Are you struggling with a severe case of laziness? It’s okay. This is a safe space — no need to lie to us. I am lazy too 🙂
Everyone gets stuck in a rut once in a while, but here are ten tips that even professional couch potatoes can use to tackle their laziness.
1. Don’t panic, keep calm
First of all, don’t be too harsh on yourself.
Humans aren’t supposed to spend 100% of their time being productive.
If your productivity has taken a sudden hit, you might be experiencing burn-out because you worked too hard. Instead of beating yourself up about it, accept that you probably need a rest.
When was the last time you took a break?
You’ll probably find that the more frustrated and angry you feel at yourself for not working hard enough, the less you’ll work. The human mind works in strange ways!
The best strategy is usually to treat yourself with kindness.
The next time negative thoughts about your laziness flood into your mind, shove them away.
2. Simplify your life
Sometimes, when we’re busiest and have the most items on our to-do lists, we procrastinate the most.
It might sound counterintuitive, but it’s a natural reaction — we become overwhelmed, so we shut down.
We can’t bear to face all those tasks building up, so we sit and scroll through social media instead.
If this sounds like you, it’s time to have a serious rethink.
Maybe you don’t need to tick every single task off your to-do list — pick two or three of the most important things instead.
If you only had a few hours every day to work, what would you do?
Even if every single task is essential, chances are you can delegate some of them to others.
3. Start with your most important tasks
What’s the first task you do every day?
Far too many start off their day by replying to emails, checking social media, or other trivial tasks.
Instead, we should tackle our most important task (MIT) — that’s the most pressing, difficult, or creative task of the day.
Our brains are sharpest in the morning, so don’t waste all that mental freshness on something you could do half-asleep anyway.
Completing your MIT by lunch will take a massive weight off your shoulders. On the other hand, wasting away the morning doing nothing important will reinforce the idea that you’re “lazy” and push you into a negative mind space.
Hopefully, this burst of confidence will keep you motivated throughout the day. And you know what that means? More time to rest and recharge!
4. Set small goals
What’s the hardest part of writing that report or completing that project? Often, it’s the simple act of starting.
Once we get into the flow state, the task doesn’t seem so bad — we might even start to enjoy it!
So, how can we stop ourselves from procrastinating endlessly? By setting small goals.
Instead of telling yourself you want to write the entire report, set yourself the goal of writing one paragraph, and seeing how you feel after that. This makes it far easier to take action.
The best part of this step is that we can use it for almost everything! Washing the dishes, working out, applying to jobs — you name it.
You’ll probably find that, even if you only aim to write one paragraph, you end up writing (significantly) more.
Even if you don’t, that’s okay — remember to be kind to yourself and take breaks.
5. Remove distractions
When you set aside a two-hour chunk for working, how much of it do you really spend doing anything important?
If you have your phone within hand’s reach, it’s almost impossible to resist the temptation to check notifications or refresh your social feeds.
Don’t even give yourself that opportunity. If you can, put your phone in a different room or put it on flight mode.
Of course, just getting rid of your phone isn’t enough. Most of us need the internet to work, so turning it off isn’t an option.
However, you can download app extensions for your browser that block specific websites for a certain period. It might sound silly, but it’s surprisingly effective.
6. Reflect on your direction
If you’re reading this article, chances are you value productivity.
But it’s no use hustling and grinding away at your work (or attempting to) without having a clear vision of what direction you’re heading in.
Maybe your sudden burst of “laziness” is telling you that it’s time for some self-reflection.
What would your life be like five years down the line if you continued to do exactly the same things as you’re doing now?
And what would it look like if you did something completely different and crazy, like having a drastic career change and moving to a new country?
Try not to overthink your answers and just use whatever pops into your head first. The important thing is to reflect on how the answers make you feel.
Would you be happy if your life continued in the same direction, or is it time to change tack?
7. Use your down time wisely
When we say use your downtime wisely, we don’t mean you have to spend your “breaks” reading quantum mechanics books.
We mean that you need to be intentional.
When you’re stuck in a rut, it’s easy to spend the entire day “working” but checking social media every few minutes or watching TV shows you don’t even enjoy that much “in the background.”
This is a terrible idea for two reasons — you’re not getting anything much done, but you’re also not enjoying your rest time.
There’s nothing wrong with spending a little time each day watching junk TV or whatever makes you happy. In fact, it’s incredibly healthy! Just don’t spend too much time doing that.
Being intentional about works and breaks is a great way to become more efficient and give you some sanity. No more feeling guilty about watching cat videos — if it’s part of your schedule, it’s fair game.
You’ll probably find that you end up choosing more conscious activities for your breaks, like reading a good book or watching an educational video, and that this gives you more motivation for your work.
8. Embrace failure and relapses
Even the most motivated person in the world can’t follow the laws of productivity perfectly. You’re going to have days when you take your phone off silent mode, spend half an hour browsing Twitter, and end up getting nothing done that morning.
And you know what? It’s fine.
Minor setbacks aren’t a reflection of your self-worth or who you are. They’re just that: minor setbacks.
Perfectionism has some unexpected and scary consequences. You might end up reluctant to take on complex tasks out of fear you won’t be able to complete them as productively as you’d like.
This is the wrong approach.
Everyone experiences hiccups along the way to success. Every time you stumble, just think of it as you collecting data.
The more you try new things and exit your comfort zone, the more you’ll learn about your limits.
9. Spend time with ambitious, inspiring people
Everyone’s heard the saying that we’re all a reflection of the five people we spend the most time with.
And it’s true!
If you spend all your time hanging around with unambitious people who procrastinate a lot, you’ll find yourself acting in that way, too.
Being around people who are even lazier than you might even make you feel better about yourself! and make you even lazier.
But surrounding yourself with high-achieving, ambitious, and productive people is a kick up the backside. They’ll hold you accountable for your lazy ways.
Of course, these aren’t the only traits you should look for — you don’t want to become caught up in a competitive environment where everyone is trying to out-do each other and be successful. Opt for positive, uplifting people who fill you with good vibes.
This doesn’t just go for people you spend time with in real life. Apply the same principles to the accounts you follow on social media, the books you read, and whatever other content you consume.
10. Work in short bursts
The Pomodoro method involves 25 minutes of non-stop work followed by five minutes of rest. Then, rinse and repeat for the rest of the (working) day.
It’s psychologically more comfortable to set yourself up for 25 minutes working than four hours of work.
There’s no way anybody can concentrate for hours on end without a break, so schedule them in.
This way, you’ll feel like you genuinely earned those five minutes of downtime.
Try to spend your breaks away from the screen if possible. Maybe you could make yourself a cup of tea or stroll around your office?
Time to nip your laziness in the bud
Implementing a few of these tips should help you overcome your laziness. And the good thing is that in the long run, overcoming your lazyness will boost your confidence and your self esteem 🙂
But remember, we don’t have to be productive all the time — it’s healthy to have breaks and holidays to spend time doing the things we love. Just ensure you’re being intentional about managing your time.