11 practical ways to jump out of a lazy rut

Alex Shalman — №3 with Michael Bungay Stanier

I have no quick fix — I’m not THAT good — so you’ll have to settle for some practical techniques to dig yourself out of your own lazy ruts. It will take some work on your part, but I’m sure that whatever works for me can work for you too.

1. Start somewhere, anywhere.

We can think of the discipline muscle as a strong pillar. Metaphorically speaking, if this muscle is big and tall it will serve as a Pantheon of productivity. Pick any one of the ideas below, or any one of your own ideas, and get started!

If you follow the action consistently for 30 days, you will build a habit. Once you’re in the “habit of making habits” you’ll be able to build new ones. Maintaining takes much less energy than starting, so you can keep on adding on new habits to your “habit-happy” life.

2. Self-actualize, be conscious.

This happens to be the most important point in the article. Think. By questioning your source, reasons, and intentions, you are able to transcend whatever obstacle you find in your way.

3. Improve exercise antics.

Sometimes I find myself laying in bed, just listening to audio books on my iPhone. Big mistake. The simple hack is to take that one hour, go outside with my iPhone and just walk around the neighborhood. A brisk walk will get my blood flowing, heart pumping, and my body rejuvenated by the time the one hour is up. At an hour per day it more than fulfils my weekly walking requirement as well as enhances my personal growth.

4. Engage in house cleaning.

We all get to the point where we let our house go a bit past — okay, way past — the point of being perfectly clean. This makes me feel a bit guilty because I know that one of the keys to a clear mind is a clean home and workplace. It gets to the point where the cleaning job will either demand a lot of time, or force you to move out.

If you’ve slipped in the clean-as-you go process, you can use the 15 minute rule to get out of your rut. Pick a room, and designate just 15 minutes to clean something up (i.e. just the desk, just the closet, just the floors). Use up all 15 minutes and continue the next day. In the mean time, clean as you go and you’ll find a clean room within about a week.

5. Cultivate reading habits.

It’s a sad fact that most Americans don’t read. One of the reasons I started my site was to cater to such people. My sentiments were that reading a full book, and compressing the gems into a 10 minute read, can be convenient for even the most modest of readers. Incidentally, after running my site for this long, I’ve come to realize that you guys are in the upper echelons of intelligence and do spend a nice chunk of time reading. I feel like you can relate when I say that falling off the reading wagon is a commonly occurring disaster.

The best thing to do with a dropped habit is to get back into it slowly. All you need is to dedicate 15 minutes, as soon as you wake up, each and every morning. This is when you’ll be most alert to read, which you can do by waking up 15 minutes early. Commit to just 30 days of 15 minute mornings, and eventually expand the hours if you like the new habit.

6. Get back on track with writing.

In the creation of my site I have made a 180 turn in my thoughts about writing. It used to be a painful chore, but that was before I realized that I’m passionate about writing. Now I love writing for my site, and the other sites where I freelance. After all, I only delivered 1 article last week, and it wasn’t due to lack of time or lack of material.

The technique that works best for me is scheduling a writing time the night before. When I set aside 2 hours in a day, I’m able to write anywhere between 1-4 articles. If it’s more than 1, I can give it away, or set it for a future date. However, I need to make sure I’m in the habit of getting back the next day to do some more writing, or else the lazy bug will slip up on me.

7. Hydrate for productivity.

One of the things that I’ve found to be continuously daunting is the reappearance of dehydration. Drinking 2 liters of water a day gets every atom of my body resonating and jumping with energy.

8. End over-sleeping.

The more you sleep, the lazier you are. The lazier you are, the more you sleep. By applying a couple of standardized rules in the form of habits we’re able to break out of this sloth-like cycle.

First, when you hear the morning alarm, and before you lay there and question yourself, jump right out of bed! Walk over to the sink, wash your face with cold water and immediately bring yourself to your schedule or to-do list. Need an afternoon nap? Set your alarm for 20 minutes and do not allow yourself to sleep more than this optimal time under any circumstances.

9. Don’t eat lazy food.

Have you noticed that with laziness comes bad food choices that are high in fats, sugars, and processed carbs? No? Is it just me? Maybe with bad food choices comes laziness, which is also very feasible.

One of the things that helps me break the cycle is placing some rules on the table. No eating 4 hours before bed, unless it’s a piece of fruit. Using fruits and vegetables as the only snacks between meals. Having vegetables be the entree of my meals, not the side dish. Eating 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day to avoid lethargy. Healthy food gives you more energy, which is one sure-fire way to get out of the lazy hole.

10. Simplify your life.

Think about it, extensive filing systems like GTD require months to learn, just so you can figure out what to do today. Your mission — simplify. When you take away as many unnecessary layers and distractions, your mind will be clutter free and excited at the opportunity to tackle what’s important.

11. Embrace your laziness.

Consider for a moment that you’re rundown. Physically, emotionally, or spiritually you’re experiencing a leak in your battery that’s leaving you sluggish throughout the day. That’s both understandable and reasonable.

Put up the white flag, go to sleep, get hydrated, eat some healthy food, go for a sweaty run and refer to number 2 — think. Perhaps you know what the problem is, but something tells me that if you stand in front of the mirror and look yourself in the eyes for 10 minutes, a little voice will come out and tell you exactly what’s wrong — fix it.

Photo: © Spauln / Fotolia.com

Alex shalman

Alex Shalman

Alex Shalman is a 24 year old Jewish student, son, boyfriend, classmate, writer and friend that lives in New Jersey, USA. His interests include personal development, fitness, nutrition, productivity, psychology and relationships.

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