing yourself into something you do not want to do often leads to failure.
  • The key is balance. If you combine the first two tips I gave, you might be thinking, "Nice, I can just not work when I don't want to and I'll reach my goals!" Its not that easy (good things in life never are). Inactivity for 95 % of the day will lead you no where. Embracing the fact that you will get lazy is a good idea. But connected to this is the idea that when you are not lazy you get things done. You make a choice of action. Work towards your goals. Use the ambition that you have inside, the dreams of a better life and work hard to get the things you want.
And when you accomplish a big goal or reach a milestone, go grab a cold one with some friends or just curl up on the couch and be lazy.

Photo: Claudio Matsuoka

Saturday, July 25, 2009

10 Things That Inspire Me

To improve anything you need inspiration. It can come from anywhere and can inspire you in all different ways. Some things drive me to work harder, some to have better relationships and some to be a better person.

Here are ten of my biggest inspirations:

1. Seeing results/achieving goals. I love getting better and improving. The best way for me to see results is to keep track of my performance.

2. Competition. I am a very competitive person. It drives me.

3. Lakes and oceans. There is nothing like gazing out at Lake Michigan on a hot summer day, feeling the cool breeze against your face. This is less about productivity and more about just staying in the moment.

4. Being the underdog. Throughout college I worked harder than almost everyone else because I believed everyone else was smarter.

5. Little old couples. I cannot help but smile when I see little old couples going for a walk and holdings hands. Relationships are not easy and take a lot of work; seeing people who have overcome difficulties and are still in love is truly inspiring.

6. Selfless people. Individuals who give so much and ask for little in return push me to be a more selfless person.

7. Overachievers. Ambition is contagious.

8.Failure. It is not the fear of failing, but remembering my past failures that inspires me.

9. Family and Friends. Making the ones you love proud is a big motivation.

10. Being lazy. Every once in a while you just have to relax and not worry about anything.

Inspiration can really be found almost anywhere, you just have to look for it.

Photo: Kevin Dooley

Thursday, July 23, 2009


“Everyone feels some ambition, but few have ambitions on a vast scale.”

Three years ago I ran across this quote by Tocqueville while reading for a political philosophy class. It struck a chord with me at the time so I scrawled it on a piece of paper and put it in my wallet. To this day I still have it and run across it every few months when I de-George Costanza my wallet.

Having ambition is one thing, having enough to consistently act on it is another. Why not push yourself? Why not have ambitions on a vast scale? Most good things in life were done by people who thought big. If you fail, you fail. You will get over it and have that experience to push you. My failures drive me to succeed.

I am no expert in self-improvement but my one key to success is to work harder than everyone else. Realize that you are not the only person with with motivations and aspirations and work harder, longer and smarter then everyone to achieve your goals.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Finding Your Career Path

For the past couple years I have been trying to figure out what career to pursue. Unlike a lucky few, I have never had that dream path that I knew I would follow. College helped cultivate my interest in a few areas, namely, politics and law. Yet I still find myself questioning my specific career path. My only requirement (aside from being able to pay the bills) is that I find a job that I am passionate about. When I do things I am passionate about I am happy, take pride in my work and do it really well. I think this is applicable to most people. Finding something that you can do that fills you with passion and that someone will give you money for is the ultimate key.

I am spending this summer trying to gain a better understanding of what I want to do and what fills me with passion. I am doing this in a couple different ways:
  • Taking the time to think. Taking 20 minutes to sit and contemplate career goals and life is probably the first step. As simple as this seems it is easy to not do it.
  • Reading. Reading books about different careers and successful people can yield great advice. Reading about remarkable people and ideas usually gets my mind racing.
  • Talking to people in the field. Who better to talk to than people who have great jobs. I have found that people are very honest and helpful if you ask them for career advice.
  • Writing this blog. This blog forces me to extrapolate on my thoughts and career aspirations.
The most important step is just taking the time to think and reflect. I think too many people take what they are given and accept it. They get a job and go with the flow. I worked at a place once where you could just see people who had lost their passion for work long ago. They trudged on because they had to. I vowed then to never let that happen to me. Having the power to choose what you want to do is a gift. Don't waste it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


“The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action.”
John Dewey

My name is Ryan Krueger. I currently live in Los Angeles with my wife Caroline and our cats Siggy and Millie.  I finished by first year of law school at Loyola Chicago and recently transferred to UCLA.  For the past couple years I have been focusing on improving different areas of my life, with varying degrees of success. I strive to be a better person, to have a better relationship and to have a more successful career.

About the Website:

Choice of Action is a website geared towards self improvement. It covers a wide range of topics centering on the "continuous (self) formation through choice of action."

Topics include:
  • Tips to reach goals
  • Productivity
  • Health/fitness tips
  • Relaxation
  • Mistakes along the way
Choice of Action is a chronicle of my quest for improvement and (hopefully) can provide a bit of help for those also looking to improve.