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I've heard this statement a few times in my life: "Doing nothing is still doing something"; and it wasn't until recently that I started to understand what that meant to me. Have you ever been off work on a beautiful Saturday with a list of projects in mind, but at the end of the day you've somehow managed to finish none of them? That is my personal definition of inaction is still action.
We need to be mindful of the times when we could be accomplishing so much, yet doing nothing instead. This is one of the key points of procrastinating and avoiding tasks at hand. I've narrowed this down to two reason we might choose to do nothing during those times: Either we feel overwhelmed by the list of projects in our head, or the projects simply aren't important to us. The good news is that both of these can be managed so that we turn unnecessary down time into a productive part of our day.
Let's start with feeling overwhelmed by what we want to do. A typical obstacle that people tend to put in from of themselves is attempting to keep everything they need or want to do in their lives organized in their heads. I realized this about myself when I lived in Kansas City. During that time, I worked two full-time jobs, was going to college, my mother was living with me after a car accident, and I was interested in starting a relationship; and that's not including day-to-day responsibilities. I learned then that I needed to remove the responsibility of remembering all of this from myself, and give it to someone (or something) else. It's take a number of years to evolve, but I've gone from a color-coded dry-erase board to keeping all of my appointments and to-do lists online through a platform I can access on any of my electronic devices. I'm able to set notifications and reminders of events, and can keep myself moving forward with a list of daily projects I need or want to accomplish. Now, instead of using a boat load of energy to remember everything I'm suppose to do, I can use that energy to actually do them!
Next is what I believe to be the bigger obstacle of the two: the task or project that you could be working on simply isn't important to you. There's an easy way of dealing with this; however, it may not be the best way: If it's not important to you, don't do it! To say, "Don't go to work if it's not important to you, " could result in your electric bill not getting paid and your electric being turned off. Before you get to that point of not doing the task, start by looking to understand the actual importance of what you could be doing.
Could waking up early and writing for 45 minutes be important to establishing a routine in your day? Maybe putting new shelves in your bathroom is important to your spouse to help organize all the clutter on the counter. I could even be that going outside to clean up trash that has blown into your flower garden might be important to lifting the spirits of someone who happens to walk by. There's a list of ways for our daily tasks and projects to become important enough for us to actually work on them.
This isn't to say that 100% of the projects will need you to complete them, even if they are important. Instead, we need to be able to prioritize what needs to be done today versus what can wait for another day. Again, trying to do this mentally will most likely lead to inaction. Us an organization tool as suggested before, and plan your day in advance so that you know what needs done simply by looking at your list. If there is a project that absolutely needs completed today, but is tipping the scales at whether or not it can be done, re-prioritize your list as your list could change many times throughout the day. Lastly, assess your resources to see if you might be able to delegate or ask for help (look into utilizing the 10-80-10 rule...it's quite helpful).
At the end of the day, your level of accomplishment is entirely up to you. Find a method to help organize your thoughts so that you can use that energy for something more contributing to you life or the lives of others; and remember to take the time to think about why a project could be important before taking the easy path of not doing it at all. When you end your day before going to sleep, isn't it nicer to think about all the items you've checked off your list than to stress about everything you should have been doing instead of sitting on the couch?