*This is part two of the laziness posts I have been writing about recently. If you haven't had a chance to read the first one, you can do so here.
Lazy people want much but get little,
but those who work hard will prosper. - Proverbs 13:4
Two weeks ago, I discussed how I have been recently struggling with laziness and jealousy, and why these two things surprisingly go hand-in-hand. You can read that post here. Well, now, I am going to discuss how to kick these feelings to the curb and lose them forever - Leading to you feeling more productive and more motivated.
Yes, it can be done. I am living proof of this.
All it takes is a little work. Yes, work. But no worries. Once you start doing these things, they will become habits and will be easier and easier for you to achieve.
Here are five things I have started doing to combat laziness that have worked wonders for me.
1. Schedule More Efficiently
You may have heard this one before and think it's hopeless, but don't write me off just yet.
If you are anything like me, you try to schedule something but then never follow through. Perhaps at one point, you bought a fancy scheduler and some colorful pens, hoping that would make you more organized. But now, that pretty journal you bought lays to waste. Those cool gel pens are lying at the bottom of your catch-all drawer right now, drying up unused. No matter how many planners, bullet journals, or schedulers you buy, you never follow through on any of them.
I get it. I was that person for years. I bought so many nice journals that just went to waste. If I used them regularly for three weeks, that was a milestone for me! But now, I consistently schedule out everything I have to do for the week, and have been doing so for a while now! So what changed?
I don't use nice planners anymore. I literally use a ripped-out piece of paper from a lined notebook. I have found that this keeps me far more organized than any planner on the market. I am too scared to ruin 30 dollar planners by taking them places, or accidentally marking them up with cruddy handwriting. With a piece of paper, I can write as terribly as I want, can pin it to my corkboard, wrinkle it and throw it in my purse, get it wet from the rain, or any other number of things without fear.
I keep one pen on me. Not five hundred gel pens like I used to. Yes, I still love gel pens, but they just aren't practical. Keeping just one nice pen has been a monumental, and kind of weird step towards keeping myself organized.
I no longer schedule myself every single day. Scheduling every day is just tiring. And when you feel like you have to because of those nice planner pages, you get burned out really fast. Now, I schedule my week out on Monday. I draw little circles next to things I need to accomplish, and as I accomplish them, I can fill in the little circles. It is rather satisfying actually.
I schedule work, church, and home all separately. Rather than lumping everything together like I used to, I now schedule everything separately. I literally have three different pieces of paper for each area of my life. Work has it's own weekly piece of paper, church has it's own weekly piece of paper, and home chores has it's own weekly piece of paper. I pin these papers to my cork board so I can see everything that is happening and all the little circles I am filling in.
I can't tell you how much scheduling myself more efficiently has helped me combat laziness. Now, all of my weekly goals are laid out in front of me on three pieces of paper. I am able to see everything I want to accomplish for the week. When I clearly see all those little circles that haven't been filled in, it makes me want to move my butt and get stuff done.
2. Get Off Social Media
For months now, I have talked about the dangers of social media before with little to no success. And I understand why: social media is addicting. It is hard to break any addicting habit. But I have recently done so, and I want to tell everyone how monumental it has been in my life:
I am a happier person. When I was addicted to social media, I was depressed. Seriously depressed. I was paranoid about everyone and everything. I was horrified by everything happening in the world. I used to feel like I was being targeted, watched, and persecuted for my beliefs. But now, I have been able to take a step back and realize that social media is not doing much good in my life, or really the lives of anyone. I have stopped scrolling and generally stopped caring. I realize now that God didn't create people to know every single awful thing that is happening in the world. But with social media, all we are seeing is negativity. Now that I am off social media, I see a lot more positivity in the world than I ever have before.
I am more motivated. Since stopping my social media habit, I have naturally become more motivated. Rather than sitting and scrolling, I would rather use the time to get something done on my blog, or at my job at the church, or on a home project. In fact, I have been working for over eight hours today, and haven't even had the desire to look at my phone!
I am present. I didn't realize it at the time, but my husband was hurt by how distant I was when I was on my phone. I was literally choosing to make myself depressed rather than choosing to be present with my husband! But now that I am choosing more and more often to put my phone down, I am finding that I am more excited to hang out with him and do fun things, like watch The Karate Kid and eat popcorn, or go skeet shooting!
Friends, I know and understand the difficulty of breaking a bad and addictive habit, and I am definitely not perfect. I still find myself every once in a while going down a social media wormhole. But one thing that helped me was realizing how much happier I felt only after three days of no scrolling! I felt like a new person. I haven't fully dropped my social media accounts, but I now know how to say no much easier and use my time doing more productive things.
3. Set Alarm to Worship Music
It's the first thing you hear every morning.
As soon as I started doing this, I noticed a huge change in my morning mood. There are some mornings that I choose not to turn off or snooze the alarm just because I love the song that is playing so much! My favorite song right now is Graves Into Gardens by Elevation Worship. I promise, it makes a wonderful alarm clock song! I also like Hallelujah by Casting Crowns and Ain't No Grave by Bethel. I have also noticed that setting my alarm to worship music has gotten me out of bed quicker, and I am more productive in the morning as well.
4. Figure Out Wasted Time
This is the hardest one on the list. I understand the struggle for those of you who don't have a lot of time. I also used to be that person. I was worn so thin that I didn't know how I was going to fit another thing into my schedule.
One night, when I felt so overwhelmed by my schedule, my husband and I sat down for an hour, got a sheet of paper, and literally timed out my entire life - from the time I woke up, to the time I went to sleep. We timed everything: How long it took me to drive, go to work, eat, go to school, homework, sleep, bathroom breaks, cleaning, free time... literally everything. I found that I was wasting so much time on things that didn't matter. I was wasting time on social media, on complaining and arguing, (yes, we even scheduled out how long and how often my husband and I got into fights!!) on taking long baths, or watching tv, snacking, and other things you wouldn't necessarily think of. After this, I knew where to cut stuff out in order to make more time for myself to better achieve my goals.
This exercise was monumental for me. I realized that God knew what He was doing when He put 24 hours in the day. Yes, we do need time to have free time and self-care, but God already put that into place with the Day of Rest. The other six days can be used for accomplishing goals, working, home projects, spending time with friends and family, volunteering, exercising, or anything else you want to accomplish! All you have to do is cut out places where you are wasting time, thus freeing up more time for you to do things that really matter to you!
5. Learn about Yourself
Read self-help books. Take personality tests. Listen at church. Go to seminars. These are all ways to help you learn more about yourself.
You might be wondering why learning about yourself is important for kicking laziness to the curb:
Because if you know what makes you tick, you will know how to avoid situations that make you feel depressed, unmotivated, or lazy.
For example: My three strengths are Leadership, Performance, and Excelling. Now these are definitely strengths, but they can also be weaknesses too. For instance, I want to excel at everything I do - It is one of my driving forces. But with it, comes an unhealthy sense of competition, anger at others for doing better than I, or laziness when I am not excelling as well as I want to. At this point, my excelling strength turns into a weakness. But because I now know this, I am able to identify when I need to avoid certain situations that trigger that competitive emotion.
As you begin to learn more about yourself, you will find out why you react to things the way you do, and how to avoid those negative reactions. I personally love the Enneagram test. If you have a few minutes, you can take that test here.
The takeaway, Friend, is that these are some tools that personally worked for me to get myself motivated. I know that not everyone has the same personality as me and may need different ways in order to keep motivated. But I do know one thing: laziness is a choice. If it weren't a choice, the Bible wouldn't tell people not to fall into laziness. And if something is a choice, then it can be changed. So find what works for you to get yourself out of that rut. After all, Proverbs states that those who work hard will prosper.