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

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