Yesterday, I talked about the daily annoyances in our lives that are so tiny, they’re almost embarrassing to talk about. (Like my lamp being 3 feet away.)
I’m not stupid and I don’t think I’m that lazy. But that lamp made me dread walking over every single day.
Most people don’t talk about these things because they feel so trivial. Aren’t people starving? Why am I talking about my light bulb being out?
But these minor annoyances actually add up to a lot. It’s like going to the beach and walking into a swarm of mosquitoes. One isn’t so bad (F U Mr. Mosquito), but if you’re getting bitten by a hundred of them, you have a serious problem.
The funny thing is, these little inconveniences feel so small that we almost CAN’T talk about them. It’s politically incorrect!
And really, is it worth my time to agonize over a sheet that’s a little too small for my mattress?
So instead, what do we do?
We keep putting up with these distractions day after day, not recognizing the invisible cost of each individual annoyance. We never make the connection between these 50 tiny inconveniences…and the BIG things that we always seem too tired to do.
We say, “I need motivation,” but really, we already have enough — we’re just spending it one ounce at a time on tiny bullshit.
Those little annoyances are like motivation mosquitoes. They suck you dry one bite at a time.
Think about what it would mean if we could fix those things, wake up every morning, and have a velvet-smooth day ahead of us.
- Your egg pan is already on the stove, clean and shining.
- Your outfit is ready and matched, waiting for you to slip it on.
- You already have reservations for dinner tonight.
YES! THIS IS HOW IT SHOULD BE!!
To do this, I’m going to show you how I engineer my most productive days.
Don’t worry — I’m not going to turn you into a robotic productivity automaton. In fact, I love binge-watching TV just as much as anyone.
This week, I’m going to talk about FOLLOWING THROUGH.
It’s one thing to have a bunch of dreams. But there’s nothing worse than starting something new…then getting distracted…
…and doing it over and over again. Hell has a special place for people who start 25 things and never finish any of them.
Like no other time in history, we’re overwhelmed with options. We’re worried about being paralyzed by too many choices. About being people who start things, but never finish.
Why is it so easy to talk a big game about losing weight…or starting a business…or moving to another city…but so hard to actually do it?
To put it bluntly, I don’t want to be on my deathbed saying this:
That’s why I’m going to show you 3 of my favorite anti-laziness tactics right now. Use these and watch the difference in the next 7 days.
ANTI-LAZINESS TACTIC #1:
If it’s not on your calendar, it doesn’t exist
My friend asked me how I manage my to-dos. I pulled up my calendar and showed him exactly how I run my life. If it’s not on my calendar, it doesn’t exist.
Look at this one:
This is a random to-do that I would normally put in the back of my head…and it would never get done. Instead, I added it to my calendar so it always gets done.
Advanced tip: You can set up weekly, monthly, and quarterly “to-dos” for things like reviewing your systems, planning an annual negotiation, or even checking in on your relationship.
ANTI-LAZINESS TACTIC #2:
Take an Honesty Bath
So many of us start our day off with a lie:
- “Ugh, I’m tired…I’ll go to the gym after work”
- “Ok, for real, I’m not going to eat junk food tonight” (said while getting dressed to go out, knowing you’ll be drinking 6 vodka tonics and passing by that pizza place on 6th Ave. You’re DEFINITELY going to eat drunk food tonight. But you deny it)
- “I’m going to wake up early tomorrow” (said while browsing Reddit and Facebook at 9pm…only to be doing the same thing 5 hours later)
This is where I take an Honesty Bath. As a bachelor living in Manhattan, there’s nothing more relaxing than sinking into a bubble bath, putting on some candles and Richard Marx, and melting the day’s stresses away.
Uh…what I mean is, I get BRUTALLY HONEST about myself. This means I look back at the last month and say, “What did I claim I was going to do? What did I really do?”
And then, in classic GTD style, I do these:
- Do it
Example: If I claim I’m going to wake up every day at 7am, but every morning, I just slap the snooze button until it’s 8am…I’m not going to wake up at 7am! DELETE!
If I claim I’m going to make my bed every morning, but I have a huge project at work and I haven’t made it in the last 3 weeks, I’m not going to make my bed while the crazy project is happening at work. DEFER!
This takes a lot of fortitude since you have to be ruthlessly honest about your strengths and weaknesses, and your past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. If you find yourself using the word “just” — “Ugh, I’ll just start next week” or “I’ll just try harder this week” — you’ve already lost.
The best part? Once you make the decision, you can live GUILT-FREE and use your energy to commit to things you’ll actually do.
ANTI-LAZINESS TACTIC #3:
Say no (use this script)
I used to have an inbox full of things I wanted to say no to, but I didn’t want to disappoint people. I also told myself I didn’t want to be rude, but truthfully, I didn’t know how to turn people down politely.
We ALL have this — invitations, obligations, things we don’t really want to do. And usually, we either (1) say yes, then regret it later, or (2) ignore it, hoping it will go away, until our ignoring it actually becomes rude.
In truth, wouldn’t you rather have someone be honest and say, “I wish I could help, but this isn’t the right fit” quickly…rather than dragging it on and giving you false hope?
Exactly. So why don’t you do it?
To remove all barriers, here’s a script you can use to politely say no:
Thanks for this invitation. I’m flattered! Unfortunately, I’ve got my priorities set for the year and this just doesn’t fit in. Again, thanks for thinking of me.
Send that “no” script to one person today. You’ll be amazed how it feels to clear out the cobwebs of obligations and start off fresh.
* * *
Remember those 50 tiny inconveniences we all face every day?
- Maybe you only have 2 coffee mugs, so you have to wash one every morning.
- Maybe you need a new shower curtain, but last time you went to Target, they were all sold out.
- Maybe half your pants are in your closet and half in your drawer, so you have to go back and forth
It’s not shallow to want to have a smooth day. In fact, top performers go out of their way to recognize these motivation mosquitoes — those tiny annoyances that drain your mental reservoir — and purge with prejudice.
NOW, my favorite part!
Let’s imagine all 50 daily annoyances you have are magically fixed.
- What would your velvet-smooth day look like? Play it out from waking up — really walk me through it.
- If you don’t change anything, what will your day look like next year? Be really specific — what will your day look like on December 8th, 2016 if you don’t change anything?
Leave your answers in the comments below.