Updated: October 8, 2020
I believe it’s human nature to resist change and avoid discomfort. Our minds and our bodies don’t like it when we have to work too hard on anything.
This is one of the reasons why it’s difficult to break bad habits and learn good and new ones. It’s also one of the reasons why we procrastinate, which is often to avoid burdensome tasks.
“I don’t feel like it.”
How many times have you said this to yourself?
In my case, I’ve said this more often than I wanted. Usually, when I had to go to the gym, analyze a financial report, or write a blog post, among many other tasks.
And if there’s anything I learned in all those times, it’s that giving in to laziness or procrastination can severely limit my potential.
By choosing not to be productive because I’m not in the mood or I don’t feel like doing the things that I have to do, I am consequently sabotaging my growth as a person, slowing the improvement of my skills, and in a way, limiting my ability to make more money.
However, I also realized that whenever I’m in this mindset of setting things aside for later, the obstacle that’s stopping me from accomplishing the task is 100% within my control.
And to say that I don’t feel like doing something is more often than not, just an excuse.
There’s nothing outside myself that’s actually stopping me from doing the thing that needs to be done.
Do you agree?
The 5-Minute Rule
Stephen King says, “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
And for many years, this has been my solution whenever I’m not in the mood to do work.
I force myself to go to the gym, oblige my mind to open the computer, compel my fingers to type words — and for the most part, it works. And I called it The 5-Minute Rule.
During times when I don’t feel like doing something, I tell myself to just put in five minutes of work. And if after that, I still lack the motivation, then I can guiltlessly stop and do something else.
However and efficiently enough, those five minutes would create the momentum that I need to carry on and finish the task at hand.
Give yourself permission to do imperfect work.
When fighting against laziness and procrastination, it’s important to give yourself permission to do imperfect work.
In my case, I tell myself that it’s okay to just walk on the treadmill at the gym and not do anything else, to just look at the spreadsheets and not do any analysis, and to draft a poorly-written blog article.
That it’s okay to simply make an attempt. Just put in the work and focus on making progress.
Avoid thinking that you need to get things done, much less to do a perfect job. At the end of the day, what’s more helpful and important is to simply get things started.