Friday, August 20, 2010

Let’s get started part 3: Laziness, rest deficits and being overwhelmed

Getting started is a hard but necessary part of any project. In this series we are examining why this is and what stands in our way but most importantly how to overcome it. Yesterday we talked about fear; today we turn our attention to laziness.

Laziness is a tendency to assign inactive relaxation a higher priority than it deserves. Rest and relaxation are both elements that we need in our lives in order for us to maintain happiness and balance. Lazy is not sitting around reading when you have nothing else to do that is rest. Lazy is lying around reading when your room is dirty.

At the beginning of a project there are two main reasons why we may be lazy: a deficit of rest or a task that looks like too much work.

In modern American culture we value being busy. If we are not doing something every minute of every day we can become known as lazy or boring. This leads us to develop a deficit of rest. To be happy to be stress free we need time to unwind to sit and think, read a good book and just generally do low energy things that we want to do. If we do not get this rest we may have trouble sleeping as we lay awake in bed doing the thinking we should have done during the day. Or maybe we start to feel overwhelmed there is so much to do and so little time to do it. These senses of being overwhelmed can cause us to put off starting projects we know need doing; in other words to much work can make us lazy.

The solution to this comes in two parts: cut out the busy work and schedule time to relax. We create jobs for ourselves just so we can look busy, this needs to stop. If a job does not produce useful results there is no reason to do it. One of my early jobs was working in a pizza place that offered delivery take out and in house dinning. Delivery was not at that point a huge part of our business but we had to have drivers on staff just in case. If we were going to pay the divers we also needed to have something for them to do. The company had the option to by our garic peeled. Instead we would by whole cloves so that the drivers could peel them while waiting for a delivery. The result of this, our drives smelled like garlic and we often ran out of garlic because they were not peeling enough. This was busy work and we create similar things in our own life. Now in the restaurant they buy peeled garlic and use the drivers to fold boxes and do cleaning projects.

We need to look at the way we use our time and make sure the things we do have meaning, value, and importance or that they bring us pleasure. If they do not then we need to find a way to remove them from our lives. Once the busy work has been cut out of our day we can schedule time to rest. Find the time to do that low energy task that lets you think whether it is reading, knitting, watching TV or something else all together. Make sure that you get the time to do these things in their own time. We should not be steeling time to rest from the time needed to do meaningful projects.

With a lack of busy work and time to relax we can address our deficit. The other issue that might make us lazy is when a project looks too big to tackle; again we feel overwhelmed and say "I'll get started on that latter." We need to break the project down in to manageable, bite sized chunks. I have talked in the past about little bricks and how they add up and allow us to accomplish big things. Let's say you have a garden you need to weed you can look at all the weeds and feel overwhelmed or you can clear the weeds around the porch first then move to the weeds by the beans and so on tell the garden is weeded. We can do a lot when we do a little bit at a time.

No matter why we are having a problem with laziness there are things we can do to address it. Give yourself time to rest; don't do things that don't need doing and see the trees not the forest to keep from being overwhelmed.

Editing project: Being Thankful for Adversity


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