How to (Actually) Survive Your Own Overwhelming Laziness (pt.2)

This post contains actual solutions instead of fake sad ones! But, if you would prefer to remain lazy, I do have a list of excuses and coping mechanisms for you.

I’ve really only learned two things, but they ended up being important.

  • Identify bad habits that are destroying your productivity
  • Find a way to motivate yourself to decrease them

Everyone likes to talk about good habits. I thought that, since I lack discipline, I should focus on creating good habits and positivity and fluffy happy thoughts and I will be perfect and amazing. It turns out that is incredibly wrong. 1. I resist saccharine bullshit in all things and 2. Bad discipline = I don’t want to do any *thing* = I don’t want to do good things. “Just write 15 minutes a day!” I told myself. I blocked out time in my calendar, I downloaded habit apps, I rewarded myself with candy.

habit bull app android

This should have worked. After all, I’ve had great success with this 7 minute workout app that I have been forcing myself to complete no less than 5 times a week (using Habit Bull to track that). It turns out that discipline is easier when I have a robot voice commanding me to do workout things while my mind is free to think about fun things like cute animals, cute women, or arguing with dudes on the internet. It also turns out that discipline is impossible when you have to sit down for 15 minutes in silence and be artistically impressive.

I was not using my bad discipline to my advantage. I love not doing anything, therefore, I can learn to like not doing bad things! All I have to do is nothing! Yes, there was something bad I was doing & it would be better for me to spend that time doing absolutely nothing at all.

internet binge
/’In.tər.net binj/

noun

When, after checking your phone or computer for messages, you waste fucking eons of time looking at all of the internet.

Backstory; I am not friends with caffeine. At low doses, I am really uncomfortable; at high doses I cry, slur my words, and pass out on floors. Caffeine does not help my hangovers, by the way. Caffeine turns my hangovers into: “oh my god all of my blood is poison and I can feel all 1.2 gallons of it pulsing through me and why won’t my hands stop shaking??” Anyone who has a coffee with their hangover* is a masochist; hangovers are for sleeping.

Living life without wake-up drugs is difficult, and that’s why I schedule 9 hours of sleep on work nights and I *used to* use my phone to replace coffee. “Watermelon-watermelon-watermelon..” my alarm song** rings, I stare into a bright screen for 15 minutes 30 minutes 1 hour, feel bright and shiny capable of getting up, and do my stuff.

I’ve been using the phone-in-my-face method for about 3 years now. It turns out I have been wrong about life for 3 years. It is better for me to lay in bed and do nothing, rather than introduce my brain to the addictive reward cycle of sweet, empty internet calories first thing in the morning. Invariably, I will continue to snack on internets for the rest of the day and ACHIEVE NOTHING and hate myself and have to use Netflix to cope.

habitica avatar golden fox

To aide me on my quest to defeat the internet binge, I made an account with Habitica. Gamification totally works for me, as does the level of customization available in this free app/browser tool. I got to watch my little character level up, get cool outfits, and hatch a baby golden fox just cuz I did my chores. For the internet binge, I started by setting a bad habit (I lose points if I do it) for any binges before 6pm. Later on, I increased the damage that habit does to my character, and added a bad habit for internet binges at any time. One exception: internet binges while pooping are totally allowed.

habitica bad habits examples

Habitica is also helping me replace the need to poke at my phone. It is a real, physical need! I have to be able to touch my phone periodically through the day, feel its smooth, fancy glass, its weight in my hands… I mean, there’s Neko Atsume, or there’s an extended-reality app that gives me gold coins for vacuuming. Ok, I can do this; I can be a good sami. Just need to complete more tasks to find a few more food items to raise my dragon big enough to ride him…

Wow. Look at how long this blog post is. Method totally works.


 

*kind of a lie. So, from what I’ve read on the science, if you are addicted to caffeine, a small amount will help you with your hangover by reducing caffeine withdrawal (a symptom worsened by overall hangover suckage). Too much caffeine, however, is bad for any hangover.

**this is a truly fantastic way to wake up and is how I’ve been doing it since Burning Man.

 

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Know-it-all Syndrome

Know-it-all Syndrome. You know what I’m talking about. Well, generally, it’s a bit more extreme than what I’ll discuss. “Sufferers” of this disease are known to annoy everyone around them by pretending knowledge on every topic of conversation. What I’m aiming at, however, is more the general adaptation of this habit, where you nod away things that are going over your head. What’s the harm in pretending to know about something you know nothing about? You’ll just Google it later.

Look at this sheep. It is so smug.

Look at this sheep. It is so smug. ‘Cuz it has cooler tastes in music than you.

Recently I promised myself to stop pretending. The idea for this vow grew out of the little brown notebook I carry in my purse. I’d started writing the things people told me, as they spoke to me. I named it my memory augmentation device. (My memory is unreliable enough without the drinking.)

Something started happening. I noticed a twinkle, an edge of excitement in their voices as I wrote. They’d add more, “oh, and look up The Ben Heck Show.”  I’d latched on to the idea a long time ago, from some reading, that “observation is sexy” and I realized I could show a little appreciation for someone just by writing these things down in front of them. Look, I’m listening.

This didn’t cure my know-it-all ‘syndrome’ right away. First, I must add that my case is a little unusual. Due to my delusional escapades as an alien princess, a Christian, a heterosexual… my connection to reality is a bit flimsy. I can never be sure just how far off I am when I’m confused about the order of things. Which century was pointillism? Where is the Bay of Pigs? I know the answers, I really do, but pretty much anyone can make me question myself. Hey, they didn’t spend 7 years of their childhood sharing brain-time with an extraterrestrial dignitary. They might be a little more in tune with the real world.

And look, I will never catch up with people who have been paying such close attention to 90s pop-punk that they actually know the name of the lead singer of Blink-182. (Seriously I don’t know and I don’t care.) So, I nod and pretend to know a few things about ‘culture’ and hope the subject changes soon. If a subject is truly boring to me, why slow down the trivia slinging? This I’ll allow, despite the vow. Let the nerds exchange their factoids quickly before they realize they need to educate me.

But, what I’m going to quit doing is going along with something I don’t know just to seem cool… and smart… and stuff. I kind of realized that no, just no, it doesn’t do you any good. People like being experts, they like knowing some esoteric thing about history, or science, or just some band you didn’t know existed. I’m going to let them show off that knowledge to me.

And, really, is there any shame in not knowing everything? In this information age, there is so much to know. Let’s stop trying to stay up on the same trends. Let us meander every which way, collecting data deeply, and share synopses. Let us learn this world collaboratively, and stop believing the loneliness will only go away as soon as we know exactly what our neighbor knows. Ask each other, what do you know? and stop pretending to know it, too.

An opportunity to test this theory came up immediately after I took the vow. Recently, I admitted I didn’t know what the Camino de Santiago was. I’ve been in a long conversation with a pretty pen-pal and I figure she deserves, as much as anyone, the truer me. So I confessed. I added, “Let me know if you find this endearing or you like me less for not memorizing all the same things you have memorized.”

She responded, “Now, I do find it endearing that you didn’t Google The Camino de Santiago. Although when I wrote it, I expected you would.”

What followed, in her own voice, not Wikipedia’s, is a personalized and very real description of the Way of St. James. I read it, twice.