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.
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.
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.
3. Get An Accountability Partner
Productivity expert Laura Vanderkam recommends getting an accountability partner who can hold you responsible for the unaccomplished tasks. 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.
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.
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.”
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:
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.
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.
Learn more about this rule here: How to Stop Procrastinating and Stick to Good Habits by Using the “2-Minute Rule”
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.
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.
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?”
Learn how not to let perfectionism hold you back from moving forward.
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!
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.
Featured photo credit: Adrian Swancar via unsplash.com