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Last Updated on August 26, 2021

How To Overcome Laziness: 19 Simple Ways

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How To Overcome Laziness: 19 Simple Ways

Taking some time off from your busy routine is not only normal; it is essential. But if you find yourself taking too many days off, unable to achieve anything, chances are you are lazy.

But why do people succumb to laziness even when they know they have things to do and places to go?

It might be due to a fear of failure, an overwhelming list of tasks to achieve, or a lack of motivation for your job.

Whatever the reason may be, it is time to identify ways to overcome laziness. All you need is a little mental stimulation to recharge yourself and feel inspired to accomplish your tasks.

If you’re struggling with the daily grind, here are 19 simple tips to overcome laziness and increase your productivity.

1. Make Realistic Goals

It’s true that one of the key reasons people get lazy because they don’t find anything challenging enough to stir them up from their slumber.

But on the other hand, setting impractical goals can overwhelm you and may even send you down in a spiral of demotivation, indolence and guilt. Your objectives, therefore, must be achievable and stimulating.

A long list of to-dos can be overwhelming, it can cause a sensory overload and we end up ignoring all items on the list altogether. But don’t let it overpower you. Instead, ask yourself the following:

  • What do I want to achieve at the end of the project?
  • Is this what I love doing?
  • Why is achieving this task necessary?

Break down your daily, weekly, monthly goals into achievable tasks so that you can accomplish them one step at a time.

2. Create A Plan Of Action

Specificity and direction can help you realize your goals faster, even if there is a hurdle along the way.

James Clear emphasizes “Implementation Intention” in his book, Atomic Habits. He says that being specific about your tasks takes away foggy notions associated with them.

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This means making a specific plan for when, where, and how you will complete a particular task. Too many people try to achieve their goals without figuring out these essential details.

For example, you might think to yourself, “I want to start eating healthier” or “I am going to finish my book this month,” but hardly anyone ever talks about the exact steps they’ll take to achieve these goals.

For starters, specify what you are going to eat and at what time. Do you want to incorporate greens at lunch-time? Or do you want to cut carbs from your breakfast first?

Similarly, figure out how you’ll set apart time to complete that book, and know how many pages you’ll read in one go.

Once you have an implementation intention, you don’t have to wait for “the right time.” When the moment comes, you already have a pre-determined plan to follow.

3. Get An Accountability Partner

Productivity expert Laura Vanderkam recommends getting an accountability partner who can hold you responsible for the unaccomplished tasks.[1] Ensure your partner has a track record of accomplishing their goals and knows how to pull you out of the debilitating feelings left behind by demotivation and laziness.

When you have someone to answer to, you will work faster and more efficiently. You may also care about making a good impression on your accountability partner, thus also increasing the quality of your work.

Learn How to Find an Accountability Partner to Help You Reach Your Goal.

4. Avoid Clutter and Distractions

One of the biggest hurdles to motivation is the environment you are in. This means that your surroundings must be free of diversions, noise and clutter.

You can make your space work-friendly by doing the following:

Personalizing Your Workspace

Imagine sitting down at a desk with a monthly calendar, a task list, and colorful pens all nicely kept in decorative holders and your pile of files and paper properly stacked in a corner.

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Throw in additional photo frames, a motivational quote, or anything else that sparks your creativity for work.

Adopting a No-Storage Policy On Your Desk

Your desk shouldn’t be a dumping space for samples or litter. Make space for files and papers in your drawers or other storage boxes. With all the extra stuff on your desk all the time, you likely keep getting distracted.

Also check out these 15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done.

5. Incorporate High-Impact Movement In Your Routine

There is growing evidence that shows exercise as a promising intervention to overcome laziness and increase motivation.[2]

Particularly cardiovascular exercises get the blood pumping in your body, which leaves you energetic and motivated to take on the day.

However, going to the gym or picking up weights is not everybody’s cup of tea. But don’t worry because other high-impact to moderate movements like Yoga are sometimes all you need to feel like you can take on the day and power through your to-do list.

Other examples of high-impact fun activities can be:

  • Go for a hike with a friend
  • Dancing to your favorite tunes
  • Take part in a cycling marathon
  • Join a kickboxing club with your friend

At the end of the day, it is all about including some form of activity in your routine, so it is better to do something that you already love!

6. Recognize Your Efforts Along The Way

One of the main reasons people tend to get demotivated is because they’re too hard on themselves. Acknowledge that you are a human and that you cannot achieve everything at once.

Start with completing little tasks and praise yourself for every little effort that you make. Negative self-talk and underestimating your abilities can derail you from your path – you have to be in your corner even if no one else is there yet.

Instead of saying things like, “I know I won’t be able to do this,” tell yourself, “This will be an interesting challenge; I will give it my best.”

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7. Make Tedious Tasks Fun

Sometimes small, menial tasks seem so big and burdensome because they are tiresome and monotonous. It can be hard to muster the motivation to start something, but it is even harder to keep going at it if it bores you.

Here’s how to deal with tedious tasks:

Reward Yourself

When you have something to look forward to, it becomes easier to overcome laziness and accomplishing tasks on your to-do list. Motivate yourself with external rewards like a spa-day after completing a relatively challenging task or treating yourself to an expensive dinner.

Get a Partner

Get a friend, a colleague, or sibling to pump you up and give you company as you do that dull, boring thing that’s been on your list for ages.

Having a friend or a partner to assist you certainly makes it easier to get things done. Sometimes companionship is better than solitude, especially if you know that you’ll procrastinate if left alone.

For example, chores like cleaning your room or washing the dishes will never be fun, but if you have someone to accompany you, chances are you can get them done more efficiently and faster.

Divide It Up!

“In order to achieve your goal, divide it up into smaller tasks.” — James Clear, Atomic Habits

Breaking down your tasks into smaller ones can make you feel less overwhelmed. For example, if your goal is to read 50 pages every day, tell yourself you will read a few pages every time you have a cup of tea. This way, you get to read a few pages every-time and before you know it, you’ll have achieved your reading goal!

8. Use positive self-talk

Negative self-talk is one of the things that derail people from getting things done in different aspects of life. Telling other people that you are lazy is negative self-talk. Instead of talking to yourself negatively, why not practice positive self-talk? Always do your best.

9. Know your strengths

Do you know your strengths? If the answer is no, take a couple of minutes to think of your strengths when preparing to work on a task or goal. Apply them to your task to get things done quickly. Research studies have shown that focusing on your strengths boosts productivity, cultivates positive feelings, and increases engagement in the workplace.

10. Ask for help

Most people believe that asking for assistance is a sign of defeat and weakness. However, failing to ask for help does increase your chances of failure. A study conducted back in 2018 found that people who don’t ask for help in the workplace are more likely to be dissatisfied with their work and perform poorly. Their employers also perceive them less favorably. Asking for help not only increases your chances of success but also helps you connect with others who’ll motivate and encourage you.

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11. Take a nap

One of the most common lazing activities is sleeping. A study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that a ten to thirty-minute nap can boost your productivity and motivation. If you are struggling to sleep better at night, you should limit your nap time during the day and avoid screen time before bed. Always aim to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night to feel refreshed and ready to work on the tasks ahead.

12. Use the two-minute rule

If you can tackle anything under two minutes, form the habit of doing it immediately. This applies to making your bed, doing the dishes, replying to emails, or writing a to-do list.

13. Get a busy workspace

If you work remotely, you should consider swapping your workspace to a busy environment. You need to find people who are highly focused on their work in your neighborhood and work close to them. When you do this, your motivation and productivity will naturally increase. The same applies if you work in the office. All you have to do is work close to the people you look up to.

14. Take a cold shower

In most cases, tiredness and lethargy go together. In short, if you are feeling tired, the chances of getting up and working on your most important tasks are low. Luckily, you can banish any tiredness instantly by taking a cold shower. A cold shower offers instant benefits unlike coffee or other stimulants.

15. Dress-up

How you dress affects your mood. If you are walking around and working in your pajamas, you’re likely to go back to sleep or spend most of your time watching TV. On the other hand, if your shower when you wake up and dress up as if you are going to the office, you’ll stay focused on your work and boost your productivity.

16. Break down big projects

Working on a huge project alone can be overwhelming. And this will lead to laziness because you’ll shrug it off instead of tackling it. To solve this problem, all you need to do is take a huge project and break it down into smaller, easier-to-handle tasks. Remember, a huge project is a combination of many small tasks. When you start working on these small tasks, you’ll eventually complete the big project.

17. Start with the easiest task

After breaking down the huge project, start with the easiest item. Think of the effortless action such as naming your documents or creating a headline. When you start working on these simple tasks, it will be easier for you to accomplish more every day and stay motivated.

18. Tackle tasks immediately

This might seem simple and obvious. But it’s one of the most effective ways to overcome laziness. If there’s stuff that you need to do right now such as doing the dishes, taking out the trash, or visiting the grocery store, do it now. Tackling tasks immediately will help you manage your time effectively and stay on top of things.

19. Don’t focus on perfectionism

The fear of failure holds most people back. You should keep in mind that everyone who goes after what they want outside their comfort zone is bound to fail from time to time. This is part of life. You need to change your mindset and start seeing setbacks as learning experiences and as a way to be kinder and more constructive to yourself. When you stumble, ask yourself, “What can I learn from this situation?”

Bottom Line

Pressurizing yourself with negative thoughts and emotions is a sure-fire way to ensure that you’ll never stop procrastinating or overcome laziness.

Instead, be your own motivator. You don’t need a major life overhaul to wake up and fight the feelings of demotivation. Easy does it. All you need are small tweaks to your daily routine, a positive mindset and confidence to know that you have what it takes to achieve something!

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Just remember to set manageable goals and play to your strengths. Also, know that it’s okay to call out for help if need be. Your coworkers, classmates, family and friends will not mind encouraging and motivating you.

More Motivational Tips

Featured photo credit: Adrian Swancar via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Dr. Malachi Thompson III

High-Performance Consultant

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Published on November 3, 2021

Why You Should Stop Avoiding Difficult Tasks (And How to Do So)

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Why You Should Stop Avoiding Difficult Tasks (And How to Do So)

Buzzzzz! Buzzzzz! My alarm clock begins shaking on the nightstand. It’s beckoning to me as loud as it can, and I’m not ready to answer. Maybe it is because it is 5 am Monday, the time and day I dread the most. Perhaps it’s because I know I need to get up, so I’m not late to my 5:30 am CrossFit class, or I’ll hear it from my coach. Plus… I’ll have to do five burpees for each minute I’m late, and I hate burpees! Can you tell I’m only one week into my CrossFit membership, and I’m regretting my decision to sign up already?

Clearly, this is a difficult task I am trying to avoid, and rather unsuccessfully at that. I know, I know, we should challenge ourselves to do difficult things. “Doing difficult things is what will make you stronger!” I can hear my coach saying as I struggle to lift a weight over my head that a pregnant woman next to me is having no problem. I can say that the embarrassment motivates me to continue on, no matter how uncomfortable I am.

As I set my bar down to eat some humble pie and look around at all the bad-assesses in class, I pause to ask myself. “Why should I stop avoiding difficult tasks? And How can I do so?”

That’s the question we’ll examine deeper with answers that not only helped me with CrossFit but can help you in whatever you find difficult in your life.

Why Should You Stop Avoiding Difficult Tasks?

Let’s face it. We are all human beings and enjoy being comfortable, period. We love all of our daily creature comforts that have made life simple. Whether navigating to a new destination or cooking a meal, we are always looking for a shortcut. We want faster, easier, better, and definitely not difficult. These things are almost synonymous with the American dream by today’s standards. This often sought-after dream used to be about hard work and grit but is now about getting there before anyone else with the least amount of effort.

Despite all this, easier is not always better, and here’s why:

When we take the easy way, we program our brains to be lazy. It no longer has to use critical thinking or creativity to develop a solution but only needs to seek the shortcut. This training actually re-wires the neural pathways of our brains in less-than-optimal ways.

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According to Dr. Daniel Amen, M.D. author of Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, we need to work our brain if we want it to be healthy.

“Your brain is like a muscle. The more you use it, the more you can use it. Every time you learn something new, your brain makes a new connection. Learning enhances blood flow and activity in the brain. If you go for long periods without learning something new, you start to lose some of the connections in the brain, and you begin to struggle more with memory and learning.”

Furthermore, research from Anatomist Marian Diamond, Ph.D., from the University of California at Berkeley showed that rats who were allowed an easy life without any new challenges or learning had less brain weight than those who were challenged and forced to learn new information in order to be fed. New learning actually caused increased brain density and weight, meaning a healthier overall brain.[1]

Before you jump to conclusions about the differences between human and rat brains, you should understand the following research:[2]

“Even though the rat brain is smaller and less complex than the human brain, research has shown that the two are remarkably similar in structure and function. Both consist of a vast amount of highly connected neurons that are constantly talking to each other.”

The bottom line is that it’s simply healthier to exercise our brain, just like it is beneficial to exercise most other parts of our body. The more you take care of your brain, the more it will take care of you.

Here are 7 ways to take care of your brain, according to Dr. Amen.[3]

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  1. Protect Your Brain – protect your brain from injury, pollution, sleep deprivation, and stress.
  2. Feed Your Brain – go on a diet with brain boosting foods.
  3. Kill the ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts) That Invade Your Brain stay happy, hopeful and positive.
  4. Work Your Brain – keep learning, learning is a brain workout.
  5. Make Love for Your Brain – regular sexual activity enhances overall brain activity and improves memory as it boosts estrogen levels.
  6. Develop a “Concert State” For Your Brain – only when you feel relaxed will you be able to concentrate easily, listening to music is a nice way to relax yourself while improving your concentration.
  7. Treat Brain Problems Early – mental health problems such as anxiety and depression need to be dealt with as early as possible.

Any one of these recommendations alone can help you out when it comes to not avoiding difficult tasks. Remember, whether it’s accomplishing difficult things or a related area, your life can only improve with an optimized brain, so put these into action today. You can learn more about each one here.

Even if none of this so-called “brain talk” is convincing you, then let’s look at the situation from a different vantage point, growth and confidence.

If you’re reading this article, then you are interested in learning in some capacity. Whether it’s basic curiosity, strict personal development, or anywhere in between, you are seeking knowledge in some way. The search for knowledge is a search for growth as an individual. Growth, by definition, is the opposite of stagnation. So, by this rationale, anyone who is growing is undergoing change.

To indeed undergo change and growth, we need to step outside of our comfort zone into the area of uncomfortability. This is where all the magic happens. This is where we do the difficult tasks that we don’t always want to do. As we do difficult things more and more, they become easier and more manageable.

Anything most worthwhile learning in life takes some difficulty and time to become proficient.

Take a moment to think back to when you were a young child. When you first learned to ride a bike, did you just hop on and take off down the road? My guess is no. It probably took many tries before you could become proficient and start riding all over the neighborhood. Did you try a couple times and then give up because it was too difficult? No. You continued on again and again until you figured it out. You probably did the same thing for any sport or hobby you enjoyed. I’ll bet that many of them you kept practicing until you became pretty good. This is part of our drive as human beings and is embedded in our DNA.

We have always done difficult things as individuals and as the human race. World history is littered with examples of people doing difficult tasks and choosing the hard path. This mentality is embodied in JFK’s famous NASA speech from 1962:

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“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

Meaning, to accomplish greatness, you must do difficult tasks.To achieve the things you never have, you have to do the things you have never done.

How to Stop Avoiding Difficult Tasks

How great do you want to be?

If this question makes you uncomfortable, then your desire for growth may not be intrinsically motivating enough. You may need to build some confidence in your abilities to do the difficult tasks in the first place.

If you are going to build confidence, you first need to acknowledge the fear that is holding you back. Often, avoidance of a difficult task is related to fear. This could be related to the fear of getting started, fear of inability to complete the task, or simply a fear of a lack of knowledge around the task. In all cases, fear leads to inaction, which leads to a further lack of confidence.

According to Jen Gottlieb, Co-Founder and Chief Mindset Officer of Super Connector Media,

“Confidence comes from feeling the fear and doing it anyway consistently.…because every single time you do something difficult or scary, and still do it, you get to the other side. You then realize that you didn’t die, and nothing terrible happened, so you get a win and celebrate that win. With each win, you put another coin in the confidence bank and become a little bit more confident. If you do that consistently and trust yourself to be able to do those scary things, you’ll grow to where it will be less and less scary and become easy.”

Sounds like a recipe for success to me. The key is not to focus on the totality of the difficult task but only one small step at a time. This makes any task far more attainable. As the old saying goes, How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

With this theory in mind, here are 3 tips to help you stop avoiding difficult tasks

  1. Break it up – Dividing the task into smaller, feasible parts makes it seem easier while allowing you to celebrate the small wins.
  2. Manage limiting beliefs – Focus on what you can accomplish and avoid any negative self-talk. By staying positive, you will increase your likelihood of sticking with it.
  3. Seek Support – When others hold us accountable, we increase our chances of success by two-thirds.

Whether it’s brain health, growth, or confidence, the good news is that there is hope for you and me when it comes to completing difficult tasks.

I ended up sticking with the difficult CrossFit class I was enrolled in. That first week was over ten years ago, and even though it was challenging at the time, I’m glad I didn’t give up. I’ve been coaching others in CrossFit for six years now and have learned to do many, many difficult tasks along the way. Those successes rank near the top of my list when it comes to CrossFit. I’ll save the top spot for the fact that I’m now the one who gets to hand out the burpee penalties.

Featured photo credit: Daria Nepriakhina via unsplash.com

Reference

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