How To Take The Easy Way Out

I’m obsessively productive and can often feel guilty if I’m not moving forward.

In this respect, my mornings are almost never a problem. You’d be surprised to know this because if you saw me I’m a big ball of grump in those wee early hours before the afternoon, but in truth I’m really ready to get moving and get things done.

On the other hand an especially troublesome time for me is in the evening after I’ve worked all day. Your times might vary, but we all have times when we tend towards a stand still.

What I’ve noticed in these situations is that my mind plays a peculiar trick:

Mind 1: “Can I do something really productive? I really ought to!”

Mind 2: “Nah but I’m too tired to concentrate, I suppose I could get some chores done around the house, that isn’t too tough. These floors need mopped.”

Mind 1: “Yea, but I really should get some accounting done, those floors can wait.”

Mind 2: “But I’m tired – I just told you!”

Mind 1: “Oh ok let’s just go watch TV, we deserve to relax.”

Mind 2: “Yea let’s do that, it’s been a long day.”

Of course this is a compromise to nothing. Mind 1 wanted to be really productive, and Mind 2 wanted to be moderately productive, so I watch TV.

There are some times when you really have to get something done. Maybe there’s a deadline you absolutely have to meet or a commitment you can’t back down on. In these cases, guarding against less productive activities helps ward off procrastination. In these situations, the negative outcome of *not* working ensures things won’t break down. This is why students can magically stay up all night working instead of partying before a paper is due.

But in those other instances, at the end of a long work day, too much can simply lead to giving up altogether.

So for those of us who are obsessively productive, here’s something to try: Instead of throwing in the towel and completely collapsing, take the easier of the two options. Hearing it might make you break into a cold sweat, but you don’t need to be raring to go every second of the day. Go ahead and hang out in the gym, or learn something new, or even just clean up around the house. You won’t change the world in that instant, but tomorrow when you get around to it you’ll be able to top that off with some big strong arms and a freshly mopped floor.

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