Don't worry – everyone does it. Anyone in history who you admire did it too. A lot of people do it blantantly, sitting at home and watching reality shows re-runs. I do it way too much and, to put it mildly, I am very annoyed at myslef for that. You do it. Now, start to worry. Because it's serious. Imagine that person you admire got overrun by wasting his or her time.
And your potential is the same. Your day has exactly that many hours. You probably have longer life expectancy than any person who lived in a history before. If you're reading it that means that you also have access to the greatest source of knowledge ever created. So, what's stopping you?
Lack of motivation.
I'm struggling with it for a long time – these are some techniques I use to get stuff done.
1. Eliminate distractions
You're not going to finish anything with facebook, twitter and mailbox on your tabs. Close everything you don't need to get a task done. Disconnect from the internet if you can, shut down TV. Or trow it away, it's already useless.
2. Reward yourself
Before you start, get a hot cup of tea. Or anything else you like, just be careful with the booze if your task involves any dangerous machinery. This accomplishes few things:
a) you get involved and feel forced to complete the task (I have finished my tea, I need to get to working now)
b) you feel better to start a task because you just had something nice
c) you are past the worst stage of completing a task - beginning it. You already began, didn't you?
d) you have time to think about the task, therefore you know what to do instead of wondering.
3. Have a system
Systems are powerful. The whole world is based on them, and for a good reason. Get your own, or, better yet, steal one that works. My favourite getting-stuff-done system is the one by Julien from In Over Your Head, a wonderful motivation blog. Read it, you won't regret it. But, back to the system. It's clear and efficient. It's even flexible. It's perfect.
4. Be smart with your free time
Yeah, right, we're discussing free time activities all the time, so why all the fuss now? Because even if you're engaged in post-curricular activities, they do not occupy all of your time. You waste much more than that! Just think about (or better yet, check) how much of your time goes to mindless facebook surfing, watching funny cats on reddit and wandering around your place.
Dump these little time-devouring habits. Get rid of useless bookmarks in your browser - it will make you think twice before visiting a site you waste time on. Unplug (or throw out - did I mention that?) your TV. Think about your goal - then decide what sources can be worth your time. Spend your free time there. Learn. Explore. Read. Or even go for a walk - clean air is more beneficial than you think!
5. Break it down
During a task, give yourself small breaks for little menial work. It's important that this secondary occupation mustn't require any sort of thinking - so you can wonder about the important work while getting other stuff done and relax while not losing focus.
After this paragraph, I'm getting five minutes to iron a shirt.
6. Create a sense of momentum
Can you remember the last time you were on a some kind of spree? Cleaning entire home in one day? Sorting all of your photos in one sitting? Wrote an essay at once? If you can, then you know how easy a job is when you get engrossed in it.
Do a bunch of little things to get this feeling - a sense of momentum - then carry on with the larger ones! On more practical advice, I'm sending you to Michael Nobbs - another one of well-written and informative blogs about motivation - here combined with creativity.
7. Have it thought through
Take your time. Think. Experiment. Play with your thoughts. Because only then you can start and finish at once - without reviewing and correcting your work. It takes much less time and feels much better when everything you do is made correctly - but first, you must know what you're looking for.
Now get up. You have something to do and we both know it.