HR departments expect some form of “multi-task skill” to be written on every single resume. Bosses will yell at you that you aren’t doing enough if you aren’t bouncing around and juggling a series of over a dozen different tasks all at once.
There’s an immense amount of pressure to not just perform well, but to perform a lot - to do as much as humanly possible and then some.
But, fellow procrastin8r I want to run you by an idea that doing a lot simultaneously is not very effective, despite the popular belief. It’s actually a waste of energy to multi-task. It’s better to be lazy and put off most things ‘til later and focus on just one thing right now than to force yourself to do an incredible amount right away.
I mean, heck, you can push to fill your to-do list, you can attempt to squeeze as many errands as you can in your schedule, you can quite frankly work your freaking ass off, but none of that really matters if at the end of the day you aren’t really productive and not to mention are left feeling exhausted both physically and mentally.
In a frivolous attempt to do everything you wind up doing nothing. You deplete yourself of energy and end up accomplishing diddly squat in your efforts to achieve many grand feats.
Don’t exert yourself to do everything, just do something, do a little bit, do just enough, but do that something with focus. Don’t stretch yourself thin over a wide range of things, rather pinpoint on a small and narrow target. Focus your energy and efforts towards a very small target and don’t shoot sporadically.
See, there’s a difference between productivity and busy work. There’s this idea in society that you must always be busy. Move around. Do this. Do that. Do something. Be busy for the sake of being busy.
But man, it’s okay to just relax once in a while, to just chill from time to time. It’s okay to not be that busy. There’s no need to strain yourself and look busy just because that’s what society expects of you.
Besides, I bet not many of these quote on quote “busy” people really get much done, ironically. Sure, they work a lot but they’re really too “busy” to actually make things happen. They’re mind is all over the place and they wind up losing track of the goal they wanted to get in the first place. They’re distracted easily and are quickly tempted to start another project or head off on some side quest, completely negating the main storyline quest, or goal for that matter.
What they lack is focus. Focus, in short, is the ability to hone in on one or a few things. Now, the procrastin8r doesn’t do much, but when he does actually get off the couch to do something, it’s done with complete and utter focus. After all, no sense in exerting more effort than necessary.
Focus is important when it comes to achieving your goals, and as you’ll soon learn, a vital attribute of a true lazy man.
In fact, rather than aim to be busy, you should instead aim to be productive. Only work as much as you absolutely have to. Learn to prioritize, that is, focus on what’s important, over what makes you look busy.
Indeed, you can ignore most of your to-do list, write it off as unimportant, and focus on the few things that actually freaking matter.
There’s very little that needs to be done immediately, and the things that do, well, you just gotta focus on them. Today, we’re going to focus on focusing and without further ado let’s dive...right into it!
One of the things that hinders our ability to focus is that we see our to-do list only as a list of things that must be done, just that, without any sort of order or prioritization. There’s only one level of priority: GET IT DONE!
With that sort of mindset, we become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of shit that we must complete.
If we have this sort of black or white (do it or don’t do it) mode of thinking, you have no way of differentiating between what’s actually important and what’s something that would be nice to have not done, but not quite essential.
In order to gain more focus, you have to be willing to take an honest look at your to-do list and put aside things that don’t matter very much (procrastinate on them), so you can put the time and effort into those things that do.
You can’t give everything you have to do the same level of importance. You have to be selective about your to-do list.
Don’t look at your to do list saying “I have to do this and this and this…” Instead, give each task a number mark 1-10, 1 being not very important and 10 being top priority.
Then, anything below maybe a seven, just say the classic procrastin8r line “I’’ll do it tomorrow.”
Realistically, not everything you have to do requires such utter urgency to get it done immediately. Stop pressuring yourself to do it all, all at once, and instead get done only the most important tasks. The rest can be done...later.
Speaking of being selective, one important note here is that ya gotta stop being a YES man. You’ve got to select what you say “Yes” to very carefully. We’ve adapted this sort of habit of enthusiastically agreeing to do things without hesitation, nodding our heads and saying “Sign me up!” the minute something is asked of us.
After all, saying yes to a bunch of things makes us look busy and looking busy is cool in society, it’s the bees knees.
Look, you’ve got to stop doing things to people please or otherwise gain a bit of social approval. You’ve got to start doing things that YOU, yourself, find to be important, not what others expect of you.
You gotta stop saying “Yes, I’ll do that today” and start saying “No, I’ll do that tomorrow” more often. Embrace your inner sloth, man.
“No” is an important word to add to your vocabulary, one you’ve probably found yourself rarely saying if at all. It takes courage to say “no”. It takes confidence. Weak people can’t say no. They’re always agreeing and saying yes to anything and everything.
They value approval over their own self dignity, inner-peace, and sanity.
“No” is a power word, and when you use it, and you’re firm about it, people will respect you. Now you may not make them happy that you’re denying their request, but respect is better to earn that adoration.
Now, of course, you’re going to have to say YES to some things.
Fact of the matter is, you can’t say NO to everything either. By saying NO to one thing, you are in turn saying YES to another.
In other words, by choosing what NOT to focus on, you are choosing what TO focus on. Don’t be afraid to use the word NO, and if you’re using it right, quite frankly, you’ll be using it a lot.
The right way to use NO is to focus on the one thing that you say YES to and say NO to everything else.
Now of course, what laziness is and what laziness does is minimize effort and maximize results. Thing is, you won’t be able to see said results if you aren’t keeping track of them. You have to in some fashion see your progress being made, as it allows you to focus on moving forward, instead of remaining stagnant.
Face it, if you don’t think you’re going anywhere, then you won’t feel inspired very much to continue even trying. You have to notice each slow n’ steady step you take.
Now, I know it might not necessarily be under your current motivation to keep a journal or achievement diary. Fortunately for you, there are plenty of apps to help you gamify that whole process, which we covered in an earlier episode on the podcast. You can basically turn productivity into an IRL RPG and “level up” your real life skills.
However you go about doing it though, record how far you’ve come -- that will allow you to focus on going even further.
Bouncing off that last point, oftentimes we can become so fixated with the final result that we fail to see what we’ve already accomplished along the way towards that goal.
Success takes time. It doesn’t happen quickly. It happens...eventually, the favorite word of a procrastin8r.
It’s easy to lose focus on a goal when you’re so attentive towards the finish line and not the race itself.
If all you’re thinking about is your goal weight, your goal wealth, your goal whatever, then you’e going to constantly feel like a failure because fact of the matter is you just aren’t quite there yet. You’re a failure if you compare where you’re at to where you want to be, but you’re a success if you compare where you’re at to where you began.
Now, to clarify, I’m not saying don’t think about your goal at all.It’s indeed important to keep your goal in mind, to look forward to the end result. I’m saying don’t let the fact that you haven’t met your end goal yet wear you down.
You’re not there...yet. But will be eventually.
Don’t just look at how far away your goal is. Look too at just how far you came since you started. And remember, the progress you’ve made so far (or lack thereof) does not define who you are, rather it tells you where you are at.
View your goals as more of a long timeline with multiple ticks along the way, not just a straight line form Point A to Point B.
Think small and simple. Break down big complex goals into chunks
If you make a big goal like write a novel or start a podcast or record an original song, then you’re going to be quite overwhelmed with the amount of intricacies involved with such a goal.
It’ll sit on your to-do list, never checked off because it just hasn’t gotten done yet. Either you haven’t even started it or you have but haven’t completed it. Either way, it seems nearly impossible to check off your to-do list.
Of course if you haven’t started that big goal, it’s probably because you’ve made it too enormous for yourself, and the sheer amount of stress you feel when you even think about it is enough to sabotage any motivation you might have had that day.
You don’t want to make big ass goals. Make tiny ones, tiny little goals that are easily achievable. Take it easy with your goals, man.
Using the novel example, you could make the goal “Write one chapter as a first draft.” See? Nice and simple. Now you don’t feel so overwhelmed to write an entire book, complete final draft, fully edited and published all in one go. You completed a tiny goal (writing a rough drafft of single chapter) that took a chunk out of a big goal (writing a full novel)
You take that big goal and you chunk it down into bits. There’s an amusing little anecdote that’s relevant here and it goes “How do you eat a whole elephant? One bite at a time.”
It’s kind of a corny little joke, but it gets the point across: even the most massive tasks can be done eventually if you break it down into small consumable “bites”.
Part of knowing how to focus is also knowing how and when to procrastinate. Procrastination is often seen as the bane of all productivity, but in reality, procrastination is the heart of time management.
Think about it, by scheduling to do one thing in your day, you are, in turn, procrastinating another. Fact of the matter is, you are always procrastinating on something.
You can procrastinate doing your homework to play video games or vice versa. You can procrastinate brushing your teeth to watch one more episode on Netflix or vice versa. You are always choosing something to put off ‘til later.
If you can procrastinate with purpose, then you can effectively manage your time.
Of course, procrastination is not to be confused with Impulsive Idleness. Impulsive Idleness is being completely spontaneous with your time. It’s giving into your laziness in an uncontrolled manner. Procrastination is deliberately deciding what to put off ‘til later.
Focus on what you want to do and procrastinate the rest.
You’ve gotta stay cool, calm, and laid back at all times. Emotions can impact us. And while it’s important to be aware of your emotions, there’s a fine line between having emotional awareness and getting emotional.
Getting emotional means you give into your emotions and let them control you. Having emotional awareness means you listen to your emotions but don’t let them drive you into making irrational decisions.
Know what your emotions are telling you, but don’t allow them to be the final judge in your decision-making process. Just like a kid screaming in the backseat, don’t let them take the wheel!
In order to stay focused, you have to look at your feelings from an above perspective. Don’t get caught up in them. Being unfazed means you're not shaken easily by any sort of excitement or sadness or anger. Instead, you’re just like “whatever, man”.
You must be able to examine your thoughts and feelings without growing too attached to them.
Maybe you have a goal of building a healthy long-lasting relationship, but wind up screaming at your partner because you feel angry and are thinking about how s/he hurt you. Maybe you have the goal of losing weight but go ahead and splurge on pigs in a blanket because you feel excited at a party.
You get the idea. Emotions can make you lose focus easily if you’re not careful about them. And that’s the key - careful. Do care for your emotions. Just don’t let them choose what you do.
Letting your emotions take over is being reactive. You’re impulsively acting on your fee fees. A procrastin8r is never reactive. A procrastin8r is relaxing.
Ah, of course,the greatest talent of a procrastin8r - resting. But seriously, you can’t focus if you’re tired physically, mentally, and/or emotionally. Exhaustion is the worst distraction. You can’t ignore it. It doesn’t go away, well, at least not until you actually lie down for a bit.
Truly, embrace your inner-sloth and snooze until you feel rejuvenated.
Don’t let any sort of fatigue make you lose focus.
And hey, you know what, if you want to see your dreams, then just go to sleep.
Do Less with More Focus
The overall point here I’m trying to make is that contrary to popular belief, success comes not from doing more, but from doing less with more focus.
Be a minimalist. Minimize the amount of “things” you do.
Be a procrastin8r. Do just enough.
Fixate yourself on the goals and principles that actually matter to you personally and don’t go around making yourself busy just to appease others (or have the image of always appearing busy for that matter).
Be willing to put off unimportant things ‘til later.
Find your one goal you say YES to and then say NO to everything else. Break down that big goal into nice bite-sized snacks, then move forward with it slow n’ steady, watching how far you go.
And if you need time to think about what that goal even is and where you want to be headed, well, go ahead and sleep on it.
Take it easy,