I love being lazy.
I am a champion couch potato. I can binge-watch an entire season of Supernatural in like 5 days. In fact, Kyle and I once binge-watched 60 hours of Game of Thrones in like 3 weeks – that’s commitment! Unfortunately, this doesn’t bode well for things like: laundry, grocery shopping, or taking out the trash.
If you’ve read my 2018 Goals post, you’ll remember that I have set out to establish some adulty habits this year – one of which is to do something productive around the house every day. I figured it’d be a good practice to share how I’m coming along as I begin to establish these habits & they become more ingrained in my daily life.
I REALLY didn’t wanna.
So, this whole being productive thing… not really in my nature. I’m a big dreams, small actions kind of person. I love to daydream about what my life would look like if I just put forth a little effort, but do I ever actually do the thing? No. *cue self-loathing*
I actually feel really lucky that this house move has been the kick in the ass I needed to start turning productivity into a habit. Not everyone can have such a dramatic force pressuring them to get off the couch and do work.
But the thing is, you don’t NEED a big, dramatic force to get you there. What I’ve learned over the past month or so is that there are five basic things you need to remember if you have a desire to become more productive.
How to train yourself to get shit done
1. Keep your momentum
The number one factor that has helped me (and my husband – he totally gets credit for this, too) continue checking the boxes on our to-do list has been simple: don’t sit down when you get home from work. Don’t do it. I don’t care how worn out you are, DON’T sit down. Pick a task that needs doing, and hop-to it.
This works for us for two reasons:
- If we sit down at all, we’re not gonna want to get back up. It’s a simple fact of life. Couch = comf, and comf > work. So, we’ve got to do whatever’s on our list before we get to unwind from the day.
- It actually gives us motivation to finish whatever task we’re on. If we’re not “allowed” to sit down until we’re done, we’re damn sure gonna finish the thing(s) so we can finally relax.
2. Apply some pressure
Set a deadline. Hold yourself to it. Got a mound of laundry? Have it all washed & put away by Tuesday. Any kind of deadline inevitably gives you a little extra shove. If you’re the kind of person (like I am) who will break a commitment to yourself before you would to another person, find a buddy & have them hold you accountable.
Just make sure you feel the pressure in one way or another. Apathy is a slippery slope to becoming one with your couch.
3. Know what’s next
KEEP A FREAKING LIST. Don’t trust your brain to just remember all the things you want to get done. Get a sheet of paper, a notebook, a task app, an email, a word doc… I don’t care, just make a list. Put it somewhere you can easily see it – write it on your mirror in lipstick if you’ve gotta… just make sure the last thing on that list is “wash the mirror.”
You’ll never have to think too hard about what needs to get done if you keep a running list – and that means you’re more likely to actually do one of the things. I’ve got my own preferences for organizing my to-do’s, which I’ll share soon. But whatever works for you is better than no list at all. I promise.
4. Give yourself a break
Ah-ha! But I just said don’t take breaks, didn’t I? I did. But this is a different kind of break. Cut yourself some slack if you miss a day, or if you fail to complete a task in one day. Nothing will hinder your progress more than guilt and self-loathing. The last thing we want you to do is crawl back to your bed or sofa and undo all the progress we just made.
This bullet also allows for taking a PLANNED break. For one whole day. Pick a day and don’t force yourself to do anything (aside from your actual job, because like… you’re getting paid for that shit). You deserve to chill, I get it! Go for it! Do something fun or do nothing at all. Whatever makes you happy. As long as it is intentional, you could do this as often as once a week. Right now we don’t do much on Tuesdays due to extracurricular activities – that’s our break night. What’s yours?
When you start to see the progress you’ve made, celebrate it! Can you see the bottom of your sink for the first time in forever? Did you FINALLY plan & execute a meal plan for an entire week, eliminating last-minute Pizza Hut orders? That’s AWESOME. Do something equally awesome to celebrate. Go out with friends, buy a pair of shoes, or adopt a kitten! Make someone give you a high five for being a boss and you will continue to feel like a boss. Positive reinforcement. Psychology’d.
Will it work?
I’m not sure if these truths are universal, but they’ve sure as hell worked for us. In the last two weeks, we’ve accomplished SO MANY THINGS related to getting our house listed. I’ve got a detailed post with all that progress coming, but let me just say: the to-do’s are dropping like flies, yo!
I’m feeling more accomplished every day, which is making me want to accomplish more. The feeling is kind of addictive, actually. Which is a thing people always say, but I always refused to believe. I might be reforming already… what if they’re all right about exercise, too?? I’m not there, yet – emotionally unprepared for that to be the case.
Anyway. Care to join me on a productivity journey? What are your go-to tips for getting shit done?
What I’m up to: