30 April 2010, by A. Cedilla
“Sure, go ahead. Take the easy way out.” At one point or another in your life, I’m positive either you’ve said this to someone, or had someone say this to you.
Taking the easy way out paints you as a slacker, a shirker, a lazy-assed Captain Slacktastic unwilling and unable to step up and do the job. It’s simply unacceptable — Un-American, even. But what do you think happens when you turn this idea on its head?
Hard work is not the only way to go – of course, hard work is unavoidable and, but smart work is what’s needed too. Know yourself.
- If you’re the type who works best in short bursts of energy, accept it and work with it. There’s no point to forcing yourself to slog through hours of half-hearted effort.
- If you feel exhausted and burnt-out, then by all means ease up, it’s counterproductive to work harder. Many people have high levels of energy, it goes to follow that there are also many people with low levels of energy. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just the way you’re wired. Accept it and work with it.
- If you’re excitable and get distracted easily, then you can try and arrange a quiet, distraction-free place to work, whatever lets you do what you need.
- If you perform better at certain times of the day (or night), work with it. Night-owls and early birds have their spots in the schedule, know when you’re at your best in the day and use that time for the high-value tasks.
Play to your weak points. If you know that doing [X] will be hard for you, smooth the way. Try and remove as many of the stumbling blocks and obstructions as you can. Now, replace [X] with what you find difficult to do, and get going.
- Unhealthy diet? Gradually replace fluff with real, nutritious food, and keep it accessible. Consult a dietitian, get informed, act on that knowledge.
- Messy room? Put cleaning supplies at hand — keep the trash can close. Pick up one thing on each trip to the bathroom, or three things during the commercials. Visit Unclutterer and Flylady for excellent advice.
Make your laziness work for you. Whether [X] equals exercise, work, or the ability to concentrate, you can use your smarts to find an easier way to do things. Set up what you need to use before you need it, in a place where it makes sense for you to put it, to be used at a pace you can sustain.
- Set up what you need to use – for example, exercise clothes and work-out gear.
- Before you need it – Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance (a popular military axiom).
- In a place where it makes sense for you to put it – by the bed, or hanging outside the bathroom door for you to change into when you leave it.
- At a pace you can sustain – start with 15-20 minutes a day. Alright, just 15-minutes. That’s it.
Incorporate these small changes into your daily routine. Just for a week, then rest. Keep going until you make a month. No biggie. A month is going to go by whether you do anything or not, so it’s not too much to do 15 minutes a day.
Don’t rock the boat too wildly. Take small, deliberate steps every day, even if it’s in squeaks and dribbles of effort. Let go of the notion that it only counts when “Chariots of Fire” is playing in the background while you’re sweating buckets and gasping out a lung.
“Anything doing is worth doing well.”
No one does it right the first time –how will you learn if you don’t make the first few attempts? What can you accomplish with this mindset, aside from giving up before you even start? Nothing. Without any action, theory remains theory, and you learn nothing.
If it’s worth it to you, do what you can, the best way you can. If that best way incorporates your strengths and weaknesses, all the better, because you’re fully involved in making it count, so learn to block out the side-comments.
Steady, incremental improvements beats flaming finishes…and they last longer. Your strengths are the shadow-sides of your weaknesses — play to both, you win whatever you do.
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