I’ve written about dealing with our Inner Critic before, and how to peacefully and constructively co-exist with this sometimes harsh and demanding part of ourselves.
The highlights of that article? You’re awesome as you are, but if you want you can use your Inner Critic as inspiration. If you can be mindful and unafraid about what you’re thinking, your Inner Critic is fine. Your Inner Critic can even become an Inner Coach with some coaxing.
The Inner Critic can be a major reason for self sabotage, but there is an another one just as annoying. Just lazier.
…The Inner Slacker.
The part of you that wants to lie on the couch and not do anything. This is the part of you that procrastinates for days on end. The part of you that finds not doing anything more pleasurable than working, writing, exercising, or doing anything else productive or social. It’s that part of you that is now not doing what you had already put off doing yesterday.
Your Inner Slacker. The instant-gratification, lazy, passive, non-goal oriented part of ourselves, of any human.
(Mine is a 38-year old dude who lives with his mom and stepdad…What? I like creating characters.)
Just like your Inner Critic has value for us as human beings, so does our Inner Slacker. He wants you to enjoy yourself and unwind. He doesn’t mean to make you a sloth of a person, truly.
But if we want to get anywhere in life we gotta learn how to effectively shut the fucker up. For extended periods of time. So we can get shit done.
Here’s some tips on how to do that, and how to deal with your inner slacker.
1. LEARN TO IGNORE THIS PART OF YOU. One of the best things you can do for yourself, is ignore this dude in like, 80% of all cases. I mean, my Inner Slacker lives in his imaginary parents’ imaginary basement. He even procrastinates on renewing his subscription on Netflix. Not someone I want to be like. The less power this dude has over my behavior the better.
The Inner Slacker does not get anything done, and if you listen to him too much neither will you. Which is a shame. Because you can probably do TONS of things. Good, productive and fun things.
So. Put away the Inner Slacker. You need to park your Inner Slacker and his dumbass opinions somewhere in the back of your brain. He can only come out and get his way at assigned times.
Whenever you catch yourself leaning into the ideas and behaviors of your Inner Slacker, lean out of it. Go do something.
(A tip I like to give and have given before: Physically move. Doesn’t have to be a work-out, can also just be moving to a different room, walking up a flight of stairs, getting tea, folding and putting away laundry.
Physical movements gets you active mentally too, and that makes the Inner Slacker trudge back into his corner.)
2. BUT GIVE THE INNER SLACKER WHAT IT NEEDS AT THE RIGHT TIME. The Inner Slacker is born from our desire to enjoy ourselves and have fun, paired with the procrastinator’s ‘other things can wait’-attitude.
What YOU have to do, is to get rid off the procrastinator’s attitude as much as possible AND give yourself the proper R&R you need.
You have to build in time into your schedule to turn off your brain and your ambitions and truly enjoy yourself and get the entertainment and pleasure that you need. High quality preferably.
Let your inner slacker out on nights after a productive’s day work, on mornings after making a deadline, on days with only a few items on your to-do list, on lazy Sunday mornings when it’s raining outside, you’ve already worked out and there is nothing pressing going on in your life.
Use your brain, pick the right moments. It’s not quantum physics. You can use common sense.
3. MAKE HIM BATTLE TO THE DEATH WITH YOUR INNER OVERACHIEVER.
If I am really in its grip and I can’t get anything done for some reason, I like to parade out my Inner Overachiever and let he have a go at my Inner Slacker. Into the arena, you two. My Inner Overachiever has a briefcase and a cup of coffee, she’s busy, and she is a TOTAL BITCH.
I love her.
I imagine her ripping my Inner Slacker a new one, rolling her eyes and walking out to attend to business. And because I identify more with her than I do with my Inner Slacker, I get back to work.
4. REVIEW YOUR GOALS. A slightly less insane version of number three is reminding yourself of your ambitions and your goals.
Every time your Inner Slacker rears its head, mentally review your goals and why you want to reach them. As I wrote for Girls Love 2 Run: “what kind of person do you want to be?”
Do you want to be the person who stays on the couch* feeling ugh about yourself while the laundry piles up and the deadlines are stalking you slowly but steadily, turning you into terrified paralyzed prey?
Or do you want to get up and do things? What will be more fun in the long term? Exactly. The little surge of energy you need to push the Inner Slacker away and do shit about your life and your goals is totally worth giving. Plus, creates momentum. Once in motion, it’s way easy to keep going.
5. WHEN WORKING, BUTTER HIM UP WITH STUFF. The main reason our Inner Slacker has a pull on us, is that we want pleasure. Easy pleasure. Pleasure requiring little effort on our part yet stimulating and entertaining to our brain.
And in today’s day and age, the average person finds that in food, the Internet. Or anything that is slightly more fun and less useful than whatever we need to be doing in that moment.
A very easy way to appease to your Inner Slacker is to add some enjoyable elements to whatever the work you need to do. Can shut him right up.
Good music distracts your Inner Slacker with something (yay sounds). So does a good cup of tea or coffee a short breaks in between (yay taste and caffeinated productivity). So do short breaks in between and pretending your a secret agent or CEO or archeology professor with a kickass hat and a whip. You have a brain and it can imagine shit to aid you in whatever. Use that.
Oh, and, it’s Humpday:
Except not really because FUCK our Inner Slackers, right guys?!
*Author’s note: Nothing wrong with this in itself, okay? You’re not worse for not running around and chasing things. If you’re very content with how everything is going and you don’t feel bad or lazy about it, couch patato away. I might join you if you put on a good TV show. I’m just saying that if it impairs you or your success that you might want, then you need to get off it.