To the vast majority of people, laziness is not a desirable trait. While almost everyone has felt lazy at least once in their life, being habitually lazy will not bring about success over the long term. It’s one thing to feel overwhelmed and put a tedious or unimportant task off and quite another to procrastinate on a daily basis.
Is there such a thing as a lazy personality? As a matter of fact, you could say so. People who are perceived as lazy by those around them will have a very low score on neuroticism scales of most personality tests. These people rarely worry about anything. They never experience anxiety. They are almost always calm and collected. They have no sense of urgency. They are great friends, but terrible employees and coworkers. These traits are also collectively discernible, as in on the level of nations. Some nations are more anxiety-prone than others in general.
If you’re reading this, it’s safe to say laziness is not a personality trait of yours. You’re worried about being lazy and want to overcome it. If you were born with it, you wouldn’t perceive it as a problem. Your laziness is acquired rather than innate.
So an obvious follow-up question would be:
What are the Main Causes of Laziness?
The most common causes are exhaustion, fear of success or failure, lack of inspiration and motivation, feeling overwhelmed, or being in pain. There are fixes to all of these. If you are tired, you need to rest. It sounds obvious, but too many people don’t stop to give themselves down time.
Fear of success or failure is irrational. Spend a few minutes making a list to check why your fears are not rational.
Lack of motivation comes from a boring daily routine that you’ve followed for too long.
If you feel overwhelmed, make a list of your priorities and the steps needed to achieve each and every one. Try breaking these steps down into smaller tasks.
Whatever the cause may be, you’ll become more motivated if you are able to address it directly.
How Do I Stop Feeling Lazy?
When you feel lazy, you act lazy. The good news is that you can apply a few simple strategies to cope with this problem. If you’re wondering how to stop being lazy, here are some expert tips – 11 things you can do to become more productive.
1. Schedule Rather Than List
What if I told you the to-do list you meticulously prepared every day was useless? It’s only one of many steps you need to take to get actual work done. You need to schedule your tasks and assign them time. This allows you to do work when you’re at your most efficient. You can’t realistically expect to complete a task if it’s not on your calendar and given a specific time frame. Assigning time to tasks compels you to face the reality of how long something will take and how much time you really have. You’re most efficient this way because you can see the whole picture and use all your free time wisely. You not only work in the most optimal place, but also squeeze in more work. People who don’t think about how long something will take them have limited prospects of success.
You’re less likely to procrastinate if you assign work to a time frame. You’ve made the decision to work or not to work during this period. Studies have shown that quality of life increases when people schedule things to do even in their free time. It is one of those healthy habits that boost productivity and motivation. So out with that to-do list!
2. Mind Negative Self-Talk
Do you tend to “overindulge” in negative self-talk? To stay motivated, you need to be kind and supportive of yourself. Asking yourself “why am I so lazy” over and over again isn’t making you more productive. Telling yourself you’re lazy or you have no value will exacerbate the issue and make you more prone to depression and anxiety. Check to see if you can transform negative into positive self-talk. Be supportive of your own efforts and present yourself in a positive light. Being negative isn’t doing you any favors.
3. Plan Your Day Backwards
We don’t suggest starting in the middle of the night, of course. One of the best tips life coaches give is that work will fill the slot you provide. In other words, give it a month and it will take a month, and so on. If you’re wondering how to stop being lazy, know you need to set some boundaries. Set a deadline of 18:00 or 17:30 and then schedule your tasks backward accordingly. Being more efficient will come naturally. Set your perfect schedule, then plan your day backwards to ensure you adhere to it. Do away with unimportant tasks. Fill every hour with something meaningful. Play hard to get if you have to – it’s crucial in creating value and avoiding time-wasters. Your efforts to stay on schedule will force you to make a series of smart and useful spur-of-the-moment decisions. According to researchers, feeling in control of your tasks prevents negative thinking and stress and can even help you avoid burnout.
On a side note, you don’t really have to be in control. The perception of control over your schedule is what counts.
4. The Benefits of Being Mindful
Being mindful is a great way to avoid getting overwhelmed by everything that’s going on in your life. When you practice mindfulness, you spend less time procrastinating and are able to make a conscious choice as to whether to complete a task or stop working on it. Mindfulness helps us notice the excuses we make. We recognize them as being transient thoughts. We appreciate our present more. In this setting, practically everything becomes easier to achieve.
5. It’s Self-Discipline that Counts
Are you always making excuses? Sounds like self-discipline is not your forte. To build discipline, start with small habits that transform into more meaningful routines in your life, like getting up an hour earlier than usual on weekdays. It can be something as simple as that. These habits are a gold mine if you want to know how to stop being lazy.
The longer you put something off, the less doable you’ll perceive it as. Remember you need to take action once and then keep at it. Eventually, you’ll start making progress. Most professionals say their success took a lot of hard work. Having talent was not enough.
6. Plan Ahead (But Not Too Far Ahead)
It’s always good to plan ahead because short term thinking is the last thing the world needs more of. You’ll never make it by living only in the past or the present. Then again, thinking too far ahead isn’t recommended either. Life is what happens while we’re too busy making plans.
Again, start with small steps. One of our favorite expert tips: “Look at the big picture with your schedule and your time. Know exactly what you’re doing every hour. ” It sounds difficult, but it’s actually simpler than you think. How do you go about it? You need just an hour once a week. Pick your favorite day of the week. Let’s say it’s Wednesday, that tends to be a watershed moment for many, smack dab in the middle. You only have as far to go as you’ve been – 2 days. Make a plan for the week on that day. You can write a list and email it to yourself. Your inbox is a place you’ll be seeing it many times a day. Sooner or later, you’ll begin to enjoy this little habit. Plus, it will make you more productive and less – you guessed it – lazy.
Are you finding yourself overwhelmed by the mere thought? You’re wondering how it will be possible? Make an effort to follow the plan. Read the list over and over again if you must. It can be short – a maximum of ten things will suffice. Don’t forget to schedule your tasks as per our previous tips. This brings us to our next one:
7. Learn How to Ask for Help
Many people are taught they need to take responsibility and are afraid of asking for help. Others conceal their urge to shift a task or a responsibility to someone else behind a “request” for help. What you need is some middle ground. If you find you need to spend endless hours in front of the computer every day, asking for assistance with a given task might be a good idea. Too much stress isn’t healthy for anyone. Try not to appear incompetent, lazy, or like you’re complaining. Agree to help the person who helped you. Your workload won’t seem so unbearable once you get the help you need.
8. Be Good at What you Do
No need to spread yourself thin. If you’re trying to do too many things, if you agree with too many people, you’re not doing any one specific thing really well. How about changing things up? Do few things, but well. Many people make the mistake of saying “yes” to more than they need. You don’t need every single client you can get, just those who are reasonable and you work well with. You can’t make your boss happy 100% of the time. And if you do, how can you be sure he would appreciate it? Ask yourself what really matters in your life and make an effort to eliminate everything else.
Today, we are constantly being judged on what we do best, so it’s always better to do fewer things well. Say “no” to most things if you have to. You’re thinking, “How is that possible?” You need to realize not everything is offering you value.
Most Americans feel they are working more than ever before. It may be true, but they are working less efficiently. And we ask ourselves how to stop being lazy when we should be asking how to start being more efficient. It begins with creating more value in your life. The pursuit of happiness, after all, is one of the most important human rights.
In two words, do less. It will help, paradoxical as it may seem. You may feel like you have no time because you’re constantly being distracted by pesky little things that suck the energy out of you. Without them, it will be easier to make plans and fit your tasks into your schedule. Manage time wisely and it will pay off.
What if you find yourself with too much time on your hands, fill this time with something useful. We have a suggestion:
9. Be More Active
Get out more. Do more exercise. It will be too late to be active when we’re old and grey. A workout routine has so many benefits. It gives us more energy, boosts our metabolism, and helps us focus and lose weight. It’s particularly important if you have a typical 9-to-5 job. These jobs tend to make you feel stuck in the same routine day in, day out. It’s gotten to the point that people joke about taking your gym clothes to work being the new workout. Do some exercise before work to get yourself energized. You’ll find the energy lasting well into the afternoon. If you’re not a morning person, set up a brief 10-minute routine. It will still do wonders for you.
As always, it’s about forming a positive habit. Once you make exercise a priority, it will get easier and keep you from slipping back into laziness.
If you find the right workout for you, you’ll see your energy levels absolutely soar. The trick is choosing something that fits into your schedule. Try keeping a healthy (or healthier) diet as well. Pizza and chips won’t give you the power to stay active. It’s easy to stop caring and lapse into laziness with the wrong kind of energy.
10. Pat yourself on the back
To overcome laziness for good, give yourself little rewards from time to time. Everyone needs something to look forward to. This can stop laziness in its tracks because it is nothing but a defense mechanism for many. It replaces fear, anxiety, grief. Give yourself a much-needed time out, go for a walk, or meet up with an old friend you haven’t seen in a while. Dare to drink a second coffee or enjoy a cold beer. I’m not one to preach selfishness, but there are many ways to please the person you love the most!
Don’t reward yourself if you have not accomplished anything. Rewards are best enjoyed after you’ve reached a goal. As you work toward attaining your goal, keep the reward in mind. This will also help keep your motivation high. When you’ve done a certain amount of work, stop and reward yourself. You could insert some breaks between periods of focused work. You could start with 20 minutes of work and then take a 3-minute break. This will make the work seem more manageable because you’re getting through a little at a time. You’ll also feel motivated and energized for longer and perform better.
Building up from these humble beginnings, check to see if you can increase your working time to 30 minutes before you take a 10-minute break. You can try this on the job if your hours are flexible. Use an app on your phone if you don’t want to keep looking at the clock.
11. Embrace your Strengths
And your sense of style is among them! Judging someone based on appearance is definitely not something I advocate, but whether at home or in an office, dressing tastefully reflects your desire to succeed. You’ll become more confident if you look the part. Other people will treat you with more respect and perceive you as an authority. If you don’t dress well because you feel insecure, you’ll act the part and people will make judgments accordingly. Changing the way you dress will change the way you act.
All successes demand consistent, steady work and dedication. This will strain you mentally and physically. Your will to succeed must transform into the will to keep going and working when doing so is useful and necessary. Sometimes, it’s very hard, and there’s only one question in our minds:
How Do you Become Lazy?
You might say we’re back where we started, but I would disagree. Sometimes, the reasons for this type of behavior have to do with deeply ingrained faulty logic that we developed in a setting that was less than optimal for our development and growth. Here are a few examples of such logic.
“I’m always wrong”
Listening to your inner critic is one thing, but coping with a deafening critic is quite another. You might be bringing out your inner critic to try to motivate yourself. This inner voice emphasizes all of your flaws and inadequacies instead of any positive qualities that could help you make progress. Getting used to this critic won’t help you stop being lazy. There is great benefit to be found in discovering your strengths. None come to mind? Think about a challenge you overcame and consider what personal traits helped you get through that experience. Don’t be afraid to ask family or friends to identify some of your strengths for you. At least one person will come up with something.
“I have to be perfect”
This is a sign of self-defeating behavior. We are convinced we will fail, so we set unrealistically high expectations or goals that we know we won’t achieve. When we fail, this confirms our view that we are lazy or otherwise deficient. It’s always a mistake to set goals that are too lofty. Even when we genuinely want to reach the top, we tend to underestimate the time and effort it will take. Giving up too soon is a sign we miscalculated the amount of effort or time involved. How can we expect the road to every goal to be smooth? Would attaining the goal still be valuable if it were? In reality, it is often not even a road, it is a twisting, turning, thorny path full of setbacks.
“I’ll just wing it”
It’s easy to forget how important creating a plan is when we are inspired and excited about something. This energy can make us race with great passion, but turn into a feeling of aimlessness and a sense of being overwhelmed. It’s not that we’re lazy; we just didn’t have a good plan.
Overcoming Laziness is not a Dramatic Change
People become lazy for different reasons, but as you can see, there are ways to overcome it. Dramatic change is not needed. Start by choosing just one of our strategies and focus on that over the next couple of days. Set small and achievable goals. You may still want to get to the top, but breaking that lofty goal down into more manageable tasks will help you feel more motivated and accomplished to continue your ascent. As you look at the big picture, check to see if you remember the main steps required to get there. If you need to, put them down in writing and break them down into even shorter-term goals.
As you reflect on your aims and goals, be as realistic as you possibly can about the amount of time, effort, money, or other factors achieving them involves. Having an action plan as you go into the process will help you feel calmer and more confident and give you support when you face a setback or feel discouraged.
Don’t forget how critical it is to celebrate victories as you accomplish even the smallest of goals. This will help you keep moving forward and overcoming setbacks. Our self-talk becomes more positive as we take pride in our achievements. We experience increased mental strength and leave every accomplishment feeling better about ourselves. This is a surefire way to find lasting success.
Don’t give up when things get tough. Accept that some weeks or even months will be more challenging. To stay focused, remind yourself of your goals. Surround yourself with things that will remind you. Part of finding solutions or success involves recalling why this matters to you. It’s easy to get distracted or hit a block when you lose sight of your goal. Sometimes, going on can seem impossible. Doing regular reassessments of the value and significance of your long-term goal will help you sustain your focus.
We’ll end with a few words on Kaizen philosophy. This business concept has helped many sustain momentum both in their personal and professional lives. Kaizen is based on activities and actions that consistently improve a business from the ground up. It stresses the idea of never giving up and overcoming challenges because there is always room for improvement. In fact, not improving is tantamount to deteriorating. Always be on the lookout for improvement in every aspect of your life.