What To Do When You Don’t Want To Do Anything

I really don’t feel like writing a blog post today.

The truth is – I haven’t felt like writing a blog post for the last year. But somehow I’ve managed to put out at least 3-4 posts a month (sometimes a lot more) for the last two years.

How? Because even though I don’t want to do it – I do it anyway.

Why? Because writing here is important to me.

Here are a few reasons I write for the blog, even when I don’t want to.

  • Mental. Writing my thoughts out here helps me get my ideas out of my mind and into the Universe. When I write out an idea – it’s done. My brain can be done with it now. And that’s important to me because I have an over-active mind that never shuts up. Writing things down puts it to sleep for a while.
  • Skill Sharpening. When I write out a concept or idea for affiliate marketing, or any other skill that I’ve acquired over the years, it helps me tighten up my own game. Before I can share it with you, I have to write it down and map it out for myself. Not only does it help you – but it helps me sharpen my own skills and create blueprints of my ideas that I can go back and read again in the future if needed.
  • Financial. The blog makes money – and I like money. Every time I write a blog post I get more readers and email subscribers. Every time I get new subscribers I make more money through referral links and coaching. In the future I’ll probably have other ways to make money here too. So that is also a motivator. I write when I don’t want to because I know that in the future, if I keep writing and keep helping people – this blog could end up making a lot of money. So on days I don’t want to write, I write for “Future Me” who will undoubtedly earn dividends on the work I’m putting in now.

Okay, enough about writing for the blog. Now I’m going to let you in on another little secret. You know what else I don’t want to do?

Everything.

I don’t really want to do much of anything. Seriously. I’m naturally a pretty lazy and unmotivated guy. Don’t believe me? Here are a few things that I don’t want to do.

  • Go outside
  • Drive my car
  • Stop drinking
  • Take a shower
  • Go the gym
  • Meditate
  • Sleep
  • Track calories
  • Go home for holidays
  • Pick up the phone
  • Answer emails
  • Go to the doctor
  • Buy groceries
  • Cut my nails
  • Brush my teeth

I could go on and on, but for the sake of this post, I’ll stop there. Because I think you can see where I’m going with this.

idontwantto

The point is – Deep down, I don’t really want to do much of anything. But I do it anyway because I know for a fact, based on years of trial and error that most of the things on my “Don’t Want To Do List” are things that I must do – just to stay alive, healthy, smelling good and out of trouble.

Some of our “I Don’t Want Tos” are big and some are small. But they’re all important.

Big: I don’t WANT to be sober. Drinking is one of the greatest things I ever found in life. I LOVE drinking. But when I drink… bad things happen. I blackout, fall on my face, sleep in the streets and wake up in jail. When I finally decided to stop drinking for good, my life exploded with positivity.

Small: I don’t WANT to go outside. There’s nothing that drives me crazier than the general public. And some days just walking down the street and listening to general conversation drives me crazy. But I know that the answers to my life’s problems are not inside my apartment… they are out there – so I make myself get out there and find them.

Summary: I do the things I don’t want to anyway, and things get better.

What About You?

I’ve just let you in on a little secret. Most of the time, I don’t feel like doing anything.

So, what about you?

How often do you listen to the “I Don’t Want To” voice in your head and how does that ‘listening’ affecting your life?

My guess would be that if you’re giving in to the “I Don’t Want To” voice on a regular basis – your life probably isn’t exploding at the seams with success. It might look more like a black hole of lost years and regrets for not doing as much as you know you could have done.

That sucks.

The good news is that you can turn it around in a split-second.

In fact, you can do it right now.

  1. Grab a pen and paper or Evernote or something.
  2. Write down 5–10 things you don’t want to do. (be honest)
  3. Do one of them anyway.
  4. When you get that one done, do the next thing.

Your checklist might look something like this:

  • I don’t want to exercise today
  • I don’t want to write a blog post
  • I don’t want to deal with the world.
  • I don’t want to go to work.
  • I don’t want to go home for Christmas.

Then your to do list would be something like:

  • Go for a walk / to the gym / do some pushups
  • Write a blog post about not wanting to write a blog post
  • Spend 2 hours out of the house with someone you love
  • Go to work
  • Book your flight home for the holidays

See what happened there?

Your “I Don’t Want To” list just turned into your “To Do” List.

What’s Your Why?

I’ve found it helpful to write out the reasons why doing the things I don’t want to do is important to me (see the list of blog writing reasons above for an example) and I recommend you do the same.

Question: Why is ____________ important to you? How will it benefit you?

Answer: It is important because _______________ (fill in the blank)

Give yourself a good enough “Why” and your brain will come with the “How”.

And that my friend, is one of the most powerful tools I have in my arsenal.

Without it – I would not have written this blog post. I would not be in shape. I would not be sober. I would not be the person that I am today.

I would just be another guy sitting on the couch, watching TV and arguing about politics and football with the rest of them.

Wasting this magical life.

  • Raviraj

    Malan, how did you hear my mind? Awesome post, it helps. Let me try this.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      i think a lot of us are thinking the same thing my friend…

  • Alexis Avellan

    Great post Malan!

    I’m currently having some success with affiliate marketing but would like to dedicate more time to do it. I work as an SEO specialist at an agency but it sucks because the pay isn’t great and things aren’t being properly done. I figure that if I got my own clients, I can quit my job and get paid equal if not more than what I’m currently making – I’ll have more time without needing to commute to focus on affiliate marketing full time.

    What’s stopping me from getting my own clients? A website. It’s a huge “I DO NOT WANT TO DO IT” on my list. But I am going to get it done because if I manage to land clients and quit my job, my later self will thank me.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      yeah man, build it. you should be able to setup a dead simple WP portfolio type of site in about an hour.

  • Brandon Whited

    I was feeling truly unmotivated today. But after reading this I feel better. Lots of ups and down especially since today marks 1-month into Affiliate marketing for me. Still have yet to make my first 1$, but I will change that soon.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      Brandon – after my first month in aff marketing I had lost $3000. So – don’t get too frustrated and quit, the first month (or 2 or 3 or 12) sucks for everyone, trick is to learn from each mistake and keep going.

      • Mitesh

        Are there people who do this for 12 months and still fail.

  • Petri Jarvinen

    Epic!

  • Rory Coyle

    Wow. Fantastic post Malan! It’s getting printed out and taped to the wall.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      pics or it didn’t happen

      • Rory Coyle

        This one’s gold!

        • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

          Holy… that’s awesome man.

  • Trevor Rose

    Malan,

    I really don’t want to write this comment but… well… I guess I will anyway. I really don’t want to write 5 things down because then I’ll have to do them. But I will anyway.

    Great post! Keep it up.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      haha nice

  • Bret Royster

    Holy crap… This post spoke to my soul.

    I used to be so on fire to learn and implement and something just happened recently and I don’t want to do ANYTHING right now. Its honestly terrible.

    I guess, I have to learn to ‘love’ doing what I “Don’t want to Do”?

    There’s some peace and challenge in that thought. That’s an interesting way to prioritize… And I guess it removes the need to be in the “mood” etc. I can see it being useful.

    I’ll take this advice to heart, Malan.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      you don’t have to Love it, you just have to do it 😉

      • Bret Royster

        haha, right on

  • Anneke

    I have a question: when you create your to do list, do you then set a specific time to complete it (like I will write a blog post at 9am) or just vow to complete it sometime within the next day? I’m going to university next year and have had difficulties with putting things off and listening to the ‘but I don’t want to’ in my head, so I’ve been experimenting with timetables, scheduling, and to do lists. I was just wondering what method you find works best for you 🙂

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      set times? sometimes. Mainly I do most of my work during my most productive hours (7am – 11am). If I don’t get it done, I put it on the list for the next day (if it’s important)

      • Anneke

        Thanks! I think I’ll give that a go 🙂 I should try to figure out my most productive hours too, and work around that

  • ✠BOLO

    Good 1, its also nice to know its not just me when it comes to the general public and low tolerance…that part amused me.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      gen public is definitely annoying

  • Love Raj Singh

    Nice post malan. Gonna get this printed 🙂

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      thanks

  • FreedomFighter

    Amazing

  • Mitesh

    I don’t want to do affiliate marketing. It’s too hard. Spent 15usd and made 1usd back. I don’t want to finish my Kindle book. Feeling unmotivated as my campaigns are dying not profitable.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      get on it

  • Tony Lim

    Malan,

    I want to start an internet business based on the affiliate marketing model after stopping for 12 months. I’m being stopped by the phobia of losing money (again) due to my bad experiences. Have you had similar experience and what would you advise me to do?

  • Chris W

    Hi Malan, thanks for the great post again. Not sure if anyone has asked , does doing the first thing u don’t want to do increase the likelihood of you doing the next thing on the list ? And any behavioral theory behind it? Thank you ????

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      lol just do the first thing you don’t wanna do and then see what happens. enough with the theory already.

  • Gene Morris

    Great post Malan, I had to jump off my tiny iPhone and on to the desktop after reading this…

    “Drinking is one of the greatest things I ever found in life. I LOVE drinking. But when I drink…”

    YOU COULDN’T HAVE SAID IT ANY BETTER!!…I had to give it up two years ago because I had too much fun…You’re absolutely spot on regarding quality of life once you’ve give up the daily poisoning…If anyone is looking to quit I recommend downloading the audio book “The easy way to control drinking” by Allen Carr and take a nice long road trip..

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      yeah, best thing i ever did

  • Joe

    Really good post. I like the fact that a lot of people use their brain to justify why you don’t want to do it. The key is tricking yourself to do it

  • Richard

    Hey Malan do you have a ritual you follow every day and is there anything you take to give you a boost, besides caffeine? I ask because you mentioned about reading daily rituals and you also seem to be a fan of Tim Ferris whose into the bio hacking thing.

  • vanillasteve

    The part about “general conversation” almost knocked me on by butt. Damn I feel you. The stuff I overhear sounds so trite and meaningless…”so my mom was thinking tilapia, but Julia likes wild caught fish….” Ugh.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      i know, that’s why i wear earbuds everywhere I go.

  • PointlessEndeavours

    I’m never able to trick myself and I’m in my forties now. I have to be on disability because I am unable to do the things I don’t want to do. It is called depression and also I get suicidal too. I know people love to bitch and say that people who are on disability are just lazy, I say people who say that are full of shit. I think if I had a blog that brought in money that would be motivation for me to do blogging but if it doesn’t make money right away I won’t even be bothered with it. I don’t want to do anything period. There is no tricking myself or telling myself some bullshit to motivate myself. I don’t want to do anything. At times I do want to die.