How to Stop Lazy Habits and Live Productively

I think we can all relate to putting off the gym, ordering takeaways to avoid cooking real food, lying in bed with Netflix instead of doing the list of tasks we needed to complete that day – although it is so easy to do, sometimes the guilt for an unproductive life just isn’t worth it. I’ve learnt after (many) missed gym days weeks and the impulse-ordering on Uber Eats, that a productive life = a happy life.

I know, it is certainly easier said than done to just wake up one morning and be completely productive and i’m certainly not implying that I am productive every single day – sometimes I do come home from work and get straight into bed with a McDonalds (especially when it’s Monopoly season), I do blow off the gym but I think I’ve gained a healthy balance between productive living and taking a break and my happiness and mindfulness has thanked me a LOT for it.

Catch Negative Thoughts Early

We all start with good intentions to be productive. Why? Because we know what actions are good for us and we ought to do them. There is a point throughout our day where negative thoughts are triggered against productive, positive thoughts. The key to remaining productive is to catch these thoughts and stop them in their tracks early, before any damage to your day can be done.

When we are debating productive tasks in our mind, it is almost like an argument with ourselves. We essentially try and convince OUR OWN minds to not do something productive – it’s like a debate going on in our heads between our head and heart. “I won’t go to the gym today, I don’t have time”, “I will sort the paperwork tomorrow because I can’t be bothered today”. We back up our reasons with an excuse to convince ourselves to not be productive that day.

Catch the thought early before it unravels by simply saying ‘no’. It may sound difficult, but cutting even the idea of skipping a productive task early means you will be less likely to be influenced by negative thoughts and moved away from the tasks ahead.

Learned Behaviours

As humans, we develop attitudes towards certain things in life depending on how they have made us feel in the past. With the right mind-set is is possible to actually enjoy productive tasks because of how good they make us feel after they are complete!

One of the main drives that gets me up off my sofa and into the gym is remembering the feeling of accomplishment that I enjoy after a good work out. I have never regretted going to the gym, in fact I always leave with a big smile on my face from the hormones released through exercise. However, I definitely have regretted not going to the gym – I remember these emotions and shape my behaviours to keep my mind-set positive.

Look to the Future

I’m at a stage in my life where I am doing everything I can to benefit my future life. Although I am all-for living in the moment and I understand it is so important to not let present life pass you by, but I put a lot of effort into tasks that my future self will thank me for. This can be anything from learning a new skill, saving some money or planning a trip – looking to the future can set a clear scope of progress and ca give a goal to work towards. Make lists, tick tasks of when completed and feel like a boss when you do it, even if it’s as little as ‘make the bed’. Tick!

Although living in the moment is very exciting and seems to be the ‘right’ way to live life (trust me I’ve been there and suffered the consequences), it isn’t necessarily the most mindful or healthy way to live your life. All of our actions have outcomes and if we are living in a damaging way of only living in the now, we can face problems later in life. Impulse spending, taking out high-interest loans, skipping work or education – all of these choices are unproductive tasks which people label as ‘living in the moment’ which have some serious downfalls for your future self. Living your ‘best life’ isn’t acting recklessly and doing stupid things, it’s building a stable and enjoyable life for yourself. Don’t be fooled by social media.

Productive tasks are what life is all about. everything we do for ourselves, has a positive impact on our life, even when you don’t realise it. As humans, we tend to not take interest in anything that doesn’t benefit us in some way. For those, like myself, who struggle with depressive episodes and anxiety, productivity and planning is even more important. Living a mindful life with clear insights on where I am going, with goals to hit and a feeling of accomplishment that I’ve tried my best is so important to my mental state. That’s not to say I don’t have off days, I certainly do. Some mornings when I wake up I just know my body isn’t feeling it, it’s important to listen and simply be proud of everything you do that day – whether it’s as little as getting out of bed, every sign of productivity is amazing.


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