It is the New Year and everyone seems excited about new goals and plans. As for me, the last week or so I have just felt lazy and unproductive. There is not really anything at the moment that gets me excited and fearless to the point where it does not matter whether I get 8 hours of sleep or not or if I have to stay late at work to get everything to a point that makes the next day easier and less stressful.
Above: The debt payoff charts.
In the last quarter of 2013 my wife and I have paid off most of our remaining debt and only have $7,000 on my student loan left to pay off. It’s been a really exciting process, but December was an odd month with a forced vacation, so the income was irregular, and I think that must have knocked me off the exciting “appetite for life” feeling that I had at the time.
We all know that many make grandiose plans for the New Year and if you listen to Dan Miller or a number of other motivational podcasts, these plans rarely last past February. A thought I had was that I was not going to get caught up in the goal frenzy that happens this time of year. I would just wait until March so that I could make and act on the goals in a sober manner.
But still this “lazy haze” is really annoying me. I still need to be proactive and get things done at work and around the house and with the kids. So I am trying a few things just to be less annoyed with myself.
One thing is working on my daily checklist again. Despite that I think my system could still use some tinkering, the best thing about it is to just track what I do in a day and have the list for suggestions of things to do when my mind is blank and hazy. The other thing is that I signed up for Jon Acuffs “30 days of hustle”…then forget that I signed up for, then got an email giving me today’s task.
After getting onto the 30 days of hustle Facebook group I saw that so many were talking about ramping up their blogs that have died, and while no one likes a copycat, I thought that was the perfect thing for me to try out. So that is why you will be getting all the delicious content that my mind has to offer!
My hope with my blog has always been getting some discussion, advice and feedback from anyone who happens to read it.
What do you do to combat the “lazy haze”?
One Sunday as my wife was playing the piano at church, I was taking care of our two daughters. Mercedes, the older of the two, was having an absolute fit and just wanted to play outside. After I got my dad to take my younger daughter I took Mercedes out to the car since she was being so loud anyway.
After she calmed down I tried talking with her and gave her two choices, “Mercedes, you have two choices, you can stay in the car OR you can go back inside.”
This actually helped her calm down even more as she immediately stuttered, “I have 3…I have 3…I have 3 choices.” she said as she put up 3 fingers to herself and counted them with the index finger of her other hand, “Stay in the car…” she touched one finger, “go back inside,” she carefully touched the second finger, then she excitedly touched the third finger “OR go play on the grass!” When her mom came out to the car Mercedes still had three fingers up and seemed to walk back into the church carefully guarding her hand that held her three choices.
While it is difficult to get my daughter to do almost anything when her mind is set, this is something I absolutely love about her! Her mind simply does not care about choices or constraints that she does not desire, while she did concede that the other choices existed, without effort she came up with a possible third choice.
Mercedes has replied to this choice situation many times, each reply has been brilliant, “Make it a different choice daddy!”, “That is not a choice!” or “How about a different question?”
There is so much I take from this every time it happens. How many choices do I have? What do I really want? What am I missing by being so focused on the few choices that others impose on me?
Every month in my family budget my wife and I get so much blow money. This month (and many other months I am sure) I will be trying something different. I want to pay $50 dollars to someone out there who is willing to help me find side work.
I have a credit card that I am absolutely sick of and want to pay off and then destroy the card. In order to do that I need to make some extra money.
The deal is that if you find me a gig or a temp job that I can make at least $500 in week from, then I will pay you $50 for the finder’s fee.
Certain criteria are needed for the gig:
* Something that I can do locally in or around the Drumheller area…
* Over the internet such as building a website or computer consulting.
* My day job can be sporadic, if I get a call or have to work late I cannot get around that.
* I would have to make at least $500 in a week for you to get the finder’s fee.
* No MLM (Multi Level Marketing), Pyramid schemes, or other such things.
* Payment for the finders fee comes after I have obtained the work and earned $500 or know that I will earn at least $500,
* If you, yourself, are providing a gig I will gladly give 10% off off whatever we agree upon.
* I will gladly accept smaller paying gigs but the finder fee will be reduced, such as $10 for a $100 gig $20 for a $200 gig etc.
* I can turn down any gig for any reason.
To get a feeling for what I can provide you may check out my resume here.
So many times I have thought that I just cannot do something. I waited too long, I’m too old or too young, there is no point and so on. One day I was giving the missionaries from my church a ride to a town that was an hour away. I was busy with oil pumps and had to work late, and even later since I gave the missionaries the ride.
When I told my wife about it later I remember saying, “It’s good to be around the missionaries, or at least it is better than not being around them.”
For whatever reason that really stuck out to me. How many things that we decide to do or not do are better for us if we do them? Many times things are binary, it is simply better that we did them. Of course there are those things that we have done that it would have been better that we didn’t, but I find that there are many more things that we should have done that we didn’t.
Safeguarding time by not using it?
One of my faults is that I won’t do many things cause it takes up time…time that I could be doing something more important…as soon as I find out what that is. Or time that I could be sleeping…since I always need to catch up on sleep. It seems that I always hoard my time thinking that it will help me, when really, the time passes whether I do something with it or not. So, simply put, it is better to do something with the time you have, rather than nothing.
Are you hoarding your time?
Near the end of April my wife and kids went to the States to help my wife’s sister with her first baby. I was excited for the time to get a lot done on my own projects that I thought the wife and kids were keeping me from getting done. I was even gonna have a little blog series on all the things that I did while they were away…sadly I didn’t really do much…
Sure I did a lot of good work at my day job, but when I got home I spaced out. And yeah I did clean the house, but really when it stays clean after you clean it, it is not as big of an accomplishment. Probably the best thing that I did do was go exercise about three times in the week that my wife and kids were gone.
This was a fantastic eye opener. Namely that it is not my wife and kids that are keeping me from getting things done…it is not that I don’t have enough time or that the conditions are not right. The problem is with me and the habit that I have formed and concealed by blaming all other aspects of my life for the laziness that I excel at.
They have been back for a few days now and for whatever reason I am finally kicking myself into gear again to get some things (outside of maintaining my existence) done!
What habits or consequences are you suffering and blaming on others?
The thought that is most pre-dominantly on my mind is breaking away from mediocrity. I can feel the slimly effects of being mundane, un-disciplined, and generally lazy. Can’t you feel it? Can you see it all around you? Does it consume you and pain you as much as it does I? That is the reason for my checklist. To do the many little things that I believe if I can master then I could master more with my own life.
Like most good ideas that I have, this has stewed in my mind for quite some time. When I finally made myself do it, it was a simple list of things that I should do everyday. If I did them I got one point for each item. This was great for all those days that I sit and veg and think that there are things that I should do…but wasted to much time trying to decide on what to do. With this list I simply scanned it and did whatever was easiest and then carried on through the list if I was at all capable of doing and of the items. However I did feel that it was lacking so I tried making another version.
This list is pretty much the same, a few changes to some items, added some checkboxes, and some notes at the bottom to help me figure out how to get the most from my day. When I finally started to crunch through this list on a daily basis I found that there were some days that I did really well but I did not do the items on the list. So I decided that I would use “The Wheel of Life” as describe by Dan Miller. Then I would make a buffet that I could pick and choose items and try to reach 45 points a day to make myself active and productive.
This is the final version that I am currently working with. So far it has served me well. I have not vastly improved though and I wonder if I put too many things that I never allow myself to sit down and get something done that takes more time. I also really need to have a better point system where writing a blog post is worth 5 points since they take a little more time and effort.
If nothing else this checklist gets me in to do something with my day if I am becoming stagnate. Another problem is that most of my side work is done at night after the kids are i bed and the wife is doing one of her projects…and getting to bed on time almost never happens.
So I would say that it is worth it to have a checklist like this. At least it has proven better than not having one at all… I have tried deciding to scrap it and just keep myself active, but that has simply not worked. Also having a point based system like this makes it a game where I try to score higher all the time.
What are some techniques that you have used to keep yourself active and improving each day?