Have you ever crafted a to-do list for the day in the morning, full of motivation and inspiration that today is the day you are going to get things done!
.……and then bed time rolls around and you’ve only done one easy item.… maybe two if you’re lucky.
What stops us from being our best selves and getting things done? Especially the things that need to get done that we’ve put off and put off.
I’m reading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield and it’s really opened my eyes to how our individual self and others enclose barriers around us to prevent us from getting work done.
I am absolutely 100% guilty of allowing myself and others to block me from doing the work that I want to do. My mind throws out excuses and it’s easier to let myself fall into those traps than do the activities that will allow me to grow as a person.
Procrastination is a huge issue for me. Why do it today when I can put it off for tomorrow? I used to have a huge issue with doing the dishes but I’ve mostly over come that now. Why now? I got rid of the reasons that let me build up the leaning tower of dirty dishes. I have almost no counter space right now in my kitchen. I simply don’t have the room to let dishes sit if I want a semi-functional kitchen. I use one plate, one cup, one bowl, and one of each utensil. They all get washed directly after using them. No muss, no fuss.
One big way I procrastinate is by napping. It’s so easy to come home after a long day at work, change clothes, and fall into the welcoming arms of my comfy bed.
Well, not anymore.
I literally built a barrier to my bed to make it more difficult to get into. I didn’t set out specifically to do that, but I’m happy with the result. My bed is now lofted 90″+ off the ground, and climbing (literally) into it is a chore.
Result: Definitely less inclined to take a nap if I have to emulate a spider monkey and climb into a wobbly loft.
I actually built the loft to get my bed off the ground and allow me more use of my limited space in my studio unit. As a result, I have an actual desk where I can use my computer and be more productive now that it’s not hovering right outside my closet with the monitor on my dresser.
Look at that- by building the loft I actually eliminated two barriers at once. #winning!
Getting better at doing things by adding barriers isn’t the only way to improve your life. Sometimes doing things better requires removing barriers we’ve put up already.
Take lunch, for example. It seems I fluctuate between being really good at packing my lunch for work and just grabbing food from the cafeteria downstairs. Why don’t I meal prep for the entire week and just grab a container in the morning?
Because I don’t have enough containers.
I got some of these bad boys for Christmas this year and that helped a bit. But I only got 5 containers, which isn’t enough to meal prep multiple meals for the whole week.
So I spent $30 and bought some more containers. Now I have enough to meal prep the whole week and I will make that money back in 6 work days (since I average roughly $5/lunch). This will help bring down my overall food budget, let me eat tastier food during the work week at lunch, and eat healthier food than grabbing whatever mushy brown thing with soggy carrots they’re serving that day.
(It’s not that bad, but they have some hella weird combos and I’m tired of paying $5 for a chicken salad sandwich when I could make it better at home.)
Saving money is another area where I had to remove a block. This block was known as me, myself, and I. Ever heard the saying “We are our own worst enemy”? Here’s a pretty graphic just in case you hadn’t.
I do a pretty decent job at saving money each month.… because it’s automatically taken out of my paycheck. I don’t get in my own way.
I usually have money left over at the end of the month that I could put into my taxable account. Why didn’t I do so?
Because it was difficult.
I had my money with Baird for my Roth IRA and taxable investment account. If I wanted to send money to them, I had to do the following steps:
-find my checkbook
-write a check
-transfer money to that account because who uses checks these days
-find an envelope
-find a stamp/buy a stamp
-forget to mail the letter for a few days
-wait some more for it to arrive at the office and for them to deposit it
Obviously that was about 3 steps too many for me. I couldn’t be bothered.
So I eliminated those blocks.
I moved my money to Fidelity which has a nice fancy online interface. Now all I have to do is:
-ensure money is in account
-party in my pjs
See how much more efficient that is? I got rid of most of the reasons why it was too much of a hassle. Now I have no excuses. (I’m sure I’ll be able to come up with them still; I just don’t have any legit reasons to not do it.)
It’s my hope after doing all these things consistently that I can reset my bad habits and put better habits in place. It takes 18–254 days to change a habit. Obviously, I’m hoping those brand new better habits will settle into place closer to the 18 day end of the scale as opposed to the 254 day end.
Feel free to join me in my “be more productive” journey! Let me know if you have any bad habits in the comments!
As always, thanks for reading! Note that some of these links may be affiliate links. If you click a link, there’s a chance I could make a few pennies to help keep the lights on around here!
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