how to not be lazy
Without fail, dirty dishes, filled laundry baskets, and unfinished projects cluttered my apartment and my life. Take out dinners always seemed the best option. Besides, I could always go to the gym tomorrow-right? Where’s the motivation in that?
This used to be my life, and every day, I’d feel guilty and unproductive because of it. It’s all too easy to submit to the couch after a long day at work. But, ultimately, you get nothing out of it. That’s what I learned, and I vowed to change.
“ Laziness erodes a person of his enthusiasm and energy. As a result the person loses all opportunities and finally becomes dejected and frustrated. The worst thing is that he stops believing in himself” – Sam Veda
It’s time for me to learn how to stop being lazy. Maybe my findings can help you too.
Identify Your Laziness
Many different wordings are tackling the same adage, but I think Pete Seeger put it best: “The first step in solving a problem is admitting there is a problem to be solved.” I’ll go a step further and argue that identifying what exactly the problem is will help you solve it.
The question isn’t why am I so lazy. It’s what in particular is making me feel lazy?
Laziness exists in so many forms. So, if you want to change, it’s crucial to discover what is making you feel lazy and work to fix that problem. Does your body or mind feel overly tired? Are you intimidated by or afraid to start a particular task? Are you feeling uninspired by or inconvenienced by the task? Maybe you just feel like the task or goal seems pointless.
Chances are, if you’re feeling lazy, you’re probably avoiding something. Alternatively, maybe you’ve been working so hard for so long that you’ve reached the point of burnout. In some cases, laziness could also be a sign of depression.
Allow yourself time for self-reflection. The answer to what is causing your laziness is not typically the easiest to face. But, if you’re honest with yourself, the answer should present itself soon enough. From there, you’ll be able to make plans to solve your problem and therefore your laziness.
Now that you’ve identified the root of your laziness, you can get to work starting to solve the problem. For smaller tasks (such as taking out the trash or going grocery shopping), determining a goal time to complete the tasks by may be enough motivation.
However, if you’re trying to accomplish a more significant task (such as writing a book or research paper), you should break it up into smaller, more attainable goals. Often, our intimidation to start projects can make us ‘lazy’ and convince us to set the projects aside. By breaking them down into smaller, specific goals, the more significant task will seem more manageable.
Visualization is one of the best plans for success. Our minds are far too busy to remember every goal we make. Instead, write down your goals and display them in a place that you will notice them often. I prefer writing my goals in my planner as I check it every day.
For others, sticky notes are great because you can stick them anywhere—a bathroom mirror, calendar, refrigerator door, desk, etc. It may also work to keep your goals in the notes app on your cell phone or write them down somewhere. Just make sure that you actually open the app and look at your goals from time to time.
Be Held Accountable
This is the part where the notorious ‘laziness’ usually kicks in. While setting goals is an essential step, it’ll mean nothing if you don’t actually carry them out. Having something or someone to hold you accountable will help you tackle that laziness and procrastination head-on.
Perhaps your goal is to improve your health through exercise. Some of your smaller goals may be to plank for a minute a day and to go to the gym three times a week. It can be easy to brush off going to the gym if you have nothing else to motivate you, so find something that will. Many gyms allow you to register and pay for workout classes in advance. You may find that once you’ve booked a class and your dollars are on the line, you’ll think twice about forgoing that workout.
For many, housework contains a series of dreaded chores that brings out the laziness. Fear not, because there are many apps on the market that can gently (or more aggressively) remind you until you complete the task. If you don’t want to rely on technology, you could also ask a friend or family member to become your accountability partner. A couple of reminder texts from them may be all you need to inspire you.
Rethink Your Social Media Use
Often, social media is synonymous with procrastination. Instead of completing whatever tasks we need to, we take to scrolling through social media. A half an hour later, we’re nowhere closer to achieving our goals and probably no more inspired to work on our goals.
One solution is to turn your phone, tablet, or other social media connected device onto airplane mode or completely off when you need to get things done. But, did you know you could actually use social media to inspire you as well?
If you’re anything like me, your social media feeds are probably filled up with the irrelevant posts of high school and college acquaintances. Why not follow some people who actually interest and inspire you? What’s so great about the internet is that you can find and connect with people in almost every niche imaginable. If you want to redecorate your bedroom, you can undoubtedly find a wealth of ideas on Pinterest. Do you want to become a photographer? Follow some photographers on Instagram for photo inspiration and an insight into their lives.
Social media is so powerful because you can essentially curate it any way you like, for better or for worse. If your social media experience reflects your goals, you may feel more inspired to carry them out.
Schedule Out Your ‘Lazy Time’
One reason you may feel lazy is because you are actually working yourself to the point of burnout. While productivity is great, it’s unrealistic to think that you can force yourself to be productive 24/7. If you’re consistently working long hours and pushing relaxation to the side, your body and mind may force you into a slump to make up for it. Life is all about balance, and it’s vital that your work hard, rest hard spectrum is well-aligned.
It may seem counterintuitive, but an essential way to combat laziness is actually to include it in your daily life. When you consistently allow yourself set chunks of relaxation time, you won’t feel as tired, unmotivated, or lazy when it’s actually time to get some work done. Besides, you’ll also have lazy time to reward yourself with after you’ve got what you needed to do done.
Ask yourself what time range you feel most productive and what time range you feel least productive. For example, I tend to feel the most awake and motivated between 11am and 4 pm. Therefore, I plan to complete my most labor-intensive tasks during that time frame and schedule some short breaks (such as lunch or a pick-me-up tea break) in between for balance. I rarely feel motivated between 8pm and bedtime, so I allow myself to be ‘lazy’ during that time frame.
Isn’t it convenient that my lazy time coincides with primetime TV? (Translation: Don’t feel guilty about aligning your free time with the leisurely activities you love.)
Treat Your Body Right
If you’ve been neglecting your body and mind, how can you expect to be on your A-game? Your laziness and sluggishness could actually be due to your health. So take a little time to reflect on your lifestyle. Are you getting enough sleep? Have you been getting overly stressed? What’s on your plate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
Feeling sleepy all the time will not make you feel like being productive. Sleep is essential to rejuvenate your body. Likewise, incorporating a little exercise into your daily routine will help get your endorphins and energy up. Did you know that certain foods can even make you feel sleepier?
The buzz-word of the past couple of years has been self-care. This is finally a trend that you can and should get behind. Self-care means taking the time to really assess and care for your body and mind’s needs. When you genuinely and consistently take care of the basics for your mind and body, you’ll have more energy and motivation to deal with taking on other tasks.
I’ve typed how to not be lazy multiple times into search engines this summer, but I think I’ve finally figured it out. Combatting your laziness is as simple as setting goals and carrying them out. With a little self-reflection, willpower, and support from your social circles, you can pull yourself out of a lazy rut in no time.