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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

How To Overcome Laziness in 7 Steps

How To Overcome Laziness in 7 Steps

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 a few 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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.”

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.

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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!

Bottom Line

Pressurizing yourself with negative thoughts and emotions is a surefire 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!

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

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Malachi Thompson

Leadership & Performance Edge Strategist

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Last Updated on November 18, 2020

How to Be a Good Listener (And a Better Communicator)

How to Be a Good Listener (And a Better Communicator)

Listening skills aren’t easy for a lot of us, especially during a global pandemic when we’re especially stressed and easily distracted. The art of communication is more than just talking; it requires listening and paying attention. You have to learn how to be a good listener, as most of us aren’t born with it.

Every relationship you have needs communication to survive, and that takes work. The good news is that it’s not hard to learn how to be a good listener. In fact, if you’re someone who feels like you could use a brushing up on your communication skills, here are a few pointers that you can start using right away to help you have more meaningful connections in all of your relationships.

1. Validate Feelings

Have you ever had someone tell you that you’re overreacting or to stop crying during a conversation? I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard that at one point in our lives. The thing is, it doesn’t feel good to be dismissed by someone you care about, especially in times of heightened stress or intense discussion.

Feelings matter, regardless if you agree with them or not. One of the greatest things you can do for someone is to validate their feelings when you’re learning how to be a good listener. Tell them that you hear them and that you acknowledge how they feel[1]. When you do that, you’re creating a relatability element by showing you understand the other person’s feelings.

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When you can be more relatable to someone you care about, it raises the level of trust in your relationship. Back in March, when the pandemic started, my eight-year-old son was struggling with virtual learning away from his friends and school that he loved so much. There was no closure for him, and it was apparent in the way he approached is day as he refused to acknowledge school because it wasn’t physically in his classroom.

Most days included a breakdown of some kind, which was very stressful for all of us. One day he was laying on our living room couch, crying about how awful the situation was for him. “I want to go to school and see my friends. I miss my teacher. This is the worst thing ever,” he sobbed. As I watched him in that moment, I realized I had two choices: I could tell him to stop it, suck it up, and go to school, or I could get in it with him and help him understand that I, too, was experiencing the exact same feelings.

I decided to sit with him and take him in my arms, hug him, and tell him I felt the same way. That I wanted him to be in school with his friends, that I wanted him to be able to go to soccer practice and have fun, that I missed my friends, too, and that yes, you’re right, this is the worst.

Once I did that, something shifted. He looked at me with the realization that I did understand what he was going through because I had a similar experience. Demonstrating relatability, validating his feelings, and being a good listener to his needs helped us have a breakthrough in our communication.

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2. Be Present

Distraction is all around us. With lots of information being thrown at us at a million miles an hour, it’s no wonder communication in relationships can suffer. When you are in a discussion with someone you truly care about, whether it’s your life partner, a good friend, or you child, make sure you are free of distraction during your conversation.

Having little to no distraction allows you to be a better listener. It allows you to focus on the conversation and really digest the discussion. Furthermore, it helps in allowing you to be thoughtful and considerate in your interaction.

I find that my most successful conversations[2] happen on neutral ground. It helps to reduce stress and remove judgement from the interaction. Some of the best conversations I’ve had have been on walks, while driving in the car, or even laying in bed with the lights off. I can be fully present and engaged with the ability to absorb the conversation at hand, especially when the conversation is about a sensitive subject.

It’s hard to have an uncomfortable conversation sitting across a table or not in your own territory. It can make it feel more like an interrogation and can often start with apprehension or having your guard up. When you do your best to eliminate that from the situation, you’re offering a desire to find a solution by creating a safe space to listen and communicate more successfully.

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We tend to expose ourselves and our feelings easier when we feel like we’re not being judged. When my husband and I need to have a hard conversation, we often go for a walk or have a conversation in the middle of the night in the dark. The absence of distraction allows us to truly listen to each other’s needs and desires and creates a stronger bond of respect and intimacy.

3. Respond

As you’re trying to learn how to be a good listener, respond, don’t react. How many times have you regretted the way you reacted to a conversation with someone you care about? Whether it’s a personal or professional relationship, the way you reply is important.

Because we’re human and it’s only natural to get defensive, especially if the communication is not something we agree with, we typically react without giving consideration to the big picture. That isn’t helpful when you’re trying to make progress in a situation.

You may be thinking, how does listening come into play when you’re replying to someone else’s engagement with you? It doesn’t matter if you’re having that conversation via text, email, or in person; the way you absorb the information is going to directly affect the way you have your interactive dialogue.

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Think about a time when you’ve been at work and received an email from a co-worker that triggered you[3]. It’s happened to all of us. A lot of times, we hit the reply button and go to town unloading our feelings and thoughts without taking the time to fully digest and consider the content in front of us. We’re not “listening” to what our peer is requesting.

Handling delicate situations can be tricky. That’s why I like to advise my clients to respond rather than react, and start with the end in mind. When you’re faced with a challenging situation, think about how you want that particular experience to be resolved. Do you want to be able to walk away with a hug, an agreement, and a positive outcome? If so, the way you do that is by being a good listener and planning your response.

Final Thoughts

Communication in any relationship, personal or professional is hard. We have to be committed to showing up and doing the work to make sure they are successful and thriving. Learning how to be a good listener plays a huge part in the success of each and every one.

The next time you find yourself in a situation where you need to pay attention, remember to validate, be present, and respond with thoughtful consideration. You’ll be amazed at how much your interactions improve.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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