Landing Inertia Makes You a Slob

by on June 24, 2010 | posted in Marketing


Productivity is so much about organization. Flowing from one thing to the next without running into an obstacle and fraying you off the path into disillusionment is SO vital to progressing forward and getting things done. For us, then, it is insanely important to keep things together, reduce clutter, and manage mess.

The older we get, and the more accomplished we wish to be, the more convoluted our days become. Nine to five work. Six to eight PM commute and gym. And until bedtime — all of our excess spent on personal projects. It wears on you – but in a good way. You come home and you’re absolutely spent, and you want nothing more than to revel in that fifteen minutes of lounge where you drop everything, eat dinner, and put your feet up.

You drive up the hill to your place and nothing else matters – only that radiating glow coming from your sofa. This feeling – and what it causes – is what I deem “landing inertia” – the pull of laziness that takes you in before impact, and sucks you into the sofa as you land.

Sofa King Lazy

For me, the three minutes of landing inertia right when I got to my apartment was responsible for 95% of its messiness. I’d throw down my backpack, remove my jacket and throw it whatever, and randomly splatter my personals (keys, wallet, etc) wherever landing seemed possible. If I had just got back from the gym, I’d likely have just eaten and would put my garbage somewhere sporadic around the apartment. And why? Because that sofa was awfully appealing – and because I had predetermined, a few minutes from the apartment, that an instant pounce onto the sofa was inevitable.

But it’s not. It shouldn’t be.

If we, as thoughtful, intelligent human beings, decide to delay the landing inertia by even five minutes, the impact can be substantial. What if you consciously decided to forgo laziness for even sixty seconds after making it through the door? More than the messiness you’d prevent, it’s more than likely that you’d forgo Lost on television or some stupid reality show on the TiVo, and move on to more worthwhile matters.

If you committed to five minutes, there’s a good chance one of those minutes will cause you to progress into something more productive, and you’ll have beaten the landing inertia. Your house will be cleaner, and you’ll be more efficient.

Landing Inertia in Nature

Beyond the applications within your home, landing inertia also occurs elsewhere. Some of the time, it’s positive. You experience positive landing inertia when you approach Las Vegas by car on a road trip, or fly in to France for the first time. You expect positivity right when you land, and it’s pretty much impossible that it won’t hit you as you do.

But negative landing inertia happens in other places, too. When at the gym or with a specific goal in mind, you will often times complete your workout, and then head home – even if the workout didn’t sufficiently exhaust you. Most of the time, having a specific workout in mind can push you further than you thought previously, but it can work both ways. By being aware of that landing inertia feeling that causes accomplishment even if there really is none – you can channel yourself to push beyond what some workout sheet expected you to.

Be wary, though. If you start pushing yourself harder in the gym, you’ll end up getting pulled more forcefully by the landing inertia at home. It’s an ebb and flow type thing – but don’t worry. Landing inertia isn’t gravity – you can stop it from pulling you to the couch.

Beating the Beast

Landing Inertia isn’t that hard to overcome, once you’re aware of it. Like most things, it really just needed a name, and an awareness of it’s occurrence. So next time you’re on your way back from a long day, tell yourself “I’m not almost home. That happens five minutes after I walk through the door.” If you can psychologically delay arrival, even by five minutes, your life will change for the better, you’ll be in better shape, and your messy house will thank you for it.

tagged as

  • Eric Pratum

    Nice post, Ross. To me, this is your best post of the last few weeks. The only thing that I think would make it better is a single action statement. I’m sure you could some up with something better, but something like, “Next time you switch activities, try launching right into what you plan to do rather than telling yourself ‘I just need a quick break.'”

    • Ross

      Thanks for the suggestion Eric, I agree. Added!

  • Mars Dorian

    Heya Ross,

    interesting finding about human behavior. I’m so guilty. As soon as I get home, I unload my backpack and take a quick “chill” on the sofa. Of course it isn’t quick. 90 mins vaporized like hot air.
    I believe it’s all about keeping your momentum. As soon as you come home, you tackle your next task. Wash the dishes, turn on your pc etc. thanx to you, I will do it deliberately next time.

    Muchas gracias !

    • Ross Hudgens


      I don’t believe that’s your real name. I’ll need to see a birth certificate. Just kidding – kinda!

      I agree with your thoughts, much of productivity is the first second of actually doing it – similarly, it can work for the bad side of things, too. If we stop ourselves from ever hitting the lazy stride, we’ll get much more done.

      I enjoy your blog, glad to see you stopped over here. Hope to connect with you further in the future!

  • Drew Rieder

    Ross, nice post! I think your thoughts about landing inertia relate to doing small things to make changes in your life. I agree that a small change in psychology can make your brain believe in a delayed landing which in turn can lead to a productivity burst. I also think this concept dovetails well w/ your post on how we use time (ie. wasting it and making everything happen in 5 minute increments etc.). There’s more time than we think in the cracks of our schedules to do good work.

    Good stuff, buddy. I hope all is well w/ you. Still plugging away and building my thing. Catch up soon….drew :-)

    • Ross Hudgens

      Yesyesyes! Glad to hear you’re seeing continued progress. Let me know if I can ever help with anything!

  • Jaclyn O’Brien

    Hey Ross,
    I read your blog after Lydia highlighted you in her own blog. I can say I really enjoy reading it. I like your style of writing and point of view. This has been my favorite posting so far, because I am also guilty of being Sofa King lazy. Reading about this subconscious act in terms of productivity really puts how much time I am wasting into perspective. Five minutes really does make a daily difference, especially when its the end of the week and its taking me almost an hour to clean and put my room and apartment back into order. I can honestly say that just being aware of the vicious cycle has help me put an end to it, not only with my room, but also after I finish cooking and want nothing more than to dig in, instead I do the dishes so I can relax longer after I eat. Anyway, I am fancying your blog and looking forward to more.

    • Ross Hudgens

      Jaclyn, thanks for the kind words. I am glad you had something to take away from this post. I am still trying to fight this consciously every time I come in the door – even when I’ve put a name on it, it’s tough. The couch can be very attractive. I hope you’re doing a good job with it/continue to do so!

Previous post:

Next post: