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Hi, I'm Chelsea from The Financial Diet and this week I'm going to be talking to you guys about laziness. Now when it comes to work or, you know, organizing your finances or just generally sort of becoming a competent, capable adult, laziness and procrastination are really the two things that will stop even the hardest working, most intelligent person from getting it together. Now I would consider myself someone who's a very hard worker when it comes to things like, you know, deadlines, projects, savings goals, things like that. I can, if I have a very tangible goal in mind, I'm usually very good at reaching it. But the problem for me comes in the day to day, whether it's my everyday tasks that I don't really like, like email stuff or keeping really close track of a budget, things like that, I'm very bad at because I just get lazy about the things that I don't like to do. 

So for all of the thing that I have to get done, but which don't have a firm deadline that someone else is opposing upon it, I've come up with a few strategies to battle my own laziness that maybe you can learn from. So the first on is a little bit controversial so I'll get that one out of the way right away and that is intermittent fasting. So if you don't know what it is, intermittent fasting is a way of eating where essentially you limit the window of time in which you eat to a smaller portion of the day or sometimes the week. In my case that means I generally eat between 2-3pm in the afternoon and around 9pm in the evening I'll eat a small lunch and a big dinner and I don't generally eat breakfast. In the mornings up until that lunch hour I'll just drink coffee and a lot of water and sometimes tea, but no food until generally around 2.

And what I have notice and what a lot of people noticed including some scientists who've studied intermittent fasting is that during my morning fasting period, I'm a lot more productive, I'm a lot more clear-headed, I have a lot more energy to complete tasks and I generally just work better. I can combat this somewhat by keeping my lunch meal small, but even with a very light lunch I find myself getting kind of lethargic and tired and more foggy because, you know, I'm digesting and I just sort of want to take a nap and all of that. So all of my best work generally gets done in the morning and what that means is I generally have that 9am-2pm period to get the vast majority of my most difficult work done. And then from about 3pm to the end of the day I generally do things that are a lot less mentally demanding. Now intermittent fasting might not be for you, but if it is something that you think you could try, I've found that in addition to all its dietary benefits there are a ton of benefits to your productivity. 

So my second strategy for combating laziness is wall charts. So in the TFD office we have a very large chalkboard and we also just got a large dry erase board, specifically for a big project we're about to start. And I've always found, and I think the team finds as well, that when we have big, overwhelming projects that can feel hard to start and hard to complete, it's much easier to have something visually out in front of you that allows you to kind of break it smaller parts and complete it bit by bit. And just make it more manageable. Personally I am very prone to forgetting the little details of things when there's a big project and if you can visualize it in a very literal way it really helps remind you on a day to day basis of all the mini things that you have to take care of inside the bigger thing. Plus, if you do it right, you're wall chart can be a cute piece of decor. 

So my third strategy for combating laziness is excessive calendar reminders. If you were to look at my Google calendar you would probably think I'm insane. I have an incredible amount of reminders for everyday for things really big like work meetings and deadlines, but all the way down to like water this plant or text this person or mail this invitation or whatever. And it might seem a little excessive, but for me it is so helpful. For a long time I thought that calendars and reminders should really be about the bigger things and should be about work things. But I have found that if you use it to control all aspects of your life and to really keep everything in line, not only does it mean you'll forget things less, but it also makes the work aspect much easier because you're not constantly at work worried about that thing at home that you might have forgotten to do. In general, the idea that's helped me is to stop separating so much that things I have to do for work and the things I have to do at home and just make it the things I have to do. Because that just makes everything sort of go smoother and make sure everything's prioritized and taken care of and there's no reason you can't manage your life with as much attention detail as you manage your job. You might think it sounds a little type A, but honestly it makes life way easier. 

Number 4 is telling other people my plans. Now this is especially pertinent for work, but I find that if I have a task to do and I don't have a particular deadline for it, but I know it needs to get done and I know that I need to impose a deadline because I don't want to do it I'll tell someone at work about it to make sure that they can check in on me and keep me accountable. So a perfect example of that, is the other day I had a task to do with our accountant for TFD that is just the exact kind of thing that I hate doing and will find any reason to put off, even though it takes like 15 minutes. And so I asked my partner, Lauren, and I was like "Can you check in with me tomorrow at the end of the day about this task to make sure that I've done it?" Low and behold the next day at like 5pm she's like "Hey, did you do this boring task?" and I was like "Absolutely didn't" and I took 15 minutes right then and did it on the spot. And thank goodness that I had someone there to remind me and to hold me accountable because if not I would have put it off another day. And I think the point there is to accept that sometimes there are just tasks that you're not gonna want to do and that doesn't mean that you're, you know, incompetent or not a hard worker or whatever, it just means that you're human and sometimes you need a little push. And there's no shame in asking for it.

Number 5 is forcing myself to sleep. So I'm someone who's always been a night owl. I used to love doing the bulk of my work between like midnight and 2am, but now I work a schedule that's pretty 9-6:30-ish, very much like a lot of us. And I find that if I really don't force myself to get to sleep at a pretty early hour for me, which is like maybe 11 or so, I'm useless the next day. When I first moved to New York I got a prescription for Ambien to help me with that, but I really didn't like it and I stopped taking it pretty quickly and really didn't take anything else for a long time after that. And so for a long time after that I went sort of cold turkey and I said to myself "Okay, I'm going to force myself to get on a morning person's schedule with no help" and that meant that if I went, you know, 5 nights in a row getting to sleep at the right time, but then one night messed up it would take me weeks to get back on the good sleep cycle. But sometime around the end of last year, I sort of realized that I was going to have to meet somewhere in the middle and I wasn't going to necessarily be on Ambien, but I also wasn't going to be cold turkey. And so what I started doing was on an evening where I felt like I was really not able to get to sleep and I was about to mess up my schedule, I just take over the counter sleep aids to help me kind of force myself to sleep and to stay on the schedule so I don't lose all the progress I've been making. And maintaining that good sleep schedule and getting a good night each night is crucial to combating my tendency to put things off and be a little lazy and procrastinate because I feel clear headed and full of energy. 

So my last one is speed-running through tedious tasks. Essentially any time there's a task that's tedious and repetitive, but needs to get done I will put it off forever. And so what I've started doing with some of those things like, you know, clearing out my inbox or filling out forms or whatever, I've started speed-running them. I time myself and see how quickly I can get done as much as I can get done and sometimes I'll even have little prizes for myself if I beat my time. A great example is on a Friday afternoon if I have a ton of unread emails to sort through, I'll see how it'll take me get 50 of them done and if I do it in a certain amount of time then I'll take myself out for a nice cocktail and maybe some snacks at happy hour. I find that setting a time limit and setting a little prize for myself if I fall within that makes my brain turn the task into a game and that makes me not want to put it off anymore. So those are just a few of my anti-laziness strategies, if you have a really good one that we should all know about leave it in the comments. And as always, don't forget to hit the subscribe button and to go to thefinancialdiet.com for more. Bye!