A thing I read

You’re Not Lazy, Bored, or Unmotivated

“Just Do It” is the best advice because it’s the only advice that works.

When I started writing, I gave lots of specific tips in my articles: how to set goals, have a morning routine, be productive. But specifics are full of hindsight bias. I’m only giving you the final 10% that worked, and that worked for me in particular. The messy 90% of the journey that led me there? I left that out completely.

I struggle a lot with motivation and feeling disconnected from my work and goals. Up until recently I spent a lot of time reading articles about “productivity hacks” and defeating procrastination.

Eventually it occurred to me that most advice is garbage. Everyone lives in different circumstances and definitive instructions for your work schedule or morning routine make no sense. The only way to succeed is to try a bunch of tactics for yourself and mix and match until something feels right.

I keep my phone next to my bed and check Instagram every morning, first thing when I wake up. In the world of morning routine advice, this is a cardinal sin. But it works for me.

Since puberty, waking up has been a unique form of torture. I’ve snoozed and slept through countless alarms. I’ve even tried putting my alarm across the room, only to discover that I can turn it off, get back in bed, and easily fall asleep again. My preferred wake up style is lying in bed for at least 10 minutes, getting myself accustomed to the idea of consciousness before I’m ready to throw off the covers and rise from my pillow nest. The trouble is actually staying awake for those 10 minutes, which is where Instagram comes in. It’s readily available and mindless enough that I don’t really need to be awake to scroll, but it’s just engaging enough that it won’t put me back to sleep.

Waking up has become much easier since starting my morning Instagram routine. But it’s clearly not for everyone. I’ve got solid enough boundaries that I don’t check anything else while in bed—no work email or news. And I’ve made sure to curate my feed so that I’m only seeing stuff I actually like and that makes me feel good (here are a few that bring me the most joy: cute foxes, bird comics, happiness + food).

For a while I felt bad about my morning Insta habit, because EVERYONE was talking about how bad it was to look at your phone upon waking up. But now I’m comfortable with the obvious realization that (duh) everyone is different, and I just need to do what works for me (after going through a lot of trial and error to figure that out) and forget the other advice.

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