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Last Updated on February 16, 2021

Why Am I Lazy? 15 Ways to Stop Being Lazy and Unmotivated

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Why Am I Lazy? 15 Ways to Stop Being Lazy and Unmotivated

Most of us are lazy, at least some of the time. It’s only natural.

Being lazy just means you want to expend as little effort as possible—and who in their right mind would want to spend extra time or energy where it’s not warranted?

Of course, being lazy is also problematic. If you’re feeling lazy and unmotivated, you won’t take proactive action on achieving your goals, and you may struggle in both your personal and professional life.

Fortunately, several strategies can help you defeat this darker side of your mind.

If you want to stop being lazy, it’s going to take a concentrated effort on your part. But don’t worry—once a few of these tactics kick in, you’ll find it much easier to sustain your momentum.

1. Learn to Accept Your Own Laziness

For the most part, this article is designed to help you fight back against laziness as if it’s a dastardly villain intentionally trying to sabotage your success. However, this can be counterproductive. If you hate the idea of being lazy, chances are you’ll end up resenting yourself.

This leads to a cycle of negative self-talk, which is scientifically demonstrated to have a negative effect on mood, increasing stress.[1] Low mood and high stress lead to even lower productivity, which leads to low self-esteem, and the cycle continues.

The way to break out of this is to learn to accept your own laziness. It’s okay to feel lazy. It’s natural to feel lazy. You can work to address your laziness without feeling bad or guilty about it.

2. Understand Your Source of Laziness or Lack of Motivation

Next, take the time to understand the roots of your laziness and/or lack of motivation. This is one of the most challenging steps to take but also one of the most important.

To find out the source of your lack of motivation, you have to understand your own motivation style first. To do that, take the free assessment What’s Your Motivation Style? so you know what you can do to maximize the strengths of your motivation style. Take the assessment now!

If you can figure out what’s making you feel lazy and unmotivated, you can find a way to prevent or mitigate the effect.

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For example, do you always feel unmotivated at a certain time of day? Do feelings of laziness creep in when you don’t have work that challenges you?

Stress is a common source of a lack of motivation. Fifty-seven percent of high-stress employees feel unproductive, compared to 10 percent of low-stress employees.[2]

Pay attention to your environment, the time of day, the people around you, and the type of work you’re doing. Chances are, there’s a pattern.

3. Break Your Personal Cycles

In many cases, laziness is a byproduct of habit, either directly or indirectly—and this is especially true if you find yourself feeling lazy around the same time of day or in the same circumstances.

Accordingly, you can reduce your feelings of laziness by simply breaking your habits and cycles. This is especially important if you work from home or if you’re stuck in the same office every day.

Consider working in a new environment, giving yourself different working hours, or even dressing differently. Any major change can have a positive effect on you.

4. Set More Reasonable Goals

Sometimes, people are lazy because the goals they’ve set for themselves are too intimidating.

For example, let’s say it’s a hot day and you’ve set a goal to run outside for 10 miles. That’s a tall order even for an accomplished runner. So naturally, you’ll procrastinate and dread beginning the exercise.

But what if you reduced your goal to a 2-mile run? It would be much easier to summon the motivation to go, and 2 miles is certainly better than 0 miles.

Use SMART goal criteria to set appropriate goals for yourself, and don’t be afraid to lower the intensity of your goals if you’re feeling unmotivated.

5. Accomplish Something Small

Feeling accomplished is a tremendous motivator. If you can accomplish something and feel good about it, that positive energy will continue onto your next endeavor—even if it’s something you dread doing.

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You can optimize your workload or even your day for this. Choose a small, easily accomplishable task at the beginning of your day to begin your momentum. One of my favorite productivity tips is if something takes less than 2 minutes, do it right now.

The 5-second rule is similar.[3] If you have an impulse to do something productive, you have 5 seconds to act on that impulse. Take advantage of those fleeting feelings of productivity and don’t hesitate to act on them!

If you find yourself stuck in the middle of the day, find something to do that will make you feel good—even if it means deviating from your usual plan.

6. Use the Pomodoro Technique to Quarantine Your Laziness

The Pomodoro Technique is a well-known time management strategy meant to help people remain productive. The main idea is to break your work down into focused work and small breaks; the original idea was to work for 25 minutes, then break for 3 to 5 minutes, and take a longer break after 4 cycles.

However, you can use whichever timing methods work best for you. Use this method to effectively “quarantine” your laziness. Allow yourself to be perfectly lazy during the short breaks, then be ready to resume focus when the timer ends.

7. Recognize and Shut Down Your Escape Routes

Most forms of laziness are contingent upon an “escape route.” It’s easy to be lazy if you’re tempted by the endless scrolling content of your favorite social media platform or if you only have one more episode in a season of your favorite TV show.

Learn to recognize these escape routes, and do what you can to shut them down. For example, can you turn off notifications on your mobile device? Can you work in a different room than the TV? Can you temporarily disable internet access?

Need more tips? Join the free Fast-Track Class – No More Procrastination. You will learn a practical method to stop procrastinating and start getting things done. Join this 30-minute free session now!

8. Make the Most of Your Laziness

It’s perfectly fine, and even good, to be lazy sometimes. When you decide to be lazy and decompress from work, make the most of it.

For example, you can take a few vacation days if you find yourself completely unmotivated to work, and during those days, you can absolve yourself of all responsibilities. Breaks and vacations are shown to have a net positive effect on productivity and wellbeing.

For example, frequent travelers tend to have a 68.4 score on the Gallup-Heathway Well-Being Index, a measure of health and wellness, while infrequent travelers only score a 51.4.[4]

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9. Minimize Your Sense of Perfectionism

Perfectionism is an enemy of productivity, and it has the power to make you feel less motivated and lazier. More than that, scientific studies have shown that perfectionism is bad for your health. People with high perfectionism scores have a 51 percent increased risk of death.[5]

Fight back by reducing your compulsion toward perfectionism. Understand and accept that all work is flawed and so are you, and that’s completely okay.

10. Set a Reward for Yourself

Most of us find ourselves much more motivated when there’s a reward at the end of a daunting journey. The next time you find yourself feeling lazy or unmotivated in the face of a tough task, plan to give yourself a reward.

For example, you can treat yourself to a snack, splurge on a new product, or just take an extended break.

11. Get a Partner

It’s way easier to be motivated when you have someone by your side. Not only will they help you tackle the project directly, but they’ll also be a source of positive energy—and possibly, some inspirational words.

Depending on what you’re trying to do, finding a partner may be difficult. If you can’t find someone to help you do the work directly, consider calling a friend or family member to talk through your issue and provide support.

Sometimes, the kind words of someone you care about are enough to motivate you to take action.

12. Surround Yourself With Motivated People

Attitudes and energy tend to be contagious. If you’re surrounded by lazy people who frequently complain and generally have a pessimistic outlook, it’s going to be impossible not to share the same negative feelings.

Conversely, if you’re surrounded by peppy, optimistic, highly motivated people, you’ll feel more motivated yourself. Seek these people out however you can by selectively hiring them, engaging with them in a group, or even passively consuming the content they create.

13. Set Awareness Alarms

If you’re like most people, you at least occasionally find yourself in a lazy rut, not because of a conscious decision but because of an unconscious default.

For example, you might check Twitter impulsively, scrolling past 100 tweets before even realizing the phone is in your hand, or you might simply stare off into space.

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You can combat this by setting “awareness alarms.” These alarms go off at periodic intervals, at times of your choosing, but preferably erratic. When they go off, take a moment to think about what you’re doing.

Is this productive? What should you be doing instead?

14. Gamify Your Most Tedious Tasks

More than 50 percent of organizations managing innovation processes are gamifying at least some of their work.[6] With some caveats, gamification is shown to make people more motivated and engaged.

Generally, people like games, so turning your most tedious tasks into a game can make you feel much more motivated to accomplish them.

For example, doing the dishes isn’t fun, but what if you create a scoring system that rewards you for cleaning them as quickly as possible? What if you invent unique challenges for yourself while tackling a tedious assignment?

15. Channel Your Laziness Into Something Productive

Believe it or not, being lazy can actually help you be more productive.

How? By encouraging you to find low-effort solutions that still solve your problems.

Remember, productivity isn’t about how much effort you expend, but about how much you can get done. Laziness could encourage you to develop an algorithm or buy an app that automates a task that takes too much of your time. Ultimately, this allows you to achieve more in less time while demanding less effort.

The same is true for hiring additional staff or delegating tasks to people who can handle them more efficiently.

Conclusion

“I will always choose a lazy person to do a difficult job because he will find an easy way to do it.” — Bill Gates

It’s completely reasonable to feel lazy some or even most of the time. And even the most productive among us are challenged by our inner laziness.

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However, your laziness and lack of motivation do not have to hold you back from getting the results or achieving the goals you want. Find a strategy or combination of strategies that work for you, and stick to them.

More Tips to Overcome Laziness

Featured photo credit: Katie Barrett via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Jayson DeMers

Entrepreneur and Productivity Expert

13 Visualization Techniques to Help You Reach Your Goals Why Am I Lazy? 15 Ways to Stop Being Lazy and Unmotivated How to Be Committed to Your Goals Even During Hard Times How to Stay on Task And Be Laser Focused How to Use Time Blocking for Productivity (A Complete Guide)

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Published on September 3, 2021

6 Friday Motivation Tips to Help You Stay Motivated

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6 Friday Motivation Tips to Help You Stay Motivated

You know the feeling—that “I still have another whole work day to get through” feeling? It sucks. The worst part is knowing that you have to get up, get to work, and be productive when you feel checked out, unmotivated, and would rather go back to bed. The trickiest part about it is that even though you may know intellectually that you’re not the only person who has ever felt that way, at the moment, it can feel very lonely.

If you feel the Friday funk and want to shake it off, try these six tips to lift your Friday motivation.

1. Eat a Solid Breakfast and Plan to Eat Lunch

The first thing you can do to lift your Friday motivation is to eat a solid breakfast. We have all heard the phrase, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” It turns out that it wasn’t just something our parents were telling us to get us to eat before school. Studies have shown that eating breakfast can help with improved memory, recall, mood, and visual-motor functions.[1]

However, researchers have found evidence that the benefits of the micronutrient boost provided by breakfast do wear off after a while. Just like a car with a full tank of gas that runs out after a long journey, the body needs to be refueled. Therefore, planning to eat breakfast and lunch on a day when you are not feeling your best could give you that extra boost you need to get through the day. Skipping meals can lead to low blood sugar, which can leave you feeling weak and tired.[2] If you are already struggling with feeling motivated, not eating is only going to make you feel more sluggish and less inspired to get anything done.

2. Prioritize What’s Urgent

I have always been a fan of the cheat sheet. No, I’m not a cheater, but I love knowing what needs to be done. No one wants to waste any precious energy trying to figure out what should be done when you are already feeling unmotivated.

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No matter who you are, there is a high probability that by Friday, on any given week, you have at least one or two items that were supposed to be completed earlier in the week but just didn’t get done. Here is my quick trick for figuring out what’s urgent.

Just ask yourself these three questions:

  • Are there any projects with deadlines that have passed already but are still due?
  • Which of those projects is the most overdue?
  • Of the overdue projects, which will take the least time to make significant progress or complete?

This should help you to easily identify at least one task that you can spend time working on diligently, knowing that you are getting something important done.

3. Tackle the Low-Hanging Fruit

Another way to refresh your Friday motivation is to tackle the low-hanging fruit. There is nothing wrong with doing the easy stuff first. Maybe you are so burned out and the urgent tasks will take too much energy. There is nothing wrong with knocking out the obvious easy things. Emails, filing, data entry, document reconciliation, follow-up calls, editing or revising written work, and research are all low-hanging fruits—these are all straightforward tasks.

Getting these easier tasks done will give you a sense of accomplishment. You can leverage this sense of accomplishment to help you tackle some harder tasks or get all the easy tasks done so the following week, you can dedicate your time to the harder projects.

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4. Give Yourself at Least Two Scheduled Breaks

Give yourself at least two scheduled breaks during the workday. Life is stressful. Feeling like you have to work when you don’t feel up to it is stressful. Let’s not compound it by forcing yourself to sit in front of the computer all day with no breaks. The days of believing that “lunch is for punks and working 80 hours a week is what you should be doing” are fading away—if not already a distant memory for some.

In fact, scientists discovered that, although “taking short breaks throughout the working day may not have as obvious an impact as taking a holiday, research has found significant benefits. Studies have found that breaks can reduce or prevent stress, help to maintain performance throughout the day and reduce the need for a long recovery at the end of the day.”[3]

Before you sit down in front of your desk for the workday, set three alarms—two 20-minute breaks and one lunch break. You aren’t proving anything to anyone by forcing yourself to be miserable in front of your computer. You deserve flexibility and compassion. Let these breaks be a radical act of self-care.

5. Listen to Some Upbeat Tunes

Another way to improve your Friday motivation is to listen to some upbeat tunes. Music is medicine. It is not a mystery that the vibrations of sound can affect our mood. Ancient communities knew this and embraced it through practices like chanting, the use of singing bowls, chimes, bells, and other sound instruments as tools for healing. Practices like Kirtan and Bhakti yoga use chanting to heal and shift energy. The Hindu and Buddhist religions use bells and chimes in many of their spiritual healing rituals. Throughout the modern world, we have adopted the use of signing bowls for energetic healing.

Most people could recall at least one moment in their lives when music or sound has helped shift their mood. Music has been shown to have a direct effect on the listener. Studies show that listening to music while you work can lead to an “increase in both mood and quality of work”.[4]

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If you are feeling super unmotivated, the solution to your problem may be throwing on your favorite album in the background while you try to get a few things done. If you can’t work while listening to music with words and you do not like classical music or traditional jazz, explore genres like Trip hop, house, ambient, Beach House, JamBand. You may also enjoy artists like Bonobo, Thievery Corporation, and Grammatik.

6. Give Yourself Something to Look Forward To

As a yogi, I’m all about being present in the moment. But sometimes, the present is a little too intense, and being super present is not going to help to improve your mood. In those moments, tapping into the power of positive anticipation can be your secret weapon because “knowing that something good is coming your way pushes you to accomplish those tasks you may not necessarily want to do.”[5]

We all love to be rewarded, especially when we are doing something we don’t want to do. Giving yourself something to look forward to is the way to guarantee that you will be rewarded for the hard work of getting through the day.

The reward doesn’t have to be immense. It can be something small like getting ice cream, going for a walk, spending time with friends, or vegging out with your phone on do not disturb for a few hours. I used to employ this trick a lot when I was in boarding school. The time between semesters in new England would feel so long especially in the winter that my friends and I would let ourselves get excited about little things like drinking lime rickeys at Brigham’s. Believe it or not, it worked.

Try it the next time you get the hit with the Friday funk. Think about something you can look forward to no matter how small, and notice how it shifts your energy.

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Final Thoughts

As the adage says, “this too shall pass.”

Friday is just a day like every other day before it will end. One thing you can count on is that time waits for no one, so despite how difficult it may feel to get through, know that the time is on your side.

No matter what, Friday will wind on. The best thing you can do to improve your Friday motivation is to make sure that your body has the micronutrients it needs to power through the day, identify what’s urgent, tackle low hanging fruit, give yourself time away from the desk, throw on your favorite tunes, and think about the fact that you have the entire weekend to look forward to.

You got this!

More Tips on How to Improve Your Friday Motivation

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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Reference

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