Get Off Your Lazy Ass: How to Actually Get Things Done.

FIVE THôT columnist Rocky McGredy gives us his view on the world in weekly doses.

Before I was an employed individual, I was a completely different person. I’d sleep in until noon (or later) on any given day of the week, stay up until 2:00AM every night, sit in front of a computer screen for 8 hours a day, laze about in my pajamas until 5:00PM, and– Oh, I don’t know, you get the point. I was lazy. Like, extremely lazy. Even worse: I started to attribute this laziness to external forces. “Oh, I have sleep apnea, that’s why I sleep in so late,” or, “Oh, I’m a major insomniac, I literally can’t go to sleep any earlier.” Bullshit. I was just lazy, unmotivated, and stuck in the midst of patterned behavior.

Nowadays, I’d describe my lifestyle as the complete opposite. I’m the most productive I’ve ever been, and I feel great because of it. I’m highly motivated, I have more energy, I’m healthy, happy, and responsible. And yeah, maybe part of it is that I went from being jobless, to working 6 days a week (like I said before); but, it’s definitely more than that. It’s not like getting a job all of a sudden turned me into a high-functioning individual. It’s incredibly easy to clock-out of work, head home, and sit on the couch until two-in-the-morning eating a giant bag of ruffles and watching reruns of Seinfeld.

It’s a little more difficult than that to go from doing jack shit, to actually doing things. The person I am now is the culmination of several minor routine changes, repeated over a long period of time. Gradually, these minor routine changes have evolved from deliberate behavioral alterations, to the new normal. These things may not work for everybody, but they have certainly done me a world of good. Let me share with you, and perhaps you may reap the rewards for yourself:

1. STOP SLEEPING IN.

Notice that I didn’t say stop staying up late. Of course you’ll be faced with some circumstances where you are required to be awake until ungodly hours, so giving yourself a bedtime is just unrealistic. Go to bed when you are tired, or when you can. The key is to stop sleeping in. I, for example, have a standard time that I am not allowed to sleep past every morning. I have an every day alarm set for 9:30AM, and no matter how tired I may be, or how late I stayed up, I WILL be out of bed by that time. You have to accept the consequences of your actions, and suck it up. If anything, you end up being tired all day and going to bed early. Sure, sometimes you’ll need to wake up earlier, and there may be the occasional scenario where you turn off the alarm whilst half asleep, but you’ll know in the back of your head what your daily alarm is. Having more daytime hours gives you the ability to accomplish more of the things you need to do.

2. BE AWARE THAT THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING YOU NEED TO BE DOING.

Think about it, there’s always something that you’re procrastinating on. Maybe you need to go to the dentist, maybe you’ve got a pile of old clothes that you’ve been meaning to donate to goodwill, maybe the bathroom needs cleaning, or a picture needs framing. There’s always going to be those things that fell through the woodwork because you were too busy (or lazy) to get them done. One thing that may help you realize these tasks is creating a checklist of them all. Every time you get a new idea of something that needs to be done, add it to the list and reference it every time you’ve got nothing to do. 

3. EAT BREAKFAST

You’ve probably heard by now: it’s the most important meal of the day. It’s not some conspiracy theory cooked up by general mills to keep you buying cereal. It’s the truth. Put something, anything, in your stomach as soon as you possibly can every morning. Think about it, you just went at least 6 hours without eating– if not more. Even though you may not wake up feeling hungry, you’re definitely hungry, eating breakfast will give you the energy you need to start off the day right. Oh, and it also keeps you from getting cranky before lunch time and helps you gauge the times when your body is asking you for food.

4. TAKE THE STAIRS/WALK WHEN YOU CAN

This one may seem a little silly, but think about it this way: elevators and escalators are the product of lazy people. Same with cars and buses. Taking the stairs over an automated mode of floor-to-floor transport will benefit you in several ways. It’s a nice little cardio-work out, it forces you to stay in motion and eventually move faster, and it’s basically a metaphor for remaining motivated.

In the same vein, when you have no place in particular to be, try walking instead of driving or taking the bus when there’s no hurry for you to get somewhere. Once again it’s a nice little work out, but you also look at the world completely differently when you aren’t behind a windshield.

5. DRESS NICELY

No, I don’t mean wear suits and ties everyday. Unless that’s your thing. What I mean is that you should dress in clothes that you feel nice in. The better you feel in your clothing, the more motivated you are to take risks on a daily basis. Think about the basics of your style and do a little bit of web searching. If you dress for success every day, you are more likely to be successful in your endeavors. 

These are just a few the small changes that can be made to lead a more motivated lifestyle. Yes, I did have to consciously tell myself to do these things for quite a while before they became second nature for me, but the long-term benefits are obviously worth it.

Have another suggestion for leading a motivated life? Leave it in the comment thread below.

Man is Lazy image courtesy of Shutterstock

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