There's nothing worse than feeling yourself slide into a lazy slump when you know you have a giant to-do list hanging over your head. It's a hard thing to motivate yourself when you're feeling lazy. All you want to do is eat chips on the couch and fall into a Netflix rabbit hole, yet responsibilities are waiting for you on the other side of that hour. How do you convince yourself to get up and moving? How do you inspire yourself to roll up your sleeves and get productive? It can take a little finagling.
While I'm the first to admit my lazy-days make me procrastinate to cringe worthy heights, I've found that at the end of the day all I needed was a slight push to get me moving. I didn't have to turn into this Leslie Knope go-getter that was ready with her highlighters and binders — rather I just needed to reach for my laptop and begin with something easy. And once the ball starts rolling, you fall back into a working rhythm and end up finishing half of your to-do list — and that's with your lazy day sweatpants still on. There's hope for us all! Below are seven tips on how to motivate yourself when you're feeling lazy.
1. Figure Out What Your Task Means For The Big Picture
When you're feeling lazy and looking for distractions, you're choosing to forget what your gotta-do task means for your big picture. Chances are it's important: Whether it's studying for a test that will keep your GPA high, doing a task that'll help you grow in your job, or an activity that will help you develop as a person. To motivate yourself to get off the couch and do it, pinpoint what acing that task will mean for the big picture.
Lifestyle writer Scott Young at Lifehack pointed out, "Focusing on a dull task doesn’t make it any more attractive. Zooming out and asking yourself why you are bothering in the first place will make it more appealing." Get yourself excited over how it'll help you move forward if you accomplish it!
2. Focus On Just One Step
When you see a long to-do list, all you want to do is shove it underneath a stack of papers and skip away. To avoid that urge, instead force yourself to just focus on one step at a time. Trick yourself by saying you'll only tackle one step today, and you'll slowly slip into the mood before that one step is over.
Lifestyle writer Braden Thompson at Lifehack suggested, "But when you focus on one or two things at a time, it’s easier to get motivated and not feel so overwhelmed. Once you’ve found the strength to get up and finish one thing, deep down the thought, 'hey, maybe I can do this' starts to creep in." By breaking up your responsibilities into chunks, it all becomes a little more doable and a little less stressful.
3. Tell Yourself Out Loud You're About To Kick Some To-Do List Butt
Sometimes all you need to do is give yourself a little pep talk. Get out of your sweatpants, put on your favorite jeans and knit combo, and tell yourself — out loud — that you're about to get a ton done.
Thompson explained, "Positive self-talk leads to positive thinking which leads to productive action. You’ll never get anything done if you keep telling yourself you can’t do anything." To not let yourself wallow in your lazy mood, change the conversation in your head.
4. Bribe Yourself
If you really don't want to do something, sometimes a bribe is necessary. If all you want to do is watch reruns on TV but a stack of work is waiting for you on your desk, tell yourself you'll give yourself a little treat for every task you finish. It'll make the idea all the more appealing.
Lifestyle writer Catherine Alford wrote for lifestyle blog Budget Blonde, "But instead of feeling overwhelmed, I compromise with myself. I focus on one task at a time and when it’s done I give myself a small reward." Whether it's giving yourself 10 minutes TV time at the end of a cleared inbox or a cookie for every small to-do you check off, the small bribe can really get you moving.
5. Give Yourself Goals To Get You Moving
From the comfiness of your couch, psych yourself up to get started by setting a series of goals you have to finish before closing the laptop today. Tell yourself something along the lines of you have to finish three articles, read five assignments, or answer eight client emails and get yourself moving head-first into your tasks.
Alford explained, "Setting specific goals and deadlines will give you something to work toward when you start to feel lazy and unmotivated." Put them down on a piece of paper and get crackin'.
6. Get Yourself Excited With Some Inspiration
When you're just not feeling it, pump yourself up by seeking out some inspiration to get yourself excited about your goals. Look at other industry workers' impressive works, listen to cool podcasts about your field, seek out motivational quotes — do what you have to do in order to get yourself into a working frame of mind.
Alford suggested, "For some that may mean reading inspirational stories of others who’ve succeeded at what you’re working on, or it might mean reminding yourself of your own past successes. Other times it might mean writing down or repeating an inspirational or motivational quote." With a little bit of inspiration, you might just get out of your lazy funk.
7. Promise Yourself Five Minutes
Another great way to get yourself moving when you so don't want to, is to promise yourself you only have to do a task for five minutes. Have a full inbox? Answer emails for just five minutes. Have a paper due tomorrow? Write the intro for just five minutes. Need to work on a side project? Brainstorm just for five minutes.
Chances are, though, you'll work for a lot longer than five minutes once you get started. Young offered, "Start working for five minutes. Often that little push will be enough to get you going." Once you get into the groove of working, you probably will just finish it all the way.
So whether you're just having an off-day or can't be bothered to roll out of bed, by trying these little subtle mind moves when feeling lazy, your to-do list will still get a solid bite taken out of it.
Images: @emmahill/ Instagram