It’s funny. Being a thirty-something is extremely liberating. I spent my twenties thinking I had to be perfect at everything, but because I was ‘young’ I still had time to do this or that, learn how to be a good cook, be the person whose house is always spotless, take up gardening and make it seem effortless, or make crafts people would admire and buy on Etsy. I thought these things were important. I believed they would add value to my life and make me a better mom.
Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing any of these things, and I still want them in my life to some degree, it’s just I no longer feel guilty about not mastering them. These were goals I intended to someday accomplish. Before my thirties, I always thought I would get to them eventually. First it was: When I finish school I’ll buy a cookbook and learn how to cook better meals for the kids, when I find a stable job I will organize my calendar to make room for crafting, and, after the baby is sleeping through the night, I’ll have the energy to have an immaculate house.
At some point I realized, the reason I wasn’t accomplishing those things was not because I didn’t have the time, it was because I was lazy AF. Then I set about trying to solve how I could change that lazy trait in myself. I convinced myself if I mastered my own weak will, I could wake up early to water the plants, or fight through exhaustion so my sink would for once be void of dirty dishes (not just when company was coming over), or ignore the show on TV so I could get to that craft I started six months ago and never finished.
It always seemed it was my willpower that was to blame, and my wannabe productive brain drew battle lines down the center of my noggin, with my weak will on the other side. I would literally (inside my head) tell myself: Get it together, come on, you can find the strength! Wake up! No, seriously, wake up. Hey! You promised you would get up and empty the dishwasher today. The wannabe productive brain usually lost, and willpower didn’t even have to throw a punch. That’s because laziness is my normal, and productivity is something that must be coaxed out of its shell, like a turtle.
Now I’m in my thirties (a grown-ass-woman), I have officially acknowledged and come to terms with my innate laziness, which I like to blame for my failure to master these seemingly important goals. Once I had that ‘Ahah!’ moment, it was only a matter of embracing my laziness and making it work for me, and guess what? You can too!
Instead of lamenting your failures and being depressed that another day passed by without accomplishing that thing, whatever-it-is, figure out what you are really passionate about, and give your energy to that, the rest is just not that important and can be half-assed.
I started by brainstorming (brainstorming is awesome since you don’t have to leave the couch) ideas to make my laziness not so detrimental to my productivity. Here are a few tips and tricks I do to own my laziness, yet still have some of those accomplishments in my life, without wasting time on things I can’t or won’t do.
1. Set small goals. Whatever your goal is, you can’t accomplish it in one day. No one can. Start small. If learning to cook is your goal, start with boiling an egg. Don’t buy that fancy cookbook, buy Cooking for Dummies, and know you will fail. A lot. It does make you stronger, and practice really does make you better.
2. Buy a ton of bins. I mean a LOT of them. If a clean house is your goal (or at least the illusion of a clean house), without the work, this is key. When I was a kid there were far less options for storage than we have today. Now there are totes, bins, buckets, baskets, canvas bags, I could go on, and they are actually attractive. I have a LARGE bin in EVERY room of my house, and I do mean every room. That’s where I toss the clutter. People are amazed at how clean my house seems. I don’t mind telling them, “It’s bins! Bins are my secret.”
3. Invest in a George Foreman Grill. I am the worst cook ever. I mean it. I don’t know if it’s just laziness or ditziness, or head-in-the-clouds syndrome, but I have been known to burn ramen. George Foreman saved my life. And my husband’s. Some fresh fruit and veggies and a George foreman, and you can almost be well nourished. And that microwave though.
4. Clean smarter. For a long time I wasted time carrying cleaning supplies up and down the stairs, searching for the Glass Cleaner (which sink did I leave it under again?). If it wasn’t under the first sink I checked, and it usually wasn’t, my laziness would take over and I would give up on cleaning the mirror altogether. If you leave a bottle of cleaner and paper towels under every sink in the house though, that burst of energy when you suddenly feel like scrubbing the water spots won’t be wasted. Another idea would be to use a cleaning caddy, but that would mean you would have to put it away in the same place every time, and that might be asking too much.
5. Lose the plants. I’m a mother to two kids and two fur babies. I just don’t have any more energy left. If I don’t have plants, than I won’t beat myself up for forgetting to water them.
6. Make crafting a special occasion. Just like going to the movies or the lake, I make crafting ‘an event’. I don’t attempt to do this every day. I also make sure I have time for set up, craft, and cleanup, and what I mean by that is, I have the energy for all of that. I don’t want my laziness to kick in halfway through, and I abandon the project and leave it all over my countertops.
7. Stop forcing kids to do activities they don’t want to do. For years I was driving my daughter from one activity to the next, and I wasn’t even sure she wanted to do them. I was convinced it was my duty as her mother to make her ‘try’ everything, so she wouldn’t miss out on an experience. It was the time she begged me to stay home one day instead of attending an activity, that I realized not only was I wasting my time and energy, I was wasting hers. If she wants to do something, she’ll ask. She’s certainly vocal about going swimming every-single-day this summer. In the meantime, I have more energy for other things.
I’ll bet you can come up with some ideas to own your laziness! Share some with me! If you can find new ways to accomplish tasks, without leaving the couch, I’m all ears.
About the Author
Katie Rosa is a writer, book lover, former probation officer. Tamer of The Rose, toddler wrangler, and tolerated by an 8-year-old. Author of A Rowboat Out of Sand. Check her website for Katie’s books and blog: katiegodwinrosa.com