Original question from Quora:
How do I get rid of this laziness and procrastination?
They are things I want to learn like coding, starting a business, speaking in Arabic, I want to teach myself a lot of things. I want to become a hard worker and graft towards my life goals but I’m a very lazy person. I’ve gave myself things to do but I just can’t get myself to sit down and do them.
I have one trick that gets me to do stuff and it’s so easy anyone can do it.
A year or two ago I realized how I was able to get so much stuff done and paradoxically, it is about the opposite of what you’d think. Let me explain…
I have a tendency to want to do a lot of things. I always have ten or twenty great business ideas I could pursue, at least five things I’d like to learn such as languages, technologies, or entire fields of study.
If it were up to me, I’d be spread as thin as peanut butter across an endless slice of bread. Instead, I do something to keep it out of my hands.
About a year ago I decided to become a bestselling author. If it sounds arbitrary, it’s because it sort of was. I wanted to write books and be an author, so I decided to become very good at what I do. I want to be the best.
So, I wrote my first book. It took a lot of work. Months of writing and editing and editing and editing and writing and editing. Writing a book is a truly difficult endeavor if you want to do it well.
Along the way, I realized something. Because I decided to be a bestselling author, I automatically aligned my life to that goal. When something new pops up, I mostly ignore it.
I don’t even place a second thought on 95% of the ideas that I have or things I’d like to do because the only thing I really want to do is be an author.
So I write a lot. I write my books. I write for my blog. I write answers to quora. I write emails. I write letters. I write and write and write. That’s what it takes to be a good writer.
And there are other things that I’ve decided to do along the way. For example, I’m getting into the habit of exercise. So, when I can I go run or swim or lift weights. Last year I almost never exercised. Now I do it a few times a week. It’s fantastic.
At some point I’ll learn a language, but not until I have this exercise thing really built into my life. Also, when I do learn a language it will be in baby steps. I’ve looked at some programs and I’ll only be spending 15–30 minutes a day at first to get going.
Eventually, that will ramp up and I’ll learn a language fully.
But here is the trick - I tend to have one focus and I ignore the vast majority of the stuff going on around me. I don’t watch the news, read the paper, watch television, or much of anything else. It’s not that I don’t like those things so much as they aren’t very interesting for me compared to what I want to learn and do with my life.
When I know what I want, it is easy to do those things with enthusiasm. The tricky part is knowing what you want or what you are enthusiastic about. Once you know, it’s pretty easy to figure out how to do a lot of the thing you want to do.
So, what do you have a burning desire to do? Start with that, focus on that, then after a year or so move on to the next thing. You’ll be shocked how much you accomplish.
Oh, and here’s a very practical way that I continue to get stuff done every day. I write my top 3–5 things in my Unbranded Pocket Notebook every day. Then, as I get stuff done I cross it off the list. At the end of the day I tear out the page. Each day is a clean slate.
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