how to stop procastination

Here’s a prediction: You are feeling lazy right now. You are probably feeling guilty for reading this post instead of working on some other supposedly important thing.

What if I can actually teach you to stop being lazy? How to stop procrastinating?

We often blame our laziness because we didn’t do this task or that. From not going to the gym, or finishing an assignment at the last friggin’ minute to not being able to start your own small side-business that you’ve been dreaming about… it was all because you were lazy. What if there is a different side to this story?

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General Erich von Manstein was a famous field marshal during the second world war. He divided his troops in four broad categories.

  1. Soldiers who were dumb and lazy.
  2. Soldiers who were intelligent and very hard working.
  3. Soldiers who were dumb and very hard working.
  4. And soldiers who were intelligent and lazy.

For soldiers who were dumb and lazy, he said that they were the least of their troubles; they wouldn’t do much.

For soldiers who were intelligent and very hard working, he suggested that they should be taken seriously and given important jobs; they would get the work done the fastest.

For soldiers who were dumb and hard working? He suggested that they should be fired immediately; they would do the wrong thing the fastest and they were actually a threat to their army!

And for soldiers who were intelligent and lazy? He suggested that they were excellent General material and should be treated with utmost care; they will find the shortest possible route to get things done.

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We need to establish that being lazy is not a problem in itself. The problem is that we are not getting work done.

Being lazy is not bad. Not getting anything done is.

In fact, a lot of successful people are actually lazy.

“If you have a difficult task, give it to a lazy man … he will find an easier way to do it.”Hlade’s Law

It is peer pressure that gets to you. What will people say? That he doesn’t do anything! But you are being smart here. You are focusing on things that matter. You are focusing on results.

Eliminiate, Delegate, Automate.

For starters, you need to turn this whole concept of time management on its head. You don’t want to do a lot of things in a short period of time. No. What you want to do is carry out the most important tasks and eliminate the rest. This is the easiest application of the 80 20 principle – and you get to see immediate results.

There will always be tasks that you have to do. These tasks can actually be important, or they might not be; either way, you and the people around you have decided that you must do them. Fine. No problem. Delegate those tasks. It is simply amazing how much you can delegate once you get the hang of it. I have outsourced most of my day-to-day activities like paying bills, collecting checks from clients, getting the car fixed, buying groceries etc to someone else. (You might be wondering; but this is simple stuff. I know! And it works and gives me oodles of free time!)

And the height of productive laziness is automation. This is creativity in action folks! Delegation is of course a form of automation. But the epitome of automation is using computers and software to do even the most advanced of activities. For example, I use the Buffer App to update my Social Media sites, I try to write my articles for this blog and use WordPress scheduling to post on the set days. The articles automatically gets emailed to you via Aweber.

People do run complete businesses this way. That is what I am personally trying to achieve as well. My ventures into online marketing is part of the attempt to earn passive, automated income, God willing.

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My niece called me the other day to tell me, “Mamoo, I gave your example in our exam today!”

My example? This could be interesting. She was giving her A-Level send ups at the time, I think.

“Oh o… What did you say?”

“Oh they asked me to write about how hard work is so important in our lives,” she said, “and I wrote how you, my mamoo, doesn’t do any hard work, he just chills,” yes, she said chills, “but he is still able to generate an income every month and support and provide for his family!”

Alhumdulillah. Isn’t that the goal for earning money and doing business? To be able to provide and support your loved ones?

I know, driving a Lamborghini  down the highway is also a goal sometimes. That’s OK too. 🙂

stop being lazy

But the above uplifting conversation has a very dark side too, beware! Not everyone in your family will be as understanding. There are people who will call you lazy, stupid, arrogant, crazy etc etc (and a few other etc’s thrown in for good measure). But you, I hope, will look at the results you are generating.

My advice from personal experience, is that first generate the results and then try to present them to the ones you care about, in hopes that they will understand your approach to doing things differently.

If you are a student, this laziness can sometimes get you into trouble. This kind of proactive laziness is harder to understand in corporate environments too. You can find the quickest way to get the job done, and give the best results, but your management may still find your freedom to be dangerous. Looking busy is what gets noticed unfortunately, and that is one of the reasons I try to award my small number of employees based purely on results.

There is, and always will be, a difference between smart work and hard work. Smart work is what pays because smart work is based on strategy and hard work is based purely on tactics.

I wish you all the best in your conquests and queries.

God bless and good luck.

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Photo credits: Tom Poes for the cat, and Trey Ratcliff for the awesome HDR pic of the car

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