A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things. – Poor Richard
Leisure is the ability to do something, anything you want, without worrying about how to pay for it. Leisure could mean an afternoon on the golf course, a morning with your head in a book, or an evening out on the town. Leisure is planned. More importantly, leisure is earned. If you want to have leisure, you have to work hard in the non-leisure hours in order to pay for it.
Laziness is not leisure, but is often confused with it. Laziness is when you can’t think of anything you want to do, or should do, so you sit and do nothing. Watching TV is almost always lazy. Golf and reading can be lazy, if you’re putting off important things to do it.
If you want leisure, you have to shun laziness. Never allow it to raise its ugly head in your life. I’ve found a couple good methods for slaying the lazy monster. You can use these methods no matter your stage in life. Whether unemployed, employed, self-employed, or retired.
Know what you want
This is the single most import thing to do if you want to be productive and earn your leisure. If you don’t know what you want, how will you go about getting it? A surprising number of people don’t know what they want and let life slip through their fingers. Make a list of twenty times in your life when you were the happiest. These could be any times, going as far back as you can remember. Now do some brainstorming. How could you re-create those happy times while doing something to make money? Make a long list, keep it flowing.
Once you have a list of things to do, you can break this list down into ever smaller and smaller items. Then you can set reasonable goals for completing those items. If you wanted to run a marathon, you could set one day, one week, one month, and one year goals in the areas of diet, fitness, and distance. If you wanted to start a new business, you could set goals for these same time periods in the areas of product knowledge, personal activity, and business productivity.
With these deadlines in place, it will be easy to know if you are on track or not. Did you hit the goal you set for yourself today? If not, how can you make sure you hit it tomorrow? If yes, then it’s time for a little reward.
In the end, a life of leisure will be your reward. In the meantime, though, it’s OK to reward yourself at smaller intervals. Every time you hit one of your milestones, make a big deal out of it. Ice cream is a favorite reward of mine. I’ll reward myself with ice cream for the smallest accomplishments. It makes those accomplishments so much sweeter. For bigger accomplishments, you might go golfing, or take a vacation, or buy that something special you’ve had your eye on. Just be sure you don’t take the reward until you meet the milestone!
This article originally appeared in the September 10, 2008, edition of the Greenhorn Valley View.