How Do I Stop Being So Messy And Lazy?
After so many month working in your home office things might getting a bit sloppy. And it’s hard to keep motivated when sitting alone in the home all the time. Especially when work is not that demanding or you are just not as busy as you used to. In time even the most motivated person has a hard timer to stay active and organized. In fact, many experience that over time they get a bit more lazy and messy. Some even way more and they ask themselves: How do I stop being so messy and lazy?
We will address the answer of actually two different topics - although they are somehow related – by finding the root cause of the problem and then outline exact steps how you can get out of it.
Well, the good news is that it can be fixed with a few steps that are outlined in this article. Of course, it will be a different story if you are clinical depressed and need medical attention. If that is the case then the very first step is to get the help you need. Do not procrastinate that.
But for the rest of us, that we simply feel a bit down because of the circumstances, this article will give you a step-by-step guideline to get back on track again.
20 steps to stop being messy and lazy
Before we get into details about who you can start things differently, we need to talk about your motivation. When motivation is lacking you will not accomplish anything. Therefore, these are first steps to being messy and lazy.
1. Accept that you are not alone in this situation
The first step is easy: accept that you are not alone in this situation. Many feel exactly as you do – and found a way out of this downward trend. So don’t beat yourself up or worried that something is extraordinary bad if you are a bit lazy now and things are getting messy.
The fact that you found this article a- and reading it – already shows that you accepted that you need to change something. This is for many the hardest part, simply to accept that there is momentary dull and seeking to fix it.
So you can make your check already on the first big step to stop being messy and lazy. Congratulations!
2. Find the root cause of the issue
When you once were not that messy and lazy, but now you have the feeling that the problem get worse, try to find the reason for it.
Many are facing difficulties in this pandemic – less work, less income, maybe even the fear of losing your job. Others are facing health issues und we could add a long list of things that can tear you down. As a result, we feel even less inclined to pull ourselves back together and keep things orderly and being motivated to do work right.
Being aware of the roof cause for your problem will help you to see that it is not you as a person that is failing in some way. Rather circumstances influenced your behaviour to the point where you are now.
Once you see that you can attack the problem and not yourself.
The key is to break that downward spiral. Now, of course, this easier said than done, and probably it will not happen overnight. However, little steps in the right direction will bring you back on track.
3.Make a commitment
When you are already in the habit of letting things go and things are piling up, maybe also your work is already suffering, than it is important to break that cycle of bad habits.
And as it is with any habit we may develop – it’s not so easy to break free from it. So you need make a commitment to change things. If you are not fully committed and willing to change things it will never happen.
So make a contract with yourself. Write down on a sticky not what you want to accomplish, and post it to where you see it first thing in the morning when you come into your home office. Maybe stick to your monitor or laptop.
You can write things like: “ I will getting things organized and be active again”, or even more specific: “In one month I want to have my office clean and organized”.
Really take some time to think about what exactly you want to accomplish and put it in writing. That makes your goal more real to you. And it gives you the motivation to change things – after all you have a contract.
4.Visualize your goal
You need to have a clear vision of how your home office – or even your entire home – will look like once you accomplished your goal. Image how your office desk will look like. Maybe you have not seen the desk surface for already some time, since it was buried for quite some time.
Think how wonderful it will be to sit again in a clean, organized office and how much you would be motivated to work.
Also image how this will positively impact your work. Once you accomplish your goal, you may no longer procrastinate things and carry them around with you as a big burden that tears you down.
This will improve not only your work quality but also your free time. You don’t have to think about tasks you should have done already. But because of been lazy and unmotivated you simply didn’t. That can keep you awake. Image you can get a good sleep at night, knowing you did everything you should.
If you can’t visualize it have a look at some pictures at Pinterest of your dream home office or home to get some inspirations. And clearly imagine how your place will look like that and how it will make you feel.
5. Avoid pushing yourself down
At this point, you may come to the conclusion that this is just a dream but you never gonna make it, it's just too hard, and….. . STOP RIGHT THERE!
This is negative talk and thoughts you need to avoid at all cost! First it's not true! You can make it! But if you constantly find reasons why you can’t do it, you rob yourself of the energy to actually make a change.
Of course, bad thought like this come up from time o to time. But the good thing is that our brain only can focus on one thought at a time. So whenever these thoughts come up, force yourself to think differently. Just as you would change the station of the radio when you don’t like the music.
Focus on your goal, what you already have accomplished and think, “I will make it!”.
So far this is all about motivation and mind-set. Only continue when you are completely convinced that you not only wish to make a change but are also motivated and convinced that you can do it!
Now let’s go a step further and look at things that you need to prepare for your step out of being messy and lazy.
6. Plan to record your accomplishments along the way.
Some found it helpful to make a picture of their home office every day. Over the time you can then see what your have accomplished. So every evening when you stop working make a picture of the room from the same angle.
So you can compare. It will highly motivate you when you see that actually did something. And if its getting worse than the day before it can give you a gently boost to put you back on track
7. Get dressed for work
We all have experienced that from time to time. If we don’t have a video conference that day we just roll out of bad and plop ourselves in front of the laptop and start doing ....nothing. And it makes us feel depressed if we continue doing so.
Read more about the great benefit of getting dressed for work in our article SHOULD I HAVE A WORK-FROM-HOME DRESS CODE?
It gives you the right feeling for work. You invest in yourself and boost your self-esteem and motivation.
So from now on, make it your goal to never work in bed, and never work in your pajamas all day.
8. Have clear work schedule
Even if you can work from home on your free schedule, plan ahead exactly when you start to work and when you are ending it. It gives your day a structure and helps you to actually start working at a specific time.
Also schedule your break times. This is actually a very important step that you cannot overlook.
Think about your work habits so far. Could it be that you do a lot of things you should not do while working? Maybe checking WhatsApp messages, browsing the web, Instagram, tictoc and any other time killer. Don’t get me wrong. I love that too, but if you have no clear structure in your workday, chances are great that you simply keep on doing it all day and in the end you cannot accomplish anything.
For a start schedule a 10 min break every half hour of work.
Yes, you got me right. Schedule 20min or work followed by 10min of break. In your break time you can look up your messages, browse the web or do whatever you are want to do.
After that 10min go back to work for 20 min – motivated because you reward yourself again with a well-deserved 10 min break after that.
Also, schedule a noon break of one hour.
In the afternoon, again follow the pattern of 20 min work and 10 min breaks.
If you schedule 4 hour work in the morning and 4 hours in the afternoon, that would be a total 160 min of break times, plus the 1-hour lunch break. That may seem extremely high at first glance.
However, it also means that you had 320 min, or more than 5 hours, of productive work time.
Now compare that to your productive work time right now. Would that not be a remarkable progress?
So prepare that schedule, print it out and hang it somewhere you can see it at all times, and have watch next to it.
Write it down in this format:
8:20-8:30 break time
8:50-9:00 break time
And so on…..
Once you got used it it you can reduce the break times as you want. But for a start simply stick to this schedule.
9. Start decluttering your home office
When your office is all messy and cluttered your first work days are designated to clean up your home office.
Some great tips on how to do clean up and organize your home office you can find in our article HOW TO ORGANIZE A HOME OFFICE?
Please take some time to read the article and declutter and clean your office. In the mentioned article are easy to follow steps on how you can accomplish that.
Once you have organized and cleaned up your home office you will get a great motivation boost to continue your success on a way to a clean organized home office and productive work.
Since this a task for itself we will not go into detail here, but the idea is to:
- empty an area completely in your home office or home
- sort out what you don’t need any more and throw it away
- sort out what is not related to the work you are doing right now and find another place in your home for it
- throw out papers yu no longer need
- file documents that you need in a easy to follow system
- clean the area
- place things orderly back on designed places
Now this is of course the extremely condensed version. Please take your time to follow the steps outlined in the article HOW TO ORGANIZE A HOME OFFICE?
But of course you don’t have to do your entire office at once. Start with your desk, or even with a portion of your desk. Then later you can do the cabinet, shelves and so on. But by all means get started somewhere.
And as you are prepared to document your accomplishments as outlined before, you will get the motivation to keep going.
When you start working on it also follow the work schedule you have outlined before. So 20min work, 10min break.
Of course, if you just feel great about that you are actually are decluttering your office and take matters into your hands again, and you feel you don’t need a break – that’s fantastic! And you will see after some time it will actually happen. Because nothing motivates us more that our own accomplishments.
10. Schedule to clean your office desk and other surfaces each day
That may sound extreme. So far the areas may not even be accessible to wipe them down. But that exactly is the secret. Once you took the time and effort to clean up your office desk, cabinet and shelves, wiping them the surfaces down every day forces you to keep it orderly.
Also you see where you may need to put documents and office stuff back to its place.
11. Plan to get outside during your lunch break
Don’t keep sitting in front of your laptop during lunch breaks. Make a clear distinction between work place and time and your free time.
Best is to eat a light lunch and than go outside for a short walk, getting some fresh air. After all you dressed up for work as we described earlier. So let people see you.
Getting some exercise, even if it's just a small walk, will boost your energy and gives you the great feeling of breaking free from former bad habits of watching TV all day or filling you phone.
So far you have the proper motivation and you started to organize and clean your home office. These are great steps. And you truly can be proud of yourself by getting this far!
Now let’s focus on getting thigs done in your home office and stop being lazy
12. Distribute your tasks smart
What o we mean by that? Well, some experts say you should do the most unpleasant task right in the beginning of the day, and then go to something else. That sounds great, but if you are like me that only makes me not wanting to start in the morning at all.
So we need a smart approach.
Since you broke down you work day into sections of 20 min work and 10 min break time, start the first 20 min with something that you like to do. But of course – it needs to be work, not browsing the web or your phone (that you actually would not have at hand anyway, as mentioned earlier).
Instead, you can do things like letting your coworkers know you are available, answer to a few easy emails, read a memo, or anything that you like to do. After that have your 10 min break.
That way to are already putting yourself in work mode and you can attack other tasks in the next round.
13. Stop procrastination (The 5 min secret)
That might be a hard step for some. But now it's time to tackle things that are hard and unpleasant. Some might be things you just hate to do.
But instead of planning now to work on them the complete next 20 min, plan only to work fully concentrated on them for only 5 min. Of course that is not to lingering around 5 min, but really doing active steps to accomplish that hated task – for 5 min only.
Can you motivate yourself to just work 5 min on it? For sure you can! If after 5 min you just don’t want to continue put it aside and do the rest of the 15min another task – work related of course.
Congratulations! You actually started now to work on a task that you maybe procrastinated already for weeks! But today you did it!
Time for a well-deserved 10 min break.
After the break try to work on it some more – plan again to work only for 5min. But if you are in the move and you can do longer stick to it as long as you can – until it’s time for your 10 min break again.
Before you know it, you have done it, and the long overdue hated task is finished. That will free your mind and gives you a great feeling of accomplishment. That in turn motivates you to go on.
14. Clean up your desk after one task is completed
When you finished on tasks clean up everything before you start a new task. You may think, well I may need that pen again, or I will clean up before I finish work altogether.
But at the end of the day you might be too tired and things already have plied up through the day that it just seems too much to do it then. And so you the procrastinate it for the next day…and it actually may not happen then again. And in just a very short time you are again where you started.
So, take just 2 minutes to file the papers you were working on, place the folder in the shelve, place back that pen and put back that hole puncher before you start something else. Keep you work area clean and tidy from the beginning.
15.Turn off any distraction
It's all too easy to get distracted when you try to work and music is on or the TV is running. So turn it off. During your break time, you may again turn it on. But just a work of caution – if you turn on your TV during your scheduled break times is very hard to turn it off again after 10 min.
So best is to be determined not to turn on the TV during day at all. If you cannot resist the urge to hit the remote control, plug the TV off before your workday is starting, or place the remote control somewhere in the garage. Anything that makes it harder for you to turn it on is good.
The same is true for websites you turn to when you are bored or not feeling to do work. Think about what pages you usually go to distraction. It could be facebook, reddit or any other site. . Set you the time you are working filter to block those pages.
If you tend to look at your phone every 2 minutes, mute it and place your phone somewhere outside the room. Again, make it hard to get it. It’s very unlikely that you would stand up every few minutes to look at your phone. Whereas if you have right next to you it can be a time killer.
The idea is clear – make sure you can fully concentrate on your work and not letting yourself easily distracted with other things.
16. Keep a task list
Nothing can rob your sleep at night more than the feeling that you forgot something. The simple solution is to keep a list of things you need to do.
Of course there are mobile phone apps and software solutions for it. But we found most effective a simple handwritten list.
If you want to use a phone app it requires that you have your phone at hand all day. But since this can cause you to look at your phone and get distracted and waste time we suggested to have it in another room.
A list on your laptop work better, but a paper list and pen makes it much faster and easier to write things down as soon as it come to mind. You don’t have to open your laptop, find the software, open it, type things down and save it. You simply write it down and you can take with you wherever you are.
We recommend even to put that list and pen next to you when you are relaxing or watching TV in the evening. Even when you go to bed. When you wake up in the middle of the night because something come to your mind that you need to do, you can write it down, and do not have to worry that you again forget it. Seriously try it out – It will no doubt give you some extra hours of sleep.
And there is nothing more motivating when you can cross out a task on your list that you have accomplished!
17. Keep in touch with your colleagues
That of course is always nice and important as not to feel lonely when working from home. Read also the article DOES HOME OFFICE MAKE YOU LONELY? 10 TIPS ON HOW TO OVERCOME IT.
You can use the first 20 min of your work day to get in touch with them and/or also with your manager.
Mention what you are working on and until when you plan to accomplish it.
That will give you an extra motivation to stick to your work and keep an working. Your manager will very appreciate that.
Of course, do not put yourself so much under pressure that you barely can reach your goal. But a little pressure is good and actually necessary to overcome laziness in your home office.
18. Don’t allow others in your office
When you are not living alone, chances are that that your partner or kids will come in and out, asking questions or asking for help – since you are at home as they see it.
So make it clear that you are working and they can approach you during your lunch break. Or later when you are stop working. But working hours are not for playing with the kids, watching them or other house chores.
19. Only work on one task at a time
Focus on one thing at a time. If you cannot complete one task because you have to wait for input from a colleague or something else that is not in your hand, close it. That means clean up your desk again, file the documents before you go to another task.
Having many tasks open at the same time can cause you to feel again overwhelmed and cause you to stop work on any of them. Also files and other items may again pile up on your desk and will look cluttered again in no time.
So focus on one task at a time - and if ever possible finish it.
20. Enjoy your free time
When work day is over it's over. Don’t sit in from of your laptop when your workday is over. Take the time to spend with your family or simply to relax.
It's important to have a clear distinction between your work and your private live.
And because you started to clean up your home office and accomplished more work than before it's now time to reward yourself.
During the pandemic we all feel a bit down or have good reasons to feel anxious about our future. And it can affect our mood and drive to keep our home office orderly and to do our best at working in our home office.
But with a few simple tricks we can get back on track. We can stop being messy and lazy if we really want to.