It seems the more I add to my “To Do” List, the less there is that actually gets done. It seems To Do Lists are just a reminder of what a failure I am.
As if I’m writing myself a personal note saying:
“Hey, look at all these things you couldn’t manage to do today!”
Well I’ve since then learned To Do Lists, in the traditional sense anyway, but believe me, it was quite a struggle to get passed that.
I mean have you ever had so much on your To Do List and feel so overwhelmed by it that you end up just...doing nothing?
Of course, doing nothing is not only acceptable but encouraged, as I have talked about in great detail before, as long as you do nothing on purpose, as long as that's what you set out to do.
However, doing nothing when you set out to do something, doing nothing "by accident", is just "plain" lazy
You're beyond being plain lazy. You're a PRO-crastin8r. You want to aim to be SUPER LAZY. As a matter of fact you're not being lazy at that point, when you're not in control of what you do and when you do it, you're just being dumb.
Essentially, you have to use your laziness, not let your laziness use you. We’re going to use our laziness to do very little but be LARGELY (more) productive
We’ll be making a tiny to do list, not a overwhelming massive one like we usually make that never gets done.
The less you have on your to do list, the *more* you will feel you have accomplished.
Less is more. (Cha, cha, cha and cue a dancing bear).
As silly as it is, a toilet paper company gets the theory of minimizing effort and maximizing results. They understand the super power of laziness -- that’s the secret ingredient to their formula!
You want to be as effective as possible. Using the TP example, that means cleaning up as much shit as possible, uhh literally, while simultaneously using as little resources, or in this case paper, as possible.
Basically, if you want to get shit done, do shit with as little effort as possible that allows you to make the biggest shit happen.Minimize effort. Maximize results. Be lazily successful.
Imagine you’re a kid and have to eat a plate full of vegetables. Well, you don’t want to eat vegetables, so what do you do?
You put as little vegetables on your plate as possible.
Likewise, if you’re going to put stuff on your plate (as in work load/to do list), then you want to put as little as possible on it so you can actually finish it.
I specifically remember my mom telling me something like “You must eat *at least* three pieces of broccoli if you want dessert”
Well you bet your ass I’m about to eat only three pieces then. “At least” means the maximum amount in my dictionary
Kind of like writing a paper for class: If the professor/teacher says a paper must be “at least” 3 pages, then that, to me, means it will be three pages. MAX. No more, no less.
I do just enough.
The same principle goes for a To Do List.
I do “just enough” to call it a productive day and move on.
DON'T LIST WHAT YOU CAN'T OR WON'T DO. PERIOD.
List (and do) just enough to get by (and make progress towards your goal)
You probably have this huge ass list of stuff you should do. Well go ahead and do yourself a favor: tear it right up and throw that out.
Instead, make “at least”, (read: maximum of) 3 things on your to do list. Narrow it down to the MOST important tasks that need to get done for the day. Think about what really contributes to your ultimate goal and focus on that.
Everything else is just extra work, dude. You don’t have to “do” it.
Stop making ridiculously long-winded and unachievable To Do Lists. Make practical, lazy ones instead.
Make an actual To Do list, not a To Don't list. List things you can and will do that contribute to your goal.
And I could even justify putting a stop to using *any*sort of To Do list all together if it wasn’t for the fact that I enjoy gamifying my productivity and leveling up my life.
It’s also nice to write myself a little love note that says:
“Hey Nate, look how freaking awesome you are”
By seeing a list of things I have DONE
Rather than the one I suggested in the beginning of this blog post, where it’s a list of things I haven’t even started.
You want to be able to actually achieve the items on this list, so be realistic, even if you end up only putting down one thing on this list or nothing, whatever, congrats, you did it!
Identify with what you actually DO, not what you DON'T Do
The reason you may label yourself as a “failure” is because you are judging yourself based on what you did NOT accomplish, rather than what you did.
The reason you may think your laziness is such a bad thing is because you have learned to associate that failure with “lack of hard work” but what it really is, where that failure comes from, is your “lack of tactical laziness” -- using it as a super power that you are in control of.
You’re identifying with what you DID NOT do instead of what you DID do This is like a chef saying he was a failure at work today because he didn’t paint the walls. Like, you cook in the kitchen, man, chill. You got plenty of meals done. Leave that to the painters.
Determine what your “role” is, your destiny and purpose, and design your lazy little to do list in such a way that ONLY contributes to serving that role that you can accomplish TODAY. If you want to be a streamer, you can stream a game today. If you want to be a podcaster, you can prepare show notes today. If you want to be the very best, you can catch one more Pokemon today.
You get the idea.
Make a simple goal that you can accomplish immediately and also serves the greater purpose of fulfilling that dream role of yours.
Create a to do list that helps make your dream become reality with one (or a few) simple tasks. Don’t go over board with high expectations or a high amount of To Dos. Take the easy way out in getting where you want to be.
Keep. It. Simple
And keep it focused.
If you have a list of 37 things to do. Even if you manage to do 8 of them, or even 12, you still have over two dozen things that you DIDN’T get done. This impacts your ego in a negative way. It makes you feel like you haven’t really done anything.
Meanwhile, if you only have 3 things on your list and you manage to get done all three out of three of them, you will feel much more positive and much more accomplished.
You did everything you needed to!
Not only will you feel like a winner, but you managed to get 3 IMPORTANT things done, rather than 8 obscure, unnecessary, or extracurricular tasks, so you’ve actually objectively (and not just subjectively) enhanced your productivity.
Cut out the majority of your to do list and forget about it. Keep the things that really matter. Keep it real.
- What do I want for my future?
2. Which of these tasks contributes to that goal the most?
If you're having trouble answering these questions, then perhaps a better set of questions to ask is:
What do I do when I procrastinate? Which tasks allow me to do that thing more in the future?
Anything else doesn’t need to get done. You can take satisfaction in that, cut it off your list, and relax, man.
Do less with more focus. That’s the Procrastin8r way.
Take it easy,