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11 Tips for Nuking Laziness Without Becoming a Workaholic

11 Tips for Nuking Laziness Without Becoming a Workaholic
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    Rest is important for productivity. Trying to work straight without recovering your energies leads to a wandering attention, procrastination and, in extreme cases, death. But when does “recovering your energies” just become an excuse to waste time? How do you draw the line between constructive rest and laziness?

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    I don’t believe this question has an easy answer. The most productive people I know have a high quitting point. They can put in extra energy to get big projects complete when most people would give up. At the same time, trying to work non-stop can defeat itself if you need an injection of caffeine just to keep your eyes open.

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    Signs You Should Be Taking a Break

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    Instead of a strict rule to define what are useful breaks and what are just excuses to procrastinate, I prefer a few guidelines. These can’t be perfect all the time, but by using them as a mental checklist you can ask yourself whether you are best off continuing work or taking a breather.

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    Here are some signs you should take a break and recover your energies:

    1. You’ve just finished a major task. I’m against breaking in-between work. That breaks the flow of concentration that would otherwise be helpful in completing a task. Once you’ve completed a big task (writing an essay, emptying your inbox, etc.) giving yourself a few minutes to rest can be useful.
    2. You’ve been working hard. Look back at the last few days. Ask yourself whether you have been more or less productive than your average. Taking a day off after several highly productive days can be useful. But resting after three days of accomplishing nothing will probably only make your procrastination worse.
    3. You need to switch gears. I often write several articles at once, but I usually take a small break in-between. Taking a break during a task is wasteful because you interrupt the natural thinking flow of work. But if you need to start a new task, you may have to interrupt that flow anyways. Look for logical breaks in your work to plan out rest times.

    Tips for Productive Rest

    The more habitual you can make your resting strategy, the less you need to rely on willpower to keep working. It will be an automatic strategy to stay focused. Here are a few more guidelines you can use when trying to decide whether you need a break:

    1. Plan Daily and Weekly Goals. The best method to avoid burnout and laziness is by using a quota. Simply set for yourself all the tasks you want to accomplish in the week and day. When these tasks are done, you can use any time left over to rest.
    2. Keep Work and Play Separate. Although I’m not perfect in application, I strive to follow the “work hard, play hard” mantra. This means that when you allocate time for working on big projects, you focus entirely on that for a set period of time. The time you have remaining is yours to use however you like. This removes the guilt during rest periods and urge to procrastinate during work periods.
    3. Keep a Varied Lifestyle. Focusing all of your energies onto just one task can be useful, for a short time. But having diversified interests can keep you emotionally balanced and your energies high. If work is your only pursuit, it can be easy to burnout. Having other hobbies, social activities and interests to occupy your time can be helpful in staying productive while resting.
    4. Have “Lazy” Days. I put “lazy” in quotations because the end result is often the opposite. Having days where you try to do things as slowly as possible can keep you focused on the days when tasks threaten to overwhelm you.
    5. The 20% Rule. Not to be confused with the 80/20 Rule, this is a rule that is useful for building self-discipline or overcoming your fears. Put simply, the 20% rule states that you notice when you first feel a strong urge to give up. You then commit to go 20% further before taking a long break. This helps smooth over temporary feelings of laziness and builds your internal discipline.
    6. Have a Motivation Refuel. Physical fatigue isn’t the only threat to your energy. Emotional fatigue in the form of rejections, disappointments or making mistakes can all dampen your motivation. Having a motivation refuel means having a day, hour or even a few minutes where you go over your goals, listen to motivational tapes, meditate or do whatever will recharge your drive.
    7. Don’t Rely on Substances. I don’t drink coffee. Occasionally I’ll drink caffeinated tea, but never as a performance drug. Yet, I see many people who rely on their triple-espresso as a crutch to just get through the day. This isn’t a lecture about heath consequences, but about productivity. Your body can’t maintain an artificial source of energy, so if you constantly use stimulants to keep yourself going, you’ll lose the natural ability to tell what your energy levels are. Try going without caffeine for a month (or cut back your usage or switch to teas) and see what effect it has.
    8. Productive Benchmarks. Monitor how much work you can do over an average day, week or month. This can set a productive benchmark that can allow you to decide where to set hourly, daily and weekly goals. By lining up your quotas with a productive benchmark, you can avoid feeling guilty about taking a rest when you truly need one.

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    Scott H Young

    Scott is obsessed with personal development. For the last ten years, he's been experimenting to find out how to learn and think better.

    15 Ways to Cultivate Continuous Learning for a Sharper Brain 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines How to Motivate Yourself: 13 Simple Ways You Can Try Right Now 18 Tricks to Make New Habits Stick 18 Tips for Killer Presentations

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    Published on July 9, 2019

    The Power of Tapping into Your Hidden Creativity

    The Power of Tapping into Your Hidden Creativity

    Despite what you might have been taught — everyone can be creative.

    It’s too easy to think of creativity as just being reserved for musicians, artists and writers. In reality, creativity can be used in all jobs and in all areas of life.

    I’m referring to creative traits such as thinking outside the box, finding new solutions to old problems, and combining two ideas to invent a new one.

    For example, think of Henry Ford. He gave people automobiles, when at that time, they probably just wanted faster horses!

    And, then there is Elon Musk. He found a workable solution to the problem of congested roads in towns and cities — the Hyperloop! This is an underground tunnel system that is designed to connect major conurbations using clean, ultra-fast capsules that can carry passengers, cars and freight. In the case of cars — Musk envisages elevators taking the cars down to the tunnel system. Ingenious.

    As a final example, I want to tell you about Saltwater Brewery in Florida. They’ve created six-pack rings that are edible by marine life. So instead of the six-pack rings ending up in the ocean and killing sea creatures, these rings actually feed them. They’re made from the by-products of beer brewing, and contain either barley or wheat, and are not just safe for fish to eat — but humans can eat them too!

    Let’s turn now to see how improving your creativity can improve your life.

    Creativity Will Improve Your Outlook

    As a Psychology Today article reveals, people who practice everyday creativity (like finding new ways to work, preparing meals and solving crosswords) share personality traits with those we regard as ‘genuinely’ creative, such as: artists, designers and musicians.[1]

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    The shared traits include:

    • Curiosity

    • Drive

    • Open-mindedness

    • Persistence

    • Positivity

    Some studies also suggest that people who regularly indulge in creative pursuits are less judgmental and more flexible.

    It’s no wonder then, that there is a proven link between creativity and enhanced mental health (this could be due to creative thinkers’ superior problem-solving skills).[2]

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    I hope I’ve said enough to convince you that exploring your creative side can improve your outlook on life.

    So what’s the best way to get creative? 

    Boost your confidence.

    When you have ample self-confidence, you won’t be afraid to try new things and to break out of your comfort zone. Both of these things will put you in touch with your inner creative genie — who’s just waiting to work their magic on your behalf!

    But, how can you boost your confidence? 

    …by constantly facing and overcoming challenges.

    Creativity Will Increase Opportunities

    Creative individuals often notice more opportunities in life.

    How come?

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    Because they’ve learned how to find a way to turn any obstacle into an opportunity by tackling it from another angle. They’re also more likely to SEE the opportunity in the first place, just by having an open mind; whereas someone who is not tapping into their creativity may miss these hidden opportunities. 

    For example, one of my friends recently lost his job as a senior administrator for an insurance company. He’d worked there for more than 10 years, and although he wasn’t excited by the job, it paid his bills.

    When he was told that his job was to go, he was initially shocked and knocked off track. However, my friend is a resilient and creative soul, and within a few days, he’d formulated a plan to not only secure a new job, but also to make a positive change in his career. He did this by taking his administrator skills and his deep knowledge of finance and insurance and turning himself into a business consultant.

    It’s still early days for him, but he’s already secured several clients, and I predict his new career will be a happy and successful one.

    If you feel stuck in a rut, then try some (or all) of these things to break yourself free:

    • Get moving – yes, staying still is staying stuck; moving is getting unstuck!

    • Look for the positives – when you do this, you’ll open the door to opportunities.

    • Start small – you don’t necessarily need to make a big jump; instead, you can make small changes that create an unstoppable forward trend.

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    Creativity Gives You Freedom to Mess Up

    “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” ― Thomas A. Edison

    I love that quote, as it cleverly demonstrates that creativity is all about experimentation. And, experimentation often means making mistakes!

    If you’ve ever watched a graphic designer at work, you’ll notice one thing: they’re constantly changing things until they get the look and feel that they desire.

    That’s how most creative people work. They keep trying new and different things until they have that aha moment.

    So how about you? 

    Are you currently afraid to try new things? Perhaps because you’re worried about losing face? 

    If you are, then you’re holding back your creative potential. To unleash it, I recommend throwing caution to the wind and pushing yourself through your self-created mental barriers.

    Once you’ve learned to have thoughts and ideas that are free from your current conditioning, then you’ll have learned the secret to living a creative life.

    We all have creativity within us. And, by adopting the suggestions above, you can tap into this hidden force for good. When you do that, your life will take on a new trajectory — one that leads to happiness, fulfillment and success.

    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Psychology Today: Everyday Creativity
    [2] CNN: A Creative Life is a Healthy Life

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