Being Deliberate

              Alright, it’s confession time! I imagine some of you out there are saying hold on Ed we barely know each other. I really have something that I have to get off of my chest. Some of you are probably thinking well Ed are you sure this is something you want to do? Do you remember the last time you started a confession time? I’m just kidding; the last time wasn’t even my fault! Now this is a very sensitive secret that I am going to broadcast on the internet for all to see so please don’t tell just one person, tell everyone you know. Say to people, “Hey did you know this about Ed he writes on just beyond the bend dot com”. If you actually do this people will probably think you are crazy instead of me! Alright, here it is (Deep inhale of breath) I am a very lazy person! Whew, I feel better thanks for letting me confide in you!
              What I really wanted to do with this is let you know that if you struggle with laziness you aren’t alone. I also wanted to let people know what I do to address this problem. This like many things in life is something that most people don’t want to think about. It isn’t talked about except in the darkest parts of the home with whispering! Most people don’t like to think about weakness and if some people do then they think that it is something that has to be accepted because there is nothing that can be done in the first place. I know in my life I didn’t want to face my weakness. I would just say this is who I am. It took me getting into a difficult place in my life to realize that it is not who I am, but rather what I do. When facing difficulties it would take me a while to even realize that not everyone struggles with these things that I struggle with. When it came to laziness I adopted some strategies to face this monster head on! I have learned that if I combat laziness and find the value in what I do there isn’t much that I can’t accomplish. Now when I state this, it is a big statement for me. I can accomplish it even if it causes physical pain. It took me 5 years and some pain to get my associates degree, but I did it with honors!
              The first thing I do is write it down. I don’t particularly like using my phone for this part; there is something magical in using paper, at least for me. I write it down in my organizer, maybe one day I will show it on here. When it is written down it can’t be forgotten. The important thing about this is whatever system that is used whether paper or electronic it is with you at all times. As soon as an item comes up to be done it is written down. I write things down that need to be done that aren’t in my daily routine to keep track of. When I write something down and it has a due date I write that down as well. I have found this very helpful for keeping track of things.
              After I write it down I come up with a plan on when and how to do the task. Some tasks don’t require any special time devoted to it and this can be helpful for people with limited time. I was able to work with someone and we came up with a whole study schedule that did not use any extra time out of the day. There are some phone calls for example that can be made during forced down time. Forced down time are times where as the name implies we are forced to be idle like a waiting room, a grocery line, bus, road construction, etc. some things can be done while going to a designated place or completing a designated task. Some things that need to be done have to be done during a certain time period. Other tasks that need to be completed may require the availability of a certain person. When the tasks to be completed are written down they can be organized and timed within limited time constraints, or to achieve maximum productivity.
              I have two rules about things that I write down and one rule about laziness which brings us also to the next step, task completion. The first rule is if it takes longer to write the task down than it does to actually complete it, just do the task if possible. That is a loose rule of thumb for me because I really think about the task and how long it will take. If while reviewing the task I decide it would take less than five minutes I just do it. There are many things that can be completed in five minutes. Think of the things that need to be done and see what can be done in five minutes. Ask yourself can I break this task down into five minute increments? If the task is something that I don’t want to do I usually just get started and I feel foolish if I don’t complete it. Imagine a workout that I don’t want to do, if I put my clothes on then I have to finish. If I have to clean something then I just get my cleaning stuff out. When I say that I get it out I mean I put it in the most inconvenient place possible. As an example I like to keep my cleaning supplies in a 5 gallon bucket. When it is time to clean I get it out and I will carry it until I do what I had to. I make it to where it will be a relief to accomplish the task. The second rule is that if I write it down, it must be completed. The only exception is when the task is no longer relevant. In other words I have to do the task unless the task doesn’t need to be done.
              I have one rule about my laziness, so in total I have about three rules for this system. I like rules because they keep me in the right direction. I try to never do nothing because there is nothing to do. I think that many of us would agree that we need time to just do nothing. I am not against doing nothing as long as it is done deliberately and with purpose. I have looked at the time that I wasted in a day and was simply awe struck. If you wanted to find out how much time you waste write down everything that you do in a day and how long you did it. At first I didn’t do things that I normally would because I was writing it down. It was like I was being tested, or spied on! Once I got accustomed to writing it down this feeling went away and I became my good old lazy self again. The longer someone tracks his or her time the more accurate it will be. We live in an age where there are distractions galore. If we carry a smart phone with data capabilities there is always something around to make us laugh or occupy our precious time. These distractions aren’t usually farther than an arm’s reach away and if we use a company phone we can possibly get into trouble that we didn’t intend. There are as many things that sneak up and steal our productivity as there are people. Some of these distractions are certainly necessary, but can take over more than we would like. I try to be selective at wasting my time and view it strategically as a reward. I find if I look at distractions as a reward or as a break then they are good for me. I try to never use them as an antidote for boredom. I try to keep my things to do and goals in mind and written down if I do then I am not really ever bored. In addition to writing tasks down in my to-do list I also write things that I want to learn. This was a habit that I learned early after my accident because there wasn’t much that I did not have to relearn. If we write down tasks to be completed and things that we want to learn this is a marvelous way to make us more productive and to build our confidence because our tasks are focused and we can see what we can do in a very short amount of time. I hope if you struggle with task completion like I do this helps you get just beyond the bend!