You want to do a million things, but don’t want to get off the couch?
I know the feeling.
And I know how pathetic you feel afterward when the pile of unfinished tasks builds up in front of you.
You want more from your life, but when you feel lazy to act, nothing seems to work. Even thinking about your goals or dreams may not motivate you to stop being lazy.
You were not born lazy. But you picked up lazy habits on the way.
It’s a relief to learn that because now you have a choice to change. And you can overcome laziness by substituting those habits with better habits.
Let’s see how.
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how to overcome laziness? Is it the same as procrastination?
Laziness or slothfulness, is choosing to stay idle despite having the ability to act.
Laziness is not the same as procrastination. Procrastination is when we postpone our tasks to a later period and choose to do easy and less important tasks, while laziness is simply choosing not to do them even though you perfectly can.
Though laziness can make you procrastinate, there are other reasons for procrastination too.
Here are some tips to overcome laziness and maximize your potential.
1. Try to understand why you are lazy
You cannot solve a problem unless you know what causes it.
There can be different reasons for feeling lazy.
Maybe it’s a boring or tedious task, maybe you have fears holding you back, or you feel lethargic and don’t have the energy to do it.
Let’s look at each scenario.
a) The task is boring
Life requires us to do many tasks that are mundane, repetitive and uncreative.
Like household chores, studying, data entry work for your job etc.
But you can’t possibly live in a house that has been uncleaned for weeks, or you can’t eat healthy homemade food if you don’t cook and always grab a burger on the way back to home. You fail in your exams if you don’t study (and you know the consequences) and the data entry work you don’t want to do helps you stay organized.
If you convince yourself and understand your “why”, you can push yourself.
For example, I do many unpleasant tasks on a daily basis, at home, and for blogging. I used to be lazy and procrastinate much with the tasks I don’t like.
But what I do now is, I schedule all the tasks that should be done in a day (interesting and boring ones) in my bullet journal. And I do the most important ones first thing in the morning (usually writing), and others follow.
I do each activity even if I like it or not because I think about the consequences of not doing it and that forces me.
I always stress in almost all articles, scheduling by writing by hand is the key to getting things done. And I can never say it enough.
Here’s an article that explains why writing down your goals works.
b) Fears that hold you back
Sometimes you choose not to do a task because you have some inhibitions holding you back.
Find out why you have them and find a solution. Here is an article I wrote on how to overcome procrastination caused by fear.
c) You are tired
You want to take action but you feel tired to move even a muscle. Maybe it’s because you have some underlying health problems.
This happens to me often, and I started including more nutritious food in my diet and cut junk.
Many people have one or the other common nutrient deficiencies. Include supplements and a variety of fruits and veggies in your diet if you want to up your levels.
Make exercise a part of your daily life. Exercise makes your body release chemicals called ‘endorphins’. They boost your mood and give you positive energy.
When you are brimming with energy, it’s less likely to feel lazy.
2. Set goals
Unless you have specific goals, you don’t know what you are working for, and where you are going. Goals give you direction. Decide what you want to achieve in each area of your life.
When you don’t know what to do in life and you are just going with the flow taking each day as it comes, it’s difficult to overcome laziness.
Let each day of your life has a purpose. Take a decision to not waste even a day.
How to set goals?
I like this technique used by the great Tony Robbins.
This is a simple technique to set goals. It gives clarity on what you should do in short-term to accomplish goals in long term.
Here’s the exercise.
Take a piece of paper and start writing.
-What kind of person do you want to be or what do you want to achieve in 10 years? Or in 5 years? (if you don’t want to think that long). You can write your goals in every area of your life like career, relationships, travel or business.
Now think backward.
To accomplish each goal in 5 years, what do you need to accomplish by four years, three years, two years and one year from now?
And what should you accomplish in six months from now?
Break your big goal into mini goals like this, and reach back all the way till today.
Now you know what to do today, instead of lazing around. I believe when you have goals that won’t let you sleep, it is easy to stop being lazy.
Related: 7 common things you do that waste your life
3. Establish a routine
Now that you have set goals, plan your ideal day. What activities/tasks would fill your day so that they align with the goals you set?
Write down all the important activities that should be done in a day. Allocate time for each. And when the time comes, do it even if you feel like doing it or not.
Yes, that’s another key to overcoming laziness.
Show up every day, even if you want to or not.
When you overcome the initial resistance, it is much easier to carry on.
I don’t feel like writing for my blog always. But when the time comes, I open my laptop and start typing. After I overcome the initial resistance, I find it’s easier to keep writing.
With boring tasks, I tell myself, “I don’t want to do this, but it will help me to accomplish so and so”. It works!
You can apply this to almost everything you want to do.
When I started this blog, I decided to focus on habits. Because what I have come to know after years of devouring personal development content, is that you achieve success and overcome laziness and procrastination, by forming better habits.
If I want to develop any personal development traits, I focus on making it a habit. Because when it’s a habit, you are more consistent. Consistency is what leads to success.
Related: 10 better habits to start to take your life to the next level
4. Break big tasks into small ones
Sometimes, the enormity of the tasks make you feel overwhelmed and you end up not starting at all.
Break your big tasks into small actionable parts. Try not to think about the big task as such, but focus on the small mini goal.
When I want to declutter my closet, I do it one drawer a day. It takes only 15-20 minutes a day and I don’t feel as lazy as I would feel if I had to declutter the entire closet in a day.
Apply this to all your Himalayan tasks.
5. Stop hanging out with lazy people
[click_to_tweet tweet=”You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with-Jim Rohn http://habitsbuzz.com/how-overcome-laziness/” quote=”You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with-Jim Rohn” theme=”style4″]
Be mindful of who you hang out with, as they can influence your thinking and decisions. If the people whom you associate with the most are lazy people who have no focus in life, it can pass onto you even if you are a positive person.
On the other hand, if you mingle with people who are proactive and successful, you get inspired too, to take charge of your life.
Pessimistic people feel life is happening to them, not for them. They laze around, finding fault in every situation in life and blaming others.
If you want to overcome laziness, don’t be around such people.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”If we can realize that life is always happening for us, not to us… game over, all the pain and suffering disappears-Tony Robbins http://habitsbuzz.com/how-overcome-laziness/” quote=”If we can realize that life is always happening for us, not to us… game over, all the pain and suffering disappears” theme=”style4″]
6. Plan for the days your plans fail
It is said that “how you start your morning determines your day”.
Isn’t it true?
Think about the days you started by doing productive things, and you felt good the whole day and actively crossed off the items on your list.
But what if you started the day by getting up late? Or you decided to act lazy when you should have finished your tasks.
Don’t beat yourself up.
It can be easy to determine such days are wasted and think “I will start tomorrow.”
Don’t do that. Start from where you are.
When your plans don’t go well, instead of feeling guilty and pessimistic, still go with your plan.
I go with mini habits on such days.
If I wanted to do a workout in the morning and didn’t do it, I do a mini version of it in the evening or at least do a warm up.
If I wanted to write at least 500 words in the morning, and if I failed, I would still open my laptop and write how much ever I can.
The idea is to stick to your plan (even in small ways) and do not give into laziness, no matter what.
After a while, your subconscious mind gets that it is important for you, and sticking to your routine becomes easier.
7. Use laziness as a reward
Overcoming laziness doesn’t have to be hard when you let yourself be lazy once in a while.
Tell yourself, you can laze around when you have done your work.
There is no better feeling like relaxing by doing nothing or indulging in any of your favorite self-care activities.
If distractions like TV, social media, Netflix or other media are the reasons you are lazy, you can reward yourself with these after doing some productive work.
“I will reward myself with two episodes of Game of Thrones once I am done with ____”, is a good decision to make.
Choose ‘selective laziness’ over a destructive one.
Related: 101 self-care ideas to refresh yourself when you are stressed out
8. Change your mindset
Like the people who you hang out with influence you, good books, videos and reading stories of successful people can influence your mindset.
Read self-help books, blogs or watch inspirational Youtube videos to stay motivated.
Some of the books I recommend are Think and Grow Rich, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Awaken The Giant Within, The Miracle Morning and The Magic of Thinking Big (there are more, maybe in a future article).
How your life turns out is entirely your decision. Laziness doesn’t define you unless you make it so. Yes, it’s a decision which if continued for many days, becomes a habit. And I know you can choose better.
What are the struggles you face when you try to stop being lazy? Please comment below.
If you are not feeling lazy, please PIN and SHARE 🙂
Thank you for these awesome tips. I’ve been told that I’m lazy and I knew I was lazy but I didn’t really know why. This topic helped me to be able to identify why I was so lazy and I am willing to work on that now that I know. I want to try out your schedule tips I believe its what I’ve always needed.
Thank you so much.
You are welcome. Do try and let me know:)
I feel I am way too lazy and really want to be productive. Glad that I came across your post. Thank you for these awesome tips.
You are welcome:)
Do you have tips for being productive around a toddler (soon to be a toddler and a baby?) I am a WAHM and through my early pregnancy I have started some bad habits (lots of resting on the couch, which I did need as I was struggling with symptoms) I am trying now I am feeling better to break free and start some new habits again but its really difficult with a demanding 17 month old underfoot. I spend time with him and then try to withdraw and he wont have a bar of it! I feel really stuck in a rut I dont know how to get out of. I had all of these really good habits right up until a few months ago and its all fallen over and I feel really guilty that I am not productive enough. I am still crashing in the afternoons (when little man goes for his nap) which is really hard because that used to be my highly productive time. Do you have any tips for me?
Thanks for reaching out. I have gone through this period, having a baby and a toddler, and I get it when you say you are tired. Especially, if you are a breastfeeding mom and your baby gets up every few hours at night, you will want to catch up on some sleep in the afternoon.
You can try to teach him to engage in quiet and independent play when you spend time on your work, in the same room as him. That way, he won’t miss you and feel safe. Getting up one or two hours earlier than him, can also get you time to work. And what has worked for me on low energy days is, getting a 20-minute workout (because I don’t have more time). It can seem counter-intuitive. But it works amazingly in increasing your energy and focus. And, energy and focus are what you need more than time to get some high-quality work done.
And after having kids, I started planning and scheduling my days to get the most important work done each day. It has really helped me to stay on track with my goals. I am linking you to another article I wrote on how to balance work and life as WAHM, in case you want to know the systems and routines I use now. Here it is: https://messyyetlovely.com/work-life-balance-tips-work-from-home-mom/
And finally, as a word of encouragement, I would like to say, you will start to get more time in 3 or 4 years. This season, when kids need you all the time is hard, because you always have to move around taking care of them and get a minimal amount of time for yourself. But I have found that I get more and more time for myself when they learned to take care of themselves and started going to school. As for now, try different techniques you can, to utilize the time you get to the maximum.
And please don’t feel guilty because you are doing an amazing job as a mother to raise your little one. In life, seasons keep changing and in this season, you are doing exactly what you are meant to do.
Thank you. You spoke my mind.
I am struggling with laziness in several aspects of my life and what I have just read has been in the back of my mind in the different situations like; woke up later than I thought, don’t let this bring you down, pushing work because the task is too big, or going to ved late, because I was too lazy to get going. (as you can maybe see I am writing this pretty late… or early).
I think this article will help me because it was my own thaughts/ideas written down. Thanks.
As they say, most of the times the answer is within yourself. Sometimes we all need a different perspective or another person’s words to hit us to make sense. I am glad this article helped you.
I used to be a lazy person too, but the big vision I have about my life motivates me every day even when I feel lazy.
I am sure you can do it too 🙂
Thank you so much for these amazing tips and ideas
As you can see, I am a blogger and it’s very important to active for a blogger but i don’t know why, i feel so lazy…