How to stop being lazy and get things done

By Philip Park

I know, this is a rather provocative title for an article, but I must confess it isn’t mine. SJ Scott has just brought out a book entitled “23 Anti-Procrastination Habits – How to stop being lazy and get results in your life.”

Sure, a lot of it is common sense. For example, write down all the things that you have to do today and then eliminate the things that are not important. Taking the unimportant items off the list is quite a challenge, but it definitely simplifies life. Do you have to take your suit to the dry cleaners this morning? No? Then cut it from the list. The suit can wait till the weekend.

Then there’s the longer term projects that you cannot possibly finish in a day or a week. It’s a good idea to dedicate some time to these each week, but don’t get swallowed by these projects. Focus on completing those cycles of action that can be done now. This can be tough and we often find ourselves slipping into bad habits to avoid confronting what has to be confronted. I found whenever I “procrastinated” or delayed tackling a particularly difficult task, it became harder and harder to get to the task at hand. I built a mental block – entirely self-created – to avoid having to confront the issue.

Then I realised that these mental blocks can be devastating. For example, after several weeks of making no sales, who wants to pick up the phone and make yet another sales call? After all, it all seems pretty hopeless at this point. The trick is to keep at it. Eventually the drought breaks and then a sale comes in, then another, and another. All of a sudden, it becomes easy again.

We often find ourselves dedicating more time to the easier, routine things in life, rather than confront things that are more difficult. When something seems like a mission, the correct thing to do is throw more energy at it than normal. Working alone, this can be difficult since there is no-one to push us. Working as part of a team, there is usually sufficient pressure from other team members to push through the barriers.

Here’s a couple of useful tips from SJ Scott:

  • Identify what’s REALLY important in your life and then happily ignore everything else.
  • Say “NO” to pointless tasks without angering your boss, friends or loved ones.
  • Start your day by completing your most important projects.
  • Take action on a task — even when you’re not in the mood to do it.
  • Break down VERY challenging projects into an easy-to-follow blueprint.
  • Organise your life so you’re not buried in paperwork or your to-do list.
  • Get yourself motivated when you don’t feel like working on a goal.

Good luck!