Have you ever had a mountain of work to do, but you just couldn’t get off your bed?
Have you ever wanted to try something new but just kept putting it off until you forgot all about it?
Well, you are not alone.
Laziness is a bug that bites everyone from time to time.
But, there are some “special cases” that are troubled by this bug almost constantly. Trust me, I was one of these special cases once upon a time.
The thing is, though, and I am sure you already know this, laziness is a hindrance to your goals and dreams.
Don’t you ever wonder what your life would have been like if you had only given your dreams a shot?
Don’t you ever wonder how great your life could be if you were super-productive?
Well, I say, stop wondering and start doing.
To help you do that, let me list the major causes of laziness and also their solutions.
1) “Maybe I won’t be able to do it well”
Self-efficacy is basically your belief that if you do something, you will be able to do it well.
This belief is usually stronger for things you are talented in. I mean, you don’t need to be convinced that you can sing well if you already know that you have that talent.
However, for everything else, you may have numerous small doubts that combine to have a huge impact on you.
The result is that you can’t make yourself do the task at hand.
For instance, if you want to cook for your loved one, you might doubt that you’ll be able to make sense of the recipe. Or you might doubt whether or not your loved one will like the food or appreciate your efforts.
Individually, these doubts don’t have that much of an effect. But combine them, and you have a recipe for laziness.
So, what can you do about it?
Well, you could use an age-old productivity hack to deal with your doubts.
Break your larger goal into smaller, actionable steps.
So, if you want to cook for your loved one, just go out and get all the ingredients first. Then, search for an easy and tasty recipe online. If you can, find a video for it. Then, go to the kitchen and start making preparations.
With each smaller step ( that looks less intimidating), you’ll gain confidence, and it will lead to the achievement of your larger goal.
2) “Why bother, no one cares”
This is something that most people won’t admit to, but I am sure it happens nonetheless.
And it is completely natural!
You might need constant emotional support (even if it is just little cheers or words of encouragement) from the ones you love.
As children, you used to hear “great job kiddo” or “well done Chris (or whatever your name is)” all the time. Growing up, however, these became rare. But your need for them didn’t go away.
So, not having that emotional support can be a contributing factor to your laziness.
Your brain just doesn’t anticipate a pat on the back from your friends or family members and, so, it is not motivating enough to do a particular thing.
But you know what?
This can be changed.
The next time you want to motivate yourself to do something, share your to-do list with a family member or a friend, and tell them that you intend to do all those things.
And then, when you complete the to-do list, tell them that you were able to complete every item on the list.
Their support will certainly help you overcome your laziness. You can also ask them to hold you accountable in case you don’t finish your tasks.
This, too, works just as well!
3) “I ain’t doing something if there are no rewards”
Your brain simply loves being rewarded.
It is like a child in that sense. You give it what it likes, and it becomes happy and motivated.
That is why most of the things we do are in anticipation of one reward or the other.
However, when there are tasks where you don’t potentially anticipate a reward, you will be much less motivated to do it.
In fact, your laziness will take over and stop you from doing it altogether.
As a wise man once said, “The solution is often in the problem itself.”
so what to do?
If there are no rewards for a particular activity, create some!
This is yet another productivity hack that a lot of people use. I typically bribe myself with some tasty treats if I’m able to complete my to-do list for the day. That keeps my brain motivated to do everything as efficiently as possible.
And at the end of it all, it gets some tasty delights! Who knew fighting laziness can be this much fun!
4) “I want to… but I can’t”
This is pretty much self-explanatory.
If you don’t have the discipline to do what is needed, it is highly likely that you won’t do it.
The world is already full of so many distractions and on top of that, if you lack self-discipline, it will put your laziness into overdrive!
Trust me, I have spent hours upon hours binge-watching a tv show even though I had work to do.
Also, if you lack self-discipline, you are likely to lack self-esteem as well. The latter can make you feel like you just can’t do a task at hand.
This is different from self-efficacy where you had doubts about whether you can do something well or not.
So, it is a good idea to take steps to improve your self-esteem and discipline at the same time. However, there isn’t an easy or quick way to do so.
So, consider this a long-term project : a necessary project to weed out two of the major causes of laziness.
- You could start by writing down all your positive qualities and reading them out loud once in a while. You could write down all your past achievements (no matter how small), and keep revisiting this list from time to time. This should improve your self-esteem.
- In order to improve your self-discipline, remove as many temptations from your surroundings as possible. You can even use rewards as I mentioned in point number 3, to slowly create a more disciplined mind. Also, you have to learn how to be motivated about the things in life (which this article will surely help towards).
5) “It’s so boring!”
This is perhaps the biggest reason why you feel lazy and procrastinate certain tasks.
You just don’t have any interest in them!
And there is nothing wrong with that.
You are a human being, after all, and there will always be certain things you don’t like and have no interest in pursuing. So, first, stop blaming yourself for this, if you had been!
Now, let’s be a bit pragmatic.
I am sure you have a lot of tasks at work that you find boring. If you don’t want to change jobs, you will probably have to keep doing them. I know, life just isn’t fair sometimes, right?
But when it comes to your personal projects, you have more power. If you have been doing something that doesn’t interest you anymore, you can get rid of it.
Or you could wait and see if you can get interested in it again and do something else in the meantime.
6) “No way this will be worth it”
It seems like doing a cost-benefit analysis for literally everything is hardwired into our brains.
No matter what you are planning to do (or told to do), your mind starts considering the effort it will take to do it and the benefits or satisfaction you’ll derive from it.
I think this trait of ours came to be as a result of our evolution.
Any action that enhanced our chances of survival or made our lives better in some way, was seen as worth the effort.
Today, we might be applying the same logic for the smallest of tasks.
Let’s say a friend of yours suggests going to a new restaurant that is far away from your home. You might feel like that won’t be worth the effort since the food may end up being below par. And so, you won’t be motivated enough to take action.
As you can probably see, this can be a problem for the more important things in life.
So, what can you do about this?
You need to change the way you look at the outcome. Going back to our example, even if the food does end up being bad, at least you got to spend some time with your friend. Or at least, you tried out something new!
Also, how can you possibly know without trying it out in the first place? What if the food does turn out to be great? it is just a matter of perspective….
7) “It’s going to fail anyway… Why bother?”
You may be familiar with this if you have ever let the fear of failure come in your way.
Look, the future is always uncertain and you don’t have the slightest of clues what the consequences of your actions could be.
As humans, we tend to think more about the negative consequences rather than the positive ones.
Again, this trait was instilled in us during our evolutionary process. Thinking about the negative outcomes allowed us to be prepared for them.
However, it is this tendency that might be a huge cause of your laziness.
Your mind might have a fear of failure or rejection and so, it might not want to take on a certain project, task, or approach someone you want to date.
The thing is, you might not even be aware that you are doing this! How tragic would that be? I understand that the fear of failure might be a natural one and we all have it to a certain extent.
But if that becomes a permanent obstacle in your path, don’t you think you should do something about it?
So what to do?
For starters, you could adopt the ancient Greek philosophy of stoicism. It is basically an understanding that all things are ultimately small and temporary. I mean, think about it.
On the grand scheme of things (think in terms of the scale of cosmos), even the Earth is nothing but a speck of dust.
So, how big could your failures really be? How bad could that rejection really be?
Please know that everything in life is temporary and so will be your failure/rejection (if they happen).
8) “Nothing interests me anymore”
Another cause of laziness for a lot of people could be that they are going through depression.
If that is the case, it is most likely a hidden cause as people may not be aware of it. Also, contrary to what people may believe, depression is not only about feeling sad or having suicidal tendencies. It actually has a broad medical definition.
Depression means a state where a person experiences decreased interest or pleasure in almost all activities.
In such a state, it is only natural that you won’t want to do a given task. Heck, you might not even want to get out of bed in the morning.
So, you might just think that you are lazy while you actually have depression.
So, the first thing you need to do is introspect.
Why is it that you don’t want to do things? Is there an underlying cause?
If you can’t figure it out then the best thing to do is see a therapist.
Now, seeing a therapist is not as normalized as seeing a physical trainer. You might assume that therapists are only for people undergoing serious mental health issues.
But that is not true at all.
Just as a physical trainer can enhance your physical abilities, a therapist can help you identify any mental issues you might be going through and help you enhance your mental performance. This might help you solve your laziness as well. So it is worth paying them a visit.
9) “Why do anything in this evil world!”
Another reason for your laziness could be your hidden negative attitude of some kind.
You might be a cynic, who believes that people only act due to their self-interest.
Or you might be bitter thinking that other people often benefit from your effort and you end up where you started. Or you might have a negative view of the world in general due to everything that has been going around us in recent times.
Look, I know that the world seems to be headed towards being a dystopia.
There is more injustice in the world than ever, the wealth gap is increasing to never seen before levels, governments don’t seem to care about their own citizens, people seem to care about nothing but themselves, and competition is at an all-time high.
All these things can take a toll on your mental state and your world view. You might be tempted to be hostile towards everybody and as such, you might lose motivation to do anything.
“What does it matter?” you might ask.
But let me tell you something. You still have the power to write your own destiny. You have dreams and goals, don’t you?
Would you stop chasing them just because the world is acting a little crazier than usual right now? Certainly not!
Don’t take the easier option of living a less than ideal life. Rise above everything and leave a dent in the universe! Redirect your anger, bitterness, and cynicism into building something positive.
10) “I’ll Do This Later… There’s No Deadline Anyway”
Have you ever noticed how you are on your best behavior when you have to do a certain task within an allotted time?
Somehow you magically manage to overcome your laziness and complete it on time. This is because having a deadline creates a sense of urgency. Suddenly, time becomes a limited resource that we need to devote to the task at hand.
Without a deadline, we tend to think that we have all the time in the world and that feeds our laziness. As such, we may procrastinate or forget all about the task.
So, the solution here is really simple.
At least for your important tasks, you need to set a fixed deadline. You can use a smartphone or a calendar and allot specific time slots to specific activities. You can also ask your family or friends to hold you accountable.
If there are real consequences for not doing a task on time, it will work doubly well to help you overcome your laziness.
You could also change the way you think.
Instead of always trailing behind, why not get a jump on things for once?
Think about the benefits of doing a task even before the deadline. To motivate yourself to do this, you could also set a reward for yourself! ( didn’t we mention previously that rewards can be used as a driving force? )
You see, it is all about tricking the brain 🙂
So, we saw what causes laziness, and we do hope that our guide will help you kiss your laziness goodbye 🙂