work-on-business-lazy

How to Work on Your Creative Business (When You Feel Lazy as Hell)

OK. Keeping it 100 here.

Biz owners don’t like to admit it (at least I don’t), but it’s a fact. We’re not always on our A game.

Sometimes…

We don’t feel like sending another email.

Or writing another blog post.

Or pitching a new client.

Or scheduling social media posts.

Or working on that super cool e-workbook that a bunch of people are excited about. <- this is all me, for real.

It’s easy to get overcome with laziness when whatever you’re working on will benefit you long term, but doesn’t bring instant gratification. Sometimes you feel like throwing your hands up in the air, putting on a snuggy and melting into the couch for a few hours.

But, ultimately:

Lazy = not productive = no progress.

I’m happy to tell you if you’re battling laziness, you’re not alone.

Last year, I was the Queen of Lazy when it came to anything related to my own brand i.e. my website, products and mentoring program. Most of my energy went to making sure I provided my clients the best work I possibly could.

When they were happy, I was happy. And I retreated to the couch.

Now, I’m devoting the same amount of dedication to my own site even when I feel lazy as hell.

Here are some tips to help you stay motivated and productive:

how-to-stay-focused-when-lazy

Get the Beats Going

Music is the best medicine. Although music with lyrics can be a huge distraction. I’ve caught myself typing lyrics rather than my actual work one, two or a million times.

There are a few sites that you can pay for that have concentration music like Focus at Will and 8tracks.

I found that YouTube, Pandora and SoundCloud also have free concentration mixes without lyrics if you do a search. One in particular I love is an 8-hour study mix on YouTube of what I consider techno when I’m really struggling with concentration. There’s also EDM instrumentals on YouTube that are pretty good.

What I’ve really been hunting for is a hip-hop instrumental mix. The one I found is just OK, if you have suggestions here, please share!

Finding the right mix of music that gets you in the zone can really make the difference when you’re trying to push through a few more hours of work in the evening.

Time Each Task

Break your to-do list into smaller tasks. Figure out how long it’ll take you to do each one. Then set your timer. There’s something about a timer ticking away that gets your butt in gear. If you’re competing with the clock you’re also less likely to get distracted.

I usually set my timer for an hour for each task because most of my tasks involve writing, either putting together a first draft or editing.

I would suggest not setting a timer for too much longer than an hour because it’s easier to fall into distraction if you know you have a long period of time to get something done aka procrastination.

Reward Yourself for Completed Work

Somedays I want a glass of wine, other days I want to watch reality TV. Whatever you like to do make it a reward after you get your work done.

Occasionally, I’ll cave and have a glass before finishing my work for the day to “boost creativity”. And I am super imaginative… until about 1/4 of the glass is gone. At that point, I remember a hilarious video (have you seen that one with the kid dabbing behind the sportscaster? Muahaha) and I get lost down the online rabbit hole for hours.

Insert any variable that causes you to go a little off track when you’re trying to meet a deadline. Make sure you indulge after work so you can completely enjoy it and it doesn’t distract you from beasting.

Avoid Multi-Tasking 

Don’t try to do many things at the same time (especially surfing social media while you work). It’ll take you longer to do each task and prolong your work.

Here’s an example: It used to take me hours to write a blog post even short ones. So, I timed how long it took me to do each part of a blog post. Each time I did something for work unrelated to the blog post I stopped the timer.

I found after adding up the small spurts of time I was actually writing it took me a fraction of the time I thought it did. Using that knowledge I could better manage my time. 

Schedule Breaks Where You Do Absolutely Nothing

Give yourself some time where you don’t think about your business, at all. If you let your work seep into other past-times you enjoy, life becomes less fun. It’ll feel like you’re working a lot, but your productivity is really quite low.

Again, speaking from experience here.

This happened to me a lot last year. I was always “working”. However, my productivity was low because I was sitting down to work all the time, tiring myself out and not getting much done. Free time to enjoy yourself separate from work clears your mind and actually helps you become more productive.

Promise.

Switch Up the Scenery

If you usually work from home in your office, switch locations. It could be somewhere as simple as your kitchen table or a computer table on the couch. Working from the same area if you’re facing a mental roadblock keeps you in creative prison.

Going to a coffeeshop or bookstore is also a place I’ve got some motivation juices flowing. Usually other people are working or at least on laptops in coffee shops or bookstores. Seeing people working can also energize you to do more work.

Ditch Dead Weight Tasks

No ones an expert on everything or has the time to wear a bazillion hats. Outsource even before you think you’re ready for tasks like social media scheduling or researching clients. It’ll free your time up for the larger projects that require your attention and bring in you in the dough.

I hired an assistant for client research and pitching earlier this year. She saved me a bunch of time and her work helped me realize the direction I was taking my business was actually not the right one.

Your Turn Amigo

What tips and tricks do you use to keep your mind in the game for work when laziness starts to set in? Share in the comments below.

 

… and P.S.

New to freelancing and side hustling?

I have a mega list of 107 Productive Things to Do Instead of Spending Money to share! It includes ways to get your finances together and ways to bring in more income. Grab the PDF version of this list below!

 

— This post or page may contain affiliate links. Don’t worry, though. I only promote products that I’ve used or truly believe in.

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Taylor K. Gordon is a writer and money blogger. She writes on how to live your best life without going broke.

6 Comments
  1. Reply Stacey April 3, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Just found your blog, love it!
    So I’m right there with you and so glad to know that I’m not the only one that has to deal with this side of blogging. Love the tips and thank you so much for be open and sharing!

    • Reply Taylor April 4, 2016 at 10:41 am

      Hi Stacey! Happy that we’re able to connect! You’re deeeeeefinitely not the only one. Even if you’re passionate about something there’s always some drudge work involved. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  2. Reply Latoya April 12, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    I’m feeling that way today big time. But, it’s not without it’s reason. I’m trying to detox off sugar, sooo we know how that’s going. I’m tired, grouchy, and just not feeling 100 at the moment. It’s the goal to endure this so eventually I will feel a gazillion times better. For now, I’ll write a little and nap. Oh yeah, and that music definitely helps. Spotify has been giving me life lately.

    • Reply Taylor April 14, 2016 at 9:59 am

      Oooooo a sugar detox! Let me know how that works. I’m trying to get healthier too trying to cut out starch. I eat a lot of rice. LOL I feel so grouchy when I can’t have the foods I want as well. What music do you listen to? I just downloaded Spotify liking it so far and it’s free!

  3. Reply Jeri June 1, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    Soooo glad I found yoooou! Heehee ? I have been feeling uber lazy about a certain project and it’s pulling my energy waaay down….about everything. I am afraid I bit off more than I should have, but also feel taking that job was just going against where my heart and my shine really lie. I said yes to the project and really want to do a good job for my client, but feel trapped by it. Any advice?

    • Reply Taylor June 2, 2016 at 11:11 am

      I’m glad you found me too 🙂 !!! I’ve felt trapped by a project before. Never a fun feeling! In the past, when I took on jobs I really didn’t want it made me feel soooooooo resentful about all aspects of freelancing. Don’t feel too down about it tho. We have to experience the bad stuff to appreciate the good stuff.

      Your next steps depend on how far along in the project you are and if you already got paid for it. Here are some ideas:

      1. If it’s a project you’re in the very beginning stages of you may be able to bow out gracefully. Be honest. You could tell the client you underestimated your workload for the month, that after starting the project you realize it’s beyond your expertise or the scope of the work appears to be more than you first discussed. The second part to this is you need to find an AMAZING replacement. Recommend someone else who can knock their project out of the park.

      I’ve used one of these scripts before >> http://www.janineduff.com/how-to-write-a-graceful-client-rejection-letter/

      2. Or keep the project and contract out some of the work. When we’re not feeling a project, we procrastinate and the work tends to suffer, something you don’t want. You’ll make less of a profit if you hire someone to help you, but if you’ve already committed to it and canceling isn’t a viable option it may be best to get some help. I wish I had done this in the past instead of grinding my gears on some projects that just weren’t aligning with my strengths and making me feel nutso.

      3. Ask for a deadline extension. This is something I hardly (if ever) do bc doing so can make you appear unreliable. But, if you can’t turn in quality work by a deadline request to extend it. I try to think of this from a client’s perspective when considering the request: Would I mind waiting an extra few days for amazing work or getting so-so work right away. The first option sounds more appealing. If you’re granted an extension, take a day or a half day completely removed from the project to clear your head. Looking at it with fresh eyes helps.

      Of course, whatever you choose to do will probably depend on other variables of the situation behind the scenes, but you do have options, my friend!

      You’re the boss, so you can part ways if it doesn’t feel right. Just make it an amicable split where the client’s needs are getting taken care of …. just not by you.

      Hope this helps!

      Taylor

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