The Lazy Bastard
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The Lazy Bastard

I Hate Productivity Books

(chapter 2— The Lazy Bastard Book . Click here the whole book)

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes, 31 seconds

Productivity books suck.

Even this one.

I have a confession to make: I have read every single productivity book out there, and yes, the title of this chapter is 100% right: they all suck.

Usually, productivity books are designed to give you some type of cool biohacks, mental strategies supported by science and then often introduce a bit of star power like Oprah and Tony Robbins and a sprinkle of magic hippy motivation dust.

You then take the book, apply it for a few weeks, find some low-level success with it, rave about this latest productivity hack and while you are using it, you feel your dopamine levels increase.

Yahoo!

You rock!

You are now becoming a productive person! Congrats! (Quick! Go and post it on Instagram!)

But then, after a few days, like any long rave, the dopamine starts dropping, and you go back to your old habits.

Welcome to the productivity book hangover: when you realise you are still a lazy bastard, back to browsing on Amazon searching for a new productivity book.

Productivity books come in all forms, from deep to superficial.

From books that tell you to visualise what you want and pray to the universe to provide it, to the ones that make you believe that beating procrastination is just a matter of taking one single spiritual decision and BOOM! BOOM! BAM! Your messy life will be sorted thanks to the power of ACTION and the forces of the universe combined! (Avengers style)

Those books are great if you love a sugar rush.

They make you feel fabulous, you believe you will change thanks to their wise strategies, but then… well… then… nothing changes.

To illustrate an excellent example of this type of book, we have books like The 5-Second Rule by Mel Robbins. In this Amazon bestseller, the solution to any problem is a simple one:

DON’T LISTEN TO YOUR BRAIN JUST TAKE ACTION IN LESS THAN FIVE SECONDS OR LESS…

It’s called — you guessed it — the “The 5-Second Rule” and according to Robbins: if you have the instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within five seconds, or your brain will kill it.

So yes, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, do it! It’s the secret of one of the highest selling books in the self-improvement space.

Crazy huh?

Does it work?

Well, let’s think about it.

If beating procrastination was so dead easy as 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, do it… then why do we see more and more books about productivity popping up all of the time?

Do we really fix our problems with a 5-second rule?

Clearly not.

But we don’t care, because what we look for in these books is a sexy idea that can be oversimplified for us to fall in love with.

We generally follow the same pattern with these books.

We apply their strategies for a few weeks (even months) and while we “do the program”, we announce on social media how the 5-second rule, (or the whatever-new-technique), saved our life, and we are finally a new person.

A new person that can focus intensely, complete all of our tasks, and is more productive than ever.

But the reality is very different. The truth is, nothing changes.

We are still the same Lazy Bastards with a crazy Orange Monster ruling our everyday life.

Let’s face it.

If one book worked like a wonder drug, then all the other books would become obsolete.

Have you ever had the following conversation or heard anyone say…

I used to be a lazy bastard, but now I’m cured!

I read one secret book, and since then, I just go 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… And boom! I do everything I have to do in my life in five seconds or less, no more pending tasks, I just do it all, I don’t even know what procrastination or laziness means anymore.

Have you? No? Nor have I.

Productivity books are the new shiny toy for an empty society struggling to achieve their goals.

These books usually go in two directions: the idiotic simplistic approach, (aka: “5, 4, 3, 2, 1, do it”), and then there is the second category: the highly advanced book that you may need a PhD to understand, and 14 years of dedication and emotional support to implement it.

The first type of book (“5, 4, 3, 2, 1, do it” type) is usually a favourite on Instagram. It includes some superficial rules supported with stupid ass motivational quotes from famous optimists like Napoleon Hill or Zig Ziglar.

Quotes like:

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”

“Victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop fighting.”

“Action is the real measure of intelligence.”

Or the always overused:

“The sky is the limit.”

“You can’t ever really fail when you are learning.”

Or:

“What would do you if you knew you couldn’t fail.”

You can’t use a cliche like, “The sky is the limit!” as a strategy. These are just little sugar pills with zero substance, that make not an ounce of difference to our lives.

When we feel like crying in despair because our procrastination and laziness are taking over our life, positive quotes and hippie motivation techniques can’t help us.

But fear no more… We still have the second category of productivity books: the Over-Complex Neuro Books!

These books usually include so many Jedi mind techniques about how to beat procrastination that sooner than later you will end up being overwhelmed by the book itself. It’s easier to just give up and stop reading this type of book rather than commit to finishing it. Boring and over complicated, the book itself is the perfect reason to procrastinate in the first place.

The goal of these heavy, mind-numbingly boring, psychological neurobabble, productivity manuscripts is to give us so many strategies that eventually nobody really knows if they work or not, because nobody will apply all the techniques provided.

How the hell are we going to apply life-changing anti-procrastination strategies if we are too lazy to use them in the first place?

Yes. Let’s face it.

The world is flooded with books with so many strategies that nobody in their right mind will even confess public failure after applying them.

Nobody dares to admit that, after wasting hours and hours reading a bestselling book that teaches you how to stop being a lazy bastard, they are still in fact lazy bastards.

Don’t get me wrong, I like those books, there is nothing wrong with them, they can be fun, entertaining and sometimes there is some valid content (don’t forget I have read them all!)… But for me, productivity books need to be tools — and easy to use tools I can buy in Walmart without any drama or instruction manuals.

When I buy a book, I want to skim read it, apply the information, achieve a certain level of success and move on with my life.

Yes, my goal is easy measurable improvement, not to become a new member of the sect of Tim Ferris, a productivity Yoda, or join the cult of the 5-second rule…

I want a book that is like a toaster, and there is nothing more honest than a toaster.

A toaster toasts.

Period. Easy.

Put in the bread, and it gives me back the bread toasted.

A straightforward agreement, a pretty honest contract if you ask me.

I want my productivity book to be like an old fashioned, not super fancy toaster.

I read the book, apply one strategy and achieve real success… easy.

Is that too much to ask?

Call me crazy, but I want to make progress, and not feel that the book I just purchased is like a fancy Thermomix. The book doesn’t have to do it all, or fix it all, or cure me of all my procrastination illnesses, I just want plain toast.

That’s why I don’t have a Thermomix — because I don’t have the time to dive into the dark arts of using a highly advanced machine just to find out it doesn’t even toast bread at all.

The same applies to productivity books.

We need books written by humans for humans, and for humans that simply want toast, not hippie mantras or complex manuals.

Productivity provided simply and books written by struggling procrastinators and not by superheroes.

Because in case you are not aware, productivity books are usually written by super achievers.

Those super achievers seem to write their books in advanced Klingon language, and not in the ordinary everyday language used by us mere mortals.

We need books written for people like us, the lazy bastards, those that suffer from depression, diarrhea, sadness, stress, chaos and anxiety. Written with the understanding that we struggle daily in our attempts to be just a bit better.

Books written by mega achievers, work great if you are Meg Ryan, sexy millionaire, with five maids, meditating every morning in your house in Malibu before you go for walk on the beach with your golden retriever.

Yes, productivity is easy if you don’t have to work in a factory, if you are not a single parent, and you have time to enjoy your Chai Latte after doing one hour of meditation mixed with a bit of hippie Nepalese-save-the-whales gratitude ritual…

But for us, the real humans, the flawed ones, the ones that fart and curse all the time, the humans without maids, the humans with an insane level of stress, dishes to clean, washing to fold and bills to pay, those books are utterly useless.

We, the real humans, are lazy bastards, and we need stupid books to fix our stupid mindset and not books that tell us how to repair the space station’s parallel turbocompressor when we are just hoping to learn how to change a light bulb.

Sorry to be so pessimistic (I’m usually not), but the reality is that productivity books rarely try to help us; instead their goal is to change us… And a book that works to change people is usually going to have an uphill battle because humans don’t really change.

We adapt, but don’t change… And that’s the core reason for the colossal failure of productivity books, coaches, gurus and anti-procrastination courses: all those techniques fail to respect the existence of the Lazy Bastard inside us.

Instead of teaching us how to domesticate and tame the monster, the books attack the essence of who we are by pushing us to destroy the monster, without the awareness that we and the monster are technically one. You can’t kill your ego, you just have to learn to live with it.

Yes: murdering the lazy monster is now a new trend.

YOU HAVE TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE!

YOU HAVE TO WORK HARDER!

YOU HAVE TO FOCUS EVEN MORE!

Those are the new mottos of every entrepreneur, mega achiever, and Tony Robbins or Gary Vaynerchuk fan. Do more. Don’t be lazy. Silence the procrastination gene.

Our need to be super productive and proclaim to the world that we have beaten procrastination forever is so important, that the simple act of confessing that you are lazy or unproductive would be like admitting that you found the film Schindler’s List funny.

Completely unacceptable.

Not being productive is now one of the top cardinal sins for any high achieving person, and the more we talk about it, the more authors, coaches, and experts seem to think the solution to tackle the problem is to focus on the techniques vs. aiming to accept who we truly are.

That’s why we can spend hours and hours reading pages that try to help us to change our habits, and we still have our little Orange Monster controlling our life.

These techniques fail if we don’t focus first on who we are and understand the nature of our Lazy Bastard.

Instead of focusing on the next version of the perfect morning ritual, we need to understand the reasons we spent eight hours watching Netflix, or why we can so easily waste seemingly unlimited hours mindlessly consuming YouTube content…

Why do we start watching a TED talk about productivity — trying to be intellectual and whatnot — and somehow we end up watching the Top 10 bloopers of Julia Roberts movies, and the next thing we know it’s five hours later…

That’s why productivity books suck. While we struggle to find the “secret”, or the solution to our lack of focus, we continue to feel overwhelmed by the ‘next technique’, the next ‘system’, in the hope that this time these methods will work… But they don’t.

So what’s the next step, Gabriel?

Well, let’s start where the other books fail, shall we?

Let’s start by embracing productivity as a basic need, and also stop trying to murder the lazy monster inside us. Productivity is useful energy when it is pushing us forward but not if it is applying pressure and trying to make us become something we are not.

We need to try to be productive rockstars, but we can only achieve a rockstar status by truly embracing and accepting our humanity.

Yes, we can be productive ninjas while being lazy bastards.

And that’s why productivity books fail, and they will continue to fail until they embrace the importance of understanding our true nature.

In the words of Yoda (not really):

Why do we do the shit we do? And why is it actually okay that we do it?

Let’s discover together the exact nature of what makes us stay in bed when we should be up and wide awake and working hard…

Let’s try to understand the precise nature of that which stops us from finishing our thesis even if we are weeks behind the deadline…

The specific reasons that prevent us from going jogging in the morning and achieving our fitness goals.

The exact nature of that which stops us from publishing the next book or from finishing the project that is vital for us to complete.

Productivity books usually focus on the solution but not on our nature. They give us the ingredients and the recipe, but they don’t ask us questions about the kitchen we have available to cook those dishes…

So the goal in this quick and mediocre book is to learn to embrace our own ingredients, our own tools, our own reality, and once we know how truly lazy we are, our job is just to make tiny modifications to our behaviour to help us to achieve what we want to do in life.

Through this process we will try to tackle some lazy goals and once we achieve that, hopefully, we will find the momentum we need to control and appease the Orange Monster inside us…

So let’s set up the goals for the next chapters. These will help us to:

Rebuild our own definition of productivity;

Manage a way to be productive, that adapts to our life;

Find a way to customize a new productivity system that fits us and not Oprah Winfrey in her mansion in the Hamptons;

And stop feeling like shit every time we are not productive enough.

Sounds good?

Great, let’s get started… But before you keep reading, go on and procrastinate a bit more… You don’t deserve it just yet, but it is fun!

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A modern Guide for Productivity for the every day procrastinator

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Gabriel Machuret

Gabriel Machuret

SEO & ASO Consultant and Internet Marketing Expert — Founder of Startup founders http://www.startupfounders.com.au

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