One of my best friends was recently able to describe me in one sentence: "You're the most hardworking lazy person I know".
While I laughed and found the observation quite endearing, I was stunned at just how true the statement is (and I'm sure my friends and family can back this up!).
By nature, I'm very lazy. Not lazy in the sense of staying in bed and watching Netflix for 10 hours a day - I actually can't watch more than 2/3 hours of TV at a time, I have to get up and do something. I'm lazy in that if there's ever something that needs doing, that I don't want to do, I will put it off for as long as humanly possible.
Let's use the example of doing household chores. Not many people like doing them, but I get absolutely no stimulation from doing them whatsoever. I find them extremely boring, and I will never enjoy any form of chore.
But of course, they need to be done. I currently live alone, so if I don't keep on top of them, my apartment will be a living pig sty...
Chores are just one example of many. Laziness for me can be anything from putting off work deadlines to skipping the side missions on video games. I was struggling to overcome my laziness, and I quickly became best friends with procrastination.
So I had to find a way to get these tedious things done in a way that provides me excitement and stimulation. Simply doing them to get them done wasn't enough motivation for me. There had to be some way to make doing them worthwhile.
For me, there were two things I needed.
First, I needed to create a winning feeling. Instead of feeling tiredness and relief after I've done something, there needs to be a sense of accomplishment. So, I write down the things I have to do, and I'll tick them off one by one.
I won't make the list exhaustive. I only need small wins, which will snowball into a winning feeling. The more things I have to do, the less motivation I'll have. I'll only put on about 6-7 tasks, and put all my energy into getting them done. (If you have more than 7, prioritise the ones you need doing quickly).
And once I've ticked everything off the list, the second thing is this: I'll reward myself! Whether it's a small snack; buying something I've wanted for a while; or simply some chill time, I've earned this reward and I'm allowed to be very proud of it.
Not only have I now gained something from my efforts, but the excitement and desire to earn a reward means that I am usually much more efficient in both saving time and doing things properly. Lo and behold, I've done a bunch of things I don't like doing in record time - and I've got a savvy little treat for doing it. Winner winner!
You can use this tool to fight any trait you have that impacts your productivity, not just laziness. If you're terrible at replying to emails, you can find the top 5-10 that you NEED to reply to - and treat yourself afterwards. Use the excitement of life's treasures to get through the sluggish tasks!
As I say, by nature I'm extremely lazy. But by using these two very easy tricks, I'm now able to fight against my negative habit and be the most hardworking lazy person around.
How can you utilise a To-Do List and Rewards system in your life?