I haven’t updated my blog for quite a while because I’ve been sick. You would think that being stuck quarantined at home with my computer wouldn’t affect my writing schedule but I’m sad to say that it did. I’ve basically been a vegetable for about 12 days. Barely left the house, barely talked to anyone because I near-totally lost my voice for half that time as well.
So, now that I’m finally coming back to the keyboard I had to decide whether I should address the issue of why so much time has past since my last post or if I should just sweep it under the rug, ignore it, and just hop back into action and pretend like I had been posting twice a week like always. Which seemed like the cowards way out, so I think I’ll write about Matt’s laziness today.
I think a big part of being a writer in this new generation is being transparent with your audience. Even–or perhaps especially–in my niche of motivation and personal growth. Sure I’d like to think I can help to inspire everyone to improve their lives in some way, but I don’t think I can do that by pretending to be a perfect human paragon of creativity and industriousness.
I’m not. I get lazy on occasion. In fact, I know myself, and if I allow it, I can be a human paragon of lazy.
Here are some things I’ve done in the past to combat my natural inclination towards laziness and keep myself productive:
- Routine. By establishing fixed routines, you eliminate any mental effort devoted to scheduling and just get the work done. My first book included a section on the Power of Habit, and in fact my first book was written because I had created a habit for myself of writing for 15 minutes every day. Also, consistent writing makes it easier to keep going than constantly stopping and starting. Even just these last few sentences came easier than the first two sentences as I dusted off my brain and got to work. Be persistent, be consistent. Develop routines that yield good results.
- Sleep. More specifically, not sleeping too much. While I was working a real job, I was actually capable of operating normally on 5 or 6 hours of sleep a night. Since I haven’t had a normal job since July of last year, I haven’t had to wake up at any specific time. So, I didn’t. I would sleep in. And when I slept in, I would end up going to bed later, until eventually I’m sleeping until after noon on a regular basis and sometimes sleeping up to 10 hours a day. This was definitely something I needed to stop, so my solution was simple: I set up a new routine. I made a promise to myself that I would leave the house by 8:00 am every morning. It really didn’t matter where I went as long as I got myself up and out of bed and out the door. Sometimes I would just put on my shoes and walk around the neighborhood. Most times I would grab a chai tea latte and sit at a table at the mall near my house and do some reading, writing, and voice messaging. That routine actually was working great until I got sick.
- Health. When I am physcially fit I am more mentally alert and capable as well. Years ago while my mother and I were full time caregivers for my grandmother I quit my gym membership. Years after that I aggravated a back injury and had to stop running. But if I let myself get too weak physically I also lose a lot of IQ points and have trouble with my mental concentration. So, with no gym and running off the table I started doing yoga just to keep myself somewhat fit–and lucid. I developed a new routine. I would do 15 minutes of yoga every day. In fact, just type in “15 minute yoga lower back workout” into YouTube and you can probably work out to some of the same videos that I do. It’ll be like we’re virtual gym buddies. (As an aside, I think I am finally well enough to start running again. Just last month I went for short jogs 3 nights in a row… until I got sick).
- Forgiveness. Eventually something will happen that will knock you off your routine. I, for example, got sick and started sleeping in, stopped exercising, and stopped writing and talking to people (that last one wasn’t really my fault). When you make a mistake, you get lazy, you lose your momentum. But the simple fact that you feel guilty about your laziness means that you are a good person inside. Forgive yourself and move on. I could probably write an entire book on the subject of forgiveness alone, because I think it is one of the greatest shackles that we attach to ourselves that prevent us from moving on. Sometimes it’s forgiveness of someone else, but more often it’s forgiveness of ourselves. And the greater the expectations you have of yourself (once again, because you are a good person) usually the more brutal you are with yourself. Forgive yourself.
- But not too much. Because even though I was sick, and even though I was lazy, my own hardships are always fairly trivial compared to what someone else is going through right now. So I don’t take my laziness lightly. Wasted time is never recovered. So forgive yourself, but pledge to do better next time.
So, back to my regular writing, regular posting, and for anyone who happens to be holding a glass of wine in their hand right this instant: “To your health.”
Do you sometimes feel discontent with your productivity? How do you handle laziness?