We've all been struck with laziness at one time or another — usually (and unfortunately) during the most inopportune times. That's why so many of us are looking for ways to be less lazy, because the world simply doesn't have time for our shenanigans.
And yet there we are, hitting snooze buttons, not wanting to go to work, and lacking total desire to ever do anything ever again. This attitude is all well and good on a Sunday morning when we have nothing better to do. But usually life calls for us to get up, get moving, and get things done.
While laziness comes in many forms, it usually has one direct effect. And that's that nothing gets accomplished. When you're affected by a pervasive bout of laziness, you might find that starting an exercise regimen, or finishing a project at work, all feel particularly impossible.
It's because these things are hard, and laziness is not. It's much easier to stay in bed for-ev-er than it is to go for a jog, or cook a healthy meal, or finish your project proposal. So we put it off for the day, and then for the week, and sometimes it never happens.
By all means, be lazy, relax, and do your thing. But don't let laziness overtake your life. If it is, then here are some ways to get more motivated, and put those lazy days behind you.
1. Figure Out The Root Cause Of Your Laziness
Sometimes there's no scientific or psychological explanation for laziness. Like I said above, sometimes you just don't want to move. And that's a totally fair way to be on occasion.
But when laziness crops up all the time, seemingly for no reason, it's time to take a look at what might be holding you back. As J.S. Wayne noted on Lifehack.org, "Maybe you feel overwhelmed, are afraid to fail at the task, or you just don’t want to do the task; these are discrete problems with separate solutions. Finding out the root cause of your laziness can help you make the changes you need to make to be a more effective and energetic person."
If you're tired, get more sleep. If you feel overwhelmed, think about how you can better manage your time. There are ways to fix whatever's making you so lazy. It may just take a little self-selection.
2. Organize Your Life
If you're having a problem getting motivated, take a second to scan your surroundings. Is your desk a total mess? Is your closet exploding? Are your work supplies nowhere to be found? If things are super messy, it's really no wonder you're having a problem getting started.
That's because our surroundings can hold us back, and make life way harder than it needs to be. According to Chantalle Blikman on TinyBuddha.com, "Your physical surroundings have a big impact on how you feel. If your house is a mess, you are likely to feel even more overwhelmed — both because clutter creates a sense of chaos, and because having to clean your house adds to your giant list of things to do in a ridiculously short amount of time."
So take a minute (or a day) and organize your life. De-clutter your desk, set up your closet so you know right where everything is for your day, and always keep necessary work items right on hand. That way, when the moment arrives to get down to business, there will be nothing holding you back.
3. Break Up The Day
It can be tough to come to terms with an eight hour work day. The thought of sitting still at a desk, or hovering over a table, for that long can seem unthinkable. In fact, it can be overwhelming enough that you might call it quits, call out of work, or spend the day staring hopelessly out the window. (Not the best way to get anything done, really.)
To prevent this type of overwhelm, promise yourself that you'll break up the day with plenty of, well, breaks. According to Wayne, "People work more efficiently when they have ample rest time. Working in short, focused bursts is far more effective than trying to slog through the task all at once ... Not only will you be happier with the end product, but you’ll feel better and more energized after completing it."
4. Force Yourself To Move Around
Have you ever gone for a run and then felt so good afterward that you decided to re-do your entire life? Maybe it's just me, but whenever I exercise I come back home with a renewed ability to organize my life, finish work projects, and clean everything in sight. It's really amazing what a little exercise can do to snap you out of a slump.
As Blikman noted, "Sometimes I get so fed up with feeling lazy and lethargic that I literally just start running. I have learned that if you can overcome physical laziness, your mind will naturally follow. You will find that you will become more willing to think about complicated things, such as working on a project or doing something that you have been avoiding. Exercise will help you break through that barrier of inertia and will help you feel motivated and more willing to put in effort." Keep this in mind the next time you feel glued to the couch, unable to move.
5. Change Up Your Environment
If you stare at the same project, or pile, or mess for too long, the lines of reality can start to blur. What was once a manageable project now seems like an insurmountable task, and you have no idea where to begin.
When that happens, it's best to step away for a minute, and change up your environment. As Marla Tabaka noted on Inc.com, "For me, remaining behind my desk when I'm unmotivated or sluggish is never the answer. If I'm sure I'm feeling lazy, rather than exhausted, I muster up every trace of energy and do something physical ... The movement and change of environment prompts my mind wander and the creative juices begin to flow."
Go for that run I was talking about, or simply move your work somewhere else. Set up shop in a cafe, take your papers outside to the park, or sit in a different chair for a while. A little change in perspective might make all the difference.
6. Be Consistent With Your Schedule
Monday mornings suck because they are a shock to the system after a super lazy, schedule-free weekend. This is the same reason why it can feel so difficult to start a new project or exercise regimen. Our bodies and minds revolt against the change, especially if it's an uncomfortable one.
The key to making things less difficult is sticking to a schedule. Soon you'll develop a habit and get less of that Monday-monring shock. It's all about the consistency. As Eric Ravenscraft said on Lifehacker.com, "Laziness, in any form, takes advantage of gaps in your willpower. Much like overcoming an addiction, it only takes one day, one relapse to slip and wind up right back where you started. It's OK to fail, and you'll probably miss some days every once in a while, but get back on the horse. Remember, laziness is a habit, not a personality trait."
7. Appreciate Your Work
It can be difficult to find motivation to wake up early for a fun day, or a job you love. So imagine how difficult life becomes when you have to get motivated for something you don't love.
When this happens, you have to remind yourself of the value of a hard day's work. According to Ravenscraft, "As strange as it may be to accept, work can actually be enjoyable and rewarding, even if you don't find some mythical 'soul mate' job. Learning to appreciate the value of work for its own sake is a skill that takes time and practice to develop. However, your mindset about work will have a drastic effect on how much you get done."
Of course all of these tips are way easier said than done, especially for the profoundly lazy. But remember, you don't have to be lazy. So get up, force yourself to get started, and then stick to it for a way easier time.
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