We are all lazy and we all procrastinate, it’s human nature.

 

Our laziness and procrastination originated millions of years ago when early humans faced extremely harsh survival conditions.  Food (energy) was scarce, burning calories without replenishment was a surefire recipe for death.  Being lazy conserved precious calories.

 

It was advantageous to do the least amount of work for the greatest reward.  Why burn energy and risk dying by walking 2 miles for a salad when Jack the caveman could hunt a much more filling deer 20 feet away.

 

By being lazy, Jack the caveman might have been able to prolong his existence by avoiding certain death from sabertooth tigers, freezing, or injury.

 

Today the risk of danger and death are rare but, since many of our behaviors are passed down from our 2 million year old ancestors,  we are biologically programmed to spend the least amount of energy for the greatest reward possible.  This means we are lazy procrastinators.  What was once an advantage to our survival back in prehistoric times, sabotages us in the current world.

 

So how do we deal with this evolutionary procrastination and laziness?  First we can understand how we operate and then work with our biological programming.  Here are 3 proven methods to kill procrastination.

Commit to a little bit

 

Commit to the first 5% and the rest will come naturally.  Weightlifters, runners, CEO’s, physicians, engineers, entrepreneurs or anyone working at a high level will all tell you the hardest part of getting anything done is getting started.

 

My buddy Paul wants to start a workout regimen but, hates working out and keeps putting it off instead of getting started.  Everyday, just as Paul gets ready to leave work to hit the gym, anxiety and tension builds within.  He starts to think “ i hate lifting heavy objects” “its too much work”, “I don’t know what to do in the gym” and “I’ll never be able to get through the workout”  Paul procrastinates by convincing himself he has more work to do, he decides he will go tomorrow.  Tomorrow comes and he procrastinates more.

 

Let’s take a look at what really happened to Paul just before he was about to go the gym.  Paul got lost in the details, took a simple task and blew it way out of proportion.  He psyched himself out.  He was mulling over the thought of doing too much work, in biological terms, he was worried about expending too much energy. The thought alone caused him to get anxious and procrastinate.   All these negative thoughts causing procrastination could have been avoided if Paul only  thought about committing to the first 5% and got started.

 

Paul decides to change, to cut procrastination, he commits to the first 5%.  His new way of thinking is “All I need to do is get to the gym that’s it”  and focuses on just the getting started.  He decides to just show up and let the rest happen.  Instead of procrastinating and psyching himself out, Paul showed up and his gym attendance doubled!

 

A million and one bad thoughts make it seem a lot worse than it really is. No need to talk ourselves out of acting by overthinking it.  The hardest part is just getting started so, commit to the first 5% and just show up!

 

Make it too easy

Just showing up and getting started is half the battle.  Whether it is writing or a running, the hardest part is just showing up and getting started.  To kill procrastination even further, make it easier to get started, almost too easy and obvious.  The less energy expended the better.

 

Paul wants to go the gym and get ripped but he hates working out.  Showing up is the first step so, making it even easier to show up will increase his gym attendance and overall results.  Paul wants to go to the gym after work so he chooses a gym specifically on the way home.  By doing this, Paul has to drive past the gym before going home making it easier to show up.

 

Paul knows he is lazy so he hires a personal trainer to train him.  Now he doesn’t even have to think while in the gym, he just does, even less energy is expended thinking and more energy can be spent focused doing.  Paul’s personal trainer tells him to pack his gym bag the night before and leave it in the front seat of his car.  He also tells Paul to change into this gym clothes before leaving work.

 

Now imagine this, Paul is dressed in his gym clothes, has to meet his personal trainer at 5:30 and his gym is one the way home from work.  Paul has basically made it too easy and too obvious that his only option after work is to go work out.  Paul has set himself up for success and killed his procrastination habit of avoiding going to the gym.

 

Kill procrastination even further by making it too easy and too obvious to get started.  Make it easy on yourself by planning and altering the way you go about your day.

 

Reward yourself with something sweet

Making it too easy to show up and then showing up will put a serious dent in procrastination.

If procrastination is looking for excuses not to start, the opposite would be looking for excuses to start.  As mentioned earlier, we are wired to seek the greatest rewards.  Setting a reward for yourself might make it more enjoyable, not to mention, you might actually want to start instead of procrastinating.  Kill procrastination even further by looking forward to the rewards you set for yourself or look for immediate gratification

 

Paul has put a serious dent in his procrastination but, still doesn’t like going to the gym.  He also knows he is extra lazy so he takes it a step further, he looks for an excuse to go to the gym more, an immediate gratification.

 

Paul is single and works with a bunch of guys. He is looking for some female attention and remembers the gym is full of attractive females!  Paul went from not wanting to go, to leaving work early Monday through Friday.

 

Paul knows this alone isn’t enough of a reason to push hard and finish his workout, so he steps it up even further with an immediate reward right after his workout, a mango protein smoothie.  Now instead of procrastinating, he looks forward to working out hard.   He craves the rewards; the euphoric feeling of flowing endorphins, a post workout mango smoothie and conversation with women at the gym.

 

Instead of procrastinating, transform into the opposite, look for excuses to get started!  Set a reward for yourself, give yourself immediate gratifications and soon you might start to crave what you once hated.

 

Paul went from hating working out to loving it.  He is ripped, he looks forward to going Monday through Friday and get tons of dates at the gym!  With a little understanding and a few subtle tweaks Paul absolutely destroyed his procrastination habit of not going to the gym and you can too.

 

With the following techniques you can cut your procrastination in have and double, triple or quadruple your productivity.  This is just one example, these techniques can be applied at work, school, fitness and home.  You will be much more productive than before if you first understand how you operate and work with your biological programming.

 

Take action today using this method

 

What procrastination habit would you like to kill?

 

Step 1:  

 

Just get started commit to the first 5%.  Getting started is the hardest part.  The sooner you get started the sooner you can finish.

Here is some good internal dialogue:

 

As soon as I get this done, I will feel________. (relieved, a monkey off my back, weight lifted off my shoulders)

 

All I have to do is just _________.  (Commit to the first 5%, what is the first action in the sequence of events?)

  • open up a word doc for a project,
  • sit down at the computer,
  • get in the car,
  • get dressed
  • pick up the phone

 

Step 2:

 

Make it easier to get started, almost to easy.  The less effort, the better.

 

  • How can you alter your day so it is easier to start?
    • Use proximity, it is easier if it is closer.
    • Use accessibility, how easy is it to access and how can you make it easier?
  • What is the first thing in the chain of events that will get you going?
    • ex.  If I wanted to write, I would have to sit down, open my computer, open word, calm myself and write.
      • I could make it easier by having a clear designated writing area in my house with a computer that opens word everytime I start it and no internet access to limit procrastination.
  • How can I make it easier on myself to get the job done?
  • What can you do to make it so easy and save time to help you accomplish your task?

 

Step 3:

 

Rewarding yourself

 

  • Bad internal dialogue:
    • “I hate doing this”
  • Better internal Dialogue
    • “This is going to suck but when I am done It will get me one step closer to __________.”
    • “The sooner I can get this done, I can have _______.”
  • Immediate gratification
    • Look for a source of immediate gratification
  • How can you reward yourself after completing it?
  • What is something to look forward to?
Feeling lazy? It’s OK, Do this to kill laziness and procrastination
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2 thoughts on “Feeling lazy? It’s OK, Do this to kill laziness and procrastination

  • May 25, 2015 at 12:16 am
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    I have never been lazy or a procrastinator until now. I nearly died of shock last week when I had the light bulb moment and realised my new tendency. Funny how things happen for reason. Step 1 Light bulb moment. Step 2 This article = Step 3 Motivation……..thank you 🙂

    Reply
    • June 19, 2015 at 5:56 pm
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      Hi Justine! Glad I could help

      Reply

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